The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations is keeping hope alive that a key member of its staff and her son will be found safe.
The Saskatoon Police Service said 48-year-old Dawn Dumont Walker’s red Ford F-150 and personal belongings were found near Chief Whitecap Park, just south of the city around 9 a.m. on Monday.
Walker is the executive operating officer at the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and has been missing along with her 7-year-old son Vincent Jansen.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said Walker is diligent in her communication with them and her staff, so they knew something was wrong.
“With her communication skills, her personality, and her attitude, it was a daily thing to hear from her or to give her a call, so everyone knew something was wrong when we didn’t hear from her,” Cameron said. “When her dog was in her house barking, there was dog poop and urine in her house, something was wrong. Her son’s iPad was still in the room, her suitcase and everything is still in the room.
“She was to leave for the Pope’s visit yesterday (Sunday), so something was wrong.”
Walker was last seen at a business on Saskatoon’s east side.
Friends and coworkers at the FSIN spent Sunday trying to find the pair, and were visibly distraught at a Monday morning news conference.
They had just learned that police located Walker’s vehicle at the park. They also learned someone found Walker’s purse in that area on Saturday. It had been turned over to the RCMP.
Officials were setting up a command center Monday afternoon at the river, near where Walker’s personal belongings were found.
“We have a drone here that’s just arrived now,” said RCMP Staff-Sgt. Greg Abbott, “we have (a) police dog service coming, we have air resources that we’re mobilizing, as well as a water search, assisting resources; as well as our RCMP search and rescue team, are mobilizing as well.”
Police said Monday they were coordinating efforts to search the South Saskatchewan River.
Officials were asking the public to stay away from Chief Whitecap Park so the Saskatoon Police Service could conduct its investigation.
Walker is from Okanese Cree Nation in Treaty 4 territory. She has won awards for three of her books – Nobody Cries at Bingo, Rose’s Run and Glass Beads.
She released her fourth book last fall.
She’s also written columns for the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Eagle Feather News and ran for the federal Liberal party in Saskatoon last year.