The chief of Red Earth Cree Nation says the community is now contending with breakdowns of all-terrain vehicles and boats aiding in the 64-day search for Frank Young.
The five-year-old boy was reported missing on April 19. He was playing in the front yard of his home wearing Paw Patrol boots, blue pyjamas with green dinosaurs and a navy blue windbreaker.
Young was last seen around noon that day, although he may have been spotted at a local playground around 2:30 p.m., according to police. Abduction is not suspected in his disappearance.
The intensive search that has seen more than 600 people take part followed has dwindled in size, with local firefighters and committed volunteers still hunting for the missing boy.
We are still searching, and as we stated before, we havent given up and we continue to be hopeful and continue to perceive this as the rescue mission, Chief Fabian Head said during a virtual news conference on Tuesday.
The most recent large-scale effort involving outside support came in late May, according to Head.
A crew of 16 searchers was dispatched by the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and stayed in the community for 10 days.
He said over the past two weeks, local search crews have focused on an area of the Carrot River known locally as the Y based on guidance from traditional knowledge keepers.
The knowledge keepers have always indicated, just by experience, that these areas tend to catch any types of debris or any other items that float along the river, said Shoal Lake Cree Nation Chief Marcel Head.
His nearby community is home to Youngs parents. The boy was living with his Aunt and Uncle on Red Earth Cree Nation.
We havent been able to locate the Frank as of today but the search is still going on, the Shoal Lake chief said.
You know, just the community of Shoal Lake, (is) holding up Franks family in prayer, as well, he thoughts and our support to the family.
Marcel Head also renewed a call from the two communities for more federal and provincial assistance in the search.
Because as everybody knows, you know, the price of fuel has gone up significantly and its pretty challenging having to work within your own resources and try and support our search team,
While Carrot River RCMP Sgt. Richard Tonge acknowledged that the police involvement in the search for the boy has scaled back, he said searches by air and boat will be conducted if new information comes to light.
Frank Young was reported missing to Carrot River RCMP on April 19. Since then, weve used all the resources and technology we have available to search for him, Tonge said.
Frank is a missing person and we remain committed to locating him and bringing him home.
Tonge said the Saskatchewan RCMP tactical support group will head to the community this weekend to conduct a thorough, targeted foot search along the river now that water levels are receding.
An awareness and support walk was held in the community on Tuesday morning — which was also National Indigenous Peoples Day.
To continue to let people know that we are searching, let the media know that we are searching and just to stand in solidarity today with national Indigenous day as well, Red Eaths chief Fabian Head said.
A flyer featuring characters from Paw Patrol invited participants to walk, ride, drive or bike their way to Franks house to show him all the ways to come home.