For the first time, the family of Frank Young is speaking out about the five-year-old’s disappearance.
Going on day 28 of the search, Frank is still not found. He was last seen in his home community of Red Earth Cree Nation on April 19.
“Frank used to love playing outside with neighbourhood children,” said Frank’s grandmother Teresa Whitecap. “He was creative. He was fun-loving.… Frank took pride in making things for his caregiver, Barb. He was so proud of the things he made for her.”
She says the family is overwhelmed with worry and grief but is grateful for the support they have received and continue to receive to help bring home little Frank.
“The day that Frank went missing, everybody acted right away,” said Whitecap. “Ever since day one when Frank went missing, we (became) a family. My family are very strong … we come together as one.”
A candlelight vigil occurred on the evening of May 15 in Prince Albert where many have shown support for the family and community.
The Red Earth Cree Nation and its neighbouring community Shoal Lake Cree Nation are banding together to support the family in finding Frank.
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“At the moment, we are currently waiting for a response from the rangers for additional support for search and rescue,” said Red Earth Cree Nation Chief Fabian Head. “Despite this being day 28, we still view this as a rescue mission.… We will not stop until we find Frank.”
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron is calling for the Saskatchewan premier and the prime minister to assist with resources in this ongoing search.
“We want to do a call-out, request and expectation to Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau and Premier Scott Moe to support us and send your resources, to send the army (and) the rangers,” said Cameron. “There’s a lot of fatigue that has transpired the last month from the searchers.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe addressed reporters following Monday’s Question Period and said the province will do what they can to help with resources to assist in the ongoing search.
“There has been additional resources provided thus requested by the RCMP as well as the involvement of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency,” said Premier Moe. “If these additional requests are required, ultimately, we will endeavor to do what we can do to provide those.”
A spokesperson for the Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provided an email response stating that Red Earth Cree Nation has requested mental health supports from Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) and additional therapists are providing support to the community. ISC stated they will remain committed to assisting Red Earth Cree Nation during this trying time.
“Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) continues to work alongside the community to ensure that appropriate levels of mental wellness supports are readily available as the residents of Red Earth and surrounding communities require,” stated Nicolas Moquin. “Resources are available through the Emergency Management Assistance Program and relevant information on how to access interim community supports has been shared with the First Nation and Prince Albert Grand Council. This will help to ensure the community receives the supports and assistance they need during this very trying time.”
Red Earth Cree Nation is located more than 200 kilometres east of Prince Albert, Sask.