'Happy tears': Niece of missing Fort Chipewyan hunters responds to local artist's song dedicated to them

A niece of two Fort Chipewyan hunters who went missing more than a week ago says a song posted to Facebook — dedicated to the four men — brought "peace" and a "new hope" to her.

"I felt a lot of things," said Mariam Chadi, niece of the Ladouceur brothers, Andrew and Walter. "Almost gave me a sense of a relief and peace instead of just hurting like we all have been for the last nine days."

Chelsie Young, a local Indigenous musician in Alberta, posted a video of her cover of Vince Gill's 'Go Rest on High on that Mountain,' as her manager Darren Brule plays the guitar for her.

The video garnered tens of thousands of views and hundreds of shares on Facebook just overnight. By late afternoon Tuesday, there were 28 thousand views and close to a thousand shares, and it was increasing by the hour. 

Young says friends and community members of Fort Chipewyan, Alta. reached out to her to dedicate a song to the men and their families.

"I felt so honoured for them to ask me to do a video for them," said Young, who's a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation in Wabaska-Desmarais, Alta.

"It broke my heart."

'Happy tears'

"[The video] got me a little upset, but it was more happy tears than sad, because you know it's right. They are happy and safe now and they've gone home," said Chadi.

The hunters left Fort Chipewyan on April 23 on the Rocher River, heading to an area known as Devil's Gate. They didn't return. Over the past week, more than 100 searchers and 35 boats have scoured the area, looking for any sign of the men. On Friday, RCMP recovered a boot from one of the hunters.

The bodies of two of the missing hunters, Walter Ladouceur and Keanan Cardinal, have been recovered so far. Andrew Ladouceur and Keith Marten are still missing. 

After seeing the video, Chadi decided to message Young.

"We're just very thankful because she didn't have to dedicate a song, but she did and it just means so much," said Chadi. 

Young, who recently made a comeback to the music industry after having a child, says she gets "overwhelmed" by the daily requests from people to dedicate songs to a loved one who's passed.

When it came to the four Fort Chipewyan hunters, Young says she was compelled to do a video for them, especially after members of her own family requested it.

"I can't describe how it's affected me. To think that it could have been anybody, like my own family," said Young.

Young says she hopes that the video will bring comfort to the families.