Hundreds come out for smudge ceremony in honour of Cooper Nemeth
Meghan Roberts, CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, February 22, 2016 6:30PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 23, 2016 10:52AM CST
Almost 1,000 people gathered to say good-bye to Cooper Nemeth on Monday night.
The 17-year-old’s body was found in North Kildonan almost a week after he disappeared from a party in the same area.
The Winnipeg Police Service said he was murdered.
The Bear Clan patrol organized a smudge ceremony Monday night to send Nemeth into the spirit world.
The volunteer group walks Winnipeg's streets at night to promote safety and provide support to the inner city.
Friends, teammates and strangers met at Gateway Community Centre, once the hub of search efforts for the teen.
Nemeth’s mother, father and young sister attended. His father, Brent Nemeth, read a statement thanking the community for their support.
“In Cooper’s last days, he united the city, province, and humanity in all of us,” said Brent Nemeth.
James Favel with the Bear Clan helped search for Nemeth and organize the ceremony.
“The feeling of community, it’s growing amongst our community and clearly with the rest of the city,” said Favel.
Nemeth’s aunt Laresa Sayles said the community support her family has received restored her faith in Winnipeg.
“I’m hoping that people remember why we live here, and that we are probably the strongest community in the world,” said Sayles.
Both Sayles and Brent Nemeth said Cooper would have liked the ceremony.
Support for the family also poured in online from across Canada and the world.
So touched by the Cooper Nemeth story, he was my little brothers instructor at Edge too. prayers all the way from Nunavut. #ripcip— Destiny St.John (@14_des) February 22, 2016