Kwanlin Dün First Nation deals with shock and grief after two women found dead

Kwanlin Dün First Nation deals with shock and grief after two women found dead

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation has lit a sacred fire in the McIntyre subdivision to give people a place to grieve following two deaths in the community, that police are now investigating.

RCMP confirmed Thursday that two women were found dead on Wednesday inside a house. Earlier, police had only said they were investigating a "sudden death". 

So far, police have not released the names of the women found dead, nor said if the deaths are considered suspicious.

"The sacred fire is a place for the citizens and community people to gather," said the First Nation's justice coordinator, Gina Nagano.

The fire is being kept stoked near the community's baseball diamond. There is also a wall tent, lawn chairs and hot tea.

It's not the first time the First Nation has helped people deal with shock, said Nagano.   

"We've had it in the past. People know it's a place for them to be welcome, to have a place of quietness. A place to talk to one another and provide the support."

The First Nation is also offering both group and individual counselling sessions. 

Few details yet from police

Nagano said there's been more police than usual patrolling the neighbourhood, calling it a welcome presence. 

"What I am seeing in the community is an increase in patrols," she said. "This is done when the community is in a vulnerable state such as the current situation. And this is to ensure the safety and security of our citizens." 

The First Nation is also providing a community safety and development officer to patrol and talk to people.

"They're in a vehicle and do a patrol in the community. They also do walkabouts," Nagano said. "They're basically the liaison to connect them to counsellors, outreach workers, other supports that are provided within the community."

CBC is seeking more information from Whitehorse RCMP. 

"The plan for the next few days is just to ensure we have the sacred fire continuing," said Nagano, "to allow a place for the citizens to gather. And allowing the RCMP to continue their lead on the investigation."