Dozens march in Yellowknife in support of Indigenous youth

The march was one of many that took place across Canada and the United States on Thursday.

Gathering comes a week after Tina Fontaine's accused killer acquitted in Winnipeg

Jaylene Delorme-Buggins leads a march down Franklin Avenue in Yellowknife. (Jimmy Thomson/CBC)

A crowd of about 25 people hit the streets in Yellowknife Thursday at noon to show support and solidarity with Indigenous youth.

Signs such as "We Are Not Disposable" and "No Justice on Stolen Native Land" passed through downtown on their way to city hall and eventually the legislature, accompanied by Dene drumming. 

"One of the biggest things is marching to bring awareness that we need justice, but also marching to bring awareness that we are not disposable, that our lives are valued," said Jaylene Delorme-Buggins, who led the march down Franklin Avenue.

"And to make sure that everyone, especially the Indigenous youth across Canada, that they know that our lives are not disposable."

The march, supported by the NWT Rainbow Coalition, was prompted by not-guilty verdicts in two major trials that involved the deaths of young Indigenous people: Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine. 

"She was a baby; she was like 77 pounds," said Gail Cyr, an advocate based in Yellowknife.

"Some man just destroyed her, just tore her life apart."

Cyr and others also spoke at a recent rally in protest of the Colten Boushie jury decision.

"I was extremely surprised by both [verdicts]," Delorme-Buggins told reporters prior to the march.

"When the verdicts came out, especially Tina Fontaine's, it really hit me pretty hard." 

Marches across Canada, U.S.

Delorme-Buggins lost her own sister two years ago this month to a drug overdose — another death of a young Indigenous person for which no one was punished, she said, adding she believes the dealer who supplied the drugs should be held accountable for the death. 

Following the march, a smudging ceremony was held at the legislature, where elder Donald Prince spoke.

"I believe fully that by educating ourselves, by reaching out to other people, and trying to help other people, that we're going to get stronger," he told the group.

"All this other stuff is going to go away at some point. But it only goes away if we're helping take care of ourselves." 

Marches also took place in other cities across Canada and the United States on Thursday.