“On Christmas day, we sat around the kitchen table for one of the last meals as a whole family, and we spoke about La Loche. Adam shared the joys and struggles of being a teacher, his passion for his work, and the potential of his students. Needless to say, we are devastated. We find ourselves in moments of despair thinking, “Why did it have to be Adam?” But really, the question is, “Why did this have to happen?” It is in these moments, when tragedy strikes, that we are able to stop and consider life: it’s frailty, challenges, its laughter, and its tears. It is in these moments we are given the opportunity to examine ourselves and hopefully, come out better and stronger as a community and a nation. We feel sadness and remorse but rarely do we use that to fuel change.
As communities come together to support one another, we must ask how to prevent anyone from experiencing a loss of this kind. Rather than looking for someone to blame, or coming up with outsider opinions of reasons why this occurred, we must stop and listen to the voices of La Loche. The leaders and members of the community know what types of support and changes are needed. Our responsibility as a nation is to listen and respond to create lasting systemic change.
Today La Loche and surrounding Dene communities are coming together in candlelight vigils to mourn, to grieve, and to envision a different future. That is where the story is. With family and friends, we are sharing stories and memories about who Adam was and the life he lived. But the real news story is the loss, grief, and challenges faced by those in La Loche and surrounding Dene Nations.”