‘I love you Savanna, and I miss you’: Dozens gather to honour Nunavut homicide victim

Savanna Pikuyak, 22, had just moved to Ottawa to study nursing when she was killed

Dozens of family and friends gathered Thursday to pay tribute to Savanna Pikuyak at a candlelit vigil Thursday evening near Ottawa. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The neighbourhood around Woodvale Green in Ottawa’s Nepean area is quiet and welcoming.

Neighbours socialize on their small porches, kids ride their bikes on the streets. The air is filled with the sounds of crickets and the occasional barking dog.

“Nothing ever happens here,” one neighbour was overhead telling another Thursday.

But something tragic happened there Sunday, when at 34C Woodvale Green a young woman from Sanirajak was found dead, the victim of an alleged homicide.

Ottawa police identified the victim as Savanna Pikuyak. Just over a week before, the 22-year-old had left Nunavut and moved back to Ottawa to continue her post-secondary education at Algonquin College.

Nikolas Ibey, 33, is charged with second-degree murder in her death.

On Thursday evening, dozens of friends, family, neighbours and community members gathered at Woodvale Green for a candlelit vigil honouring Pikuyak’s life.

By then, all signs of an active crime scene were gone. The lawn previously taped off and guarded by police was now a place where two neighbourhood kids chased around their little dog, under the supervision of their families.

For attendees, the vigil was a time to grieve, to cry, to pray and show love for Pikuyak’s family and friends who are in pain from Sunday’s tragedy.

“I love you Savanna, and I miss you,” said Joan Deibs, a friend of Pikuyak who organized the gathering.

Many people left flowers, candles and “Justice for Savanna” notes at the steps of the house where Pikuyak was found.

Pikuyak’s mother, Sheba Pikuyak, shared on Facebook that Nunavut’s Department of Health is creating the Pikuyak Scholarship for pre-nursing students at Nunavut Arctic College.

Sheba, who is back home in Sanirajak, also shared her thanks for all those who attended the vigil, left tributes and shared their messages of condolence.

Louisa Yeates, who is originally from Kuujjuaq but lives in Ottawa and studies at Carleton University, came to the vigil to pay tribute and offer her condolences to friends and family.

“I’m really sorry that she had to go through what she went through, no one should have to worry about their safety when they’re trying to pursue an education,” she said.

“It’s not fair, our life is hard enough.”

Pikuyak is survived by her mother and father, David Angu Akearok, stepbrothers Darryl and Jonah, her youngest brother Dawson, and her sister Geneva, who Sheba Pikuyak said was Savanna’s best friend.


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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Colin on

    This is a desperately sad story and for my own small part I extend condolences to the family.

    All Inuit going south need counselling that no part of any southern city can be considered safe, and especially not for a young woman after dark. Keep right out of the market altogether late at night.

    Every woman of any age needs a pocket alarm. They’re not expensive, under $20. I’ve given some to Indigenous women living in areas where or near where there’s public housing, which is all over. I don’t agree that this part of Ottawa can be considered safe. Teenagers who live in the area where it happened have been going to school by bus because they’re afraid to walk. Even in upper scale areas where I have the good fortune to live there’s scourge of bad-nicks coming in to steal whatever they can sell for drugs. Some years ago a man running a convenience store near my place got shot and killed for the money in the till.

    With great sadness and sympathy to the family.

  2. Posted by James on

    My condolences to the family.

    This news is very upsetting.

    Savanna was in my class when she was in grade six. She was kind, polite and hardworking. Her adult life and seemingly bright future was stolen away stolen away from her by a horrific act of violence.

    Inuit and Indigenous women deserve to be safe, respected and valued in Canadian society.


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