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Teen drowns in Mackenzie River

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 30, 2007

A teen who was due to start college in a few weeks drowned last weekend in the Mackenzie River.

Kendra Sittichinli, 18, was reportedly with friends on Saturday, Aug. 25 when she jumped off a barge on the east channel of the Mackenzie River.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Kendra Sittichinli during a fiddle contest last year. Her mother said she enjoyed playing the fiddle and won the competition with her skill. - photo courtesy of Greta Sittichinli

RCMP officers were called to the scene at 11:45 a.m. Saturday morning.

Her body was recovered around 12:30 a.m. Aug. 26 after a 12 hour search by RCMP, the Inuvik fire department and members of the community.

Kendra leaves behind two sisters, Kandace, 15, and Katherine, 13, as well as her 10-year-old brother, Edward-Sloan.

Her family is planning a funeral for Friday Aug. 31 at the Anglican church.

Kendra's mother Greta Sittichinli said she feels broken-hearted over the loss of her oldest daughter.

"You always hope it'll never be your family, but when it's your own child, your heart is broken," she said.

Greta said that Kendra had planned on attending Lethbridge College for geomatics engineering.

"She was going to continue to university and get her degree," said Greta.

"She wanted to be on the land."

Greta said that it was always a goal of Kendra's to help provide for the family of four.

"She said she wanted to make money to help me and her brother and sisters," said Greta.

Greta said that her daughter loved to travel and planned on doing some globe-trotting in her college years.

Kendra returned home this summer with the news that she got into Lethbridge College.

"We had a big dinner for her, with her friends and family," said Greta. "She had a good time."

Greta said Kendra was an unforgettable person.

"She was unique, she was wise beyond her years," said Greta.

"She was only 18 years old, she always had a good word to say."

She said that Kendra was always open with people and was ready to pick up spirits if people felt down.

"She would always be ready to entertain anyone," said Greta. "She had the biggest heart for everyone."

Kendra was always ready to help other youth with their problems as well. Greta said that one day Kendra told her mom she was upset that the youth were getting such a bad rap.

"She told me that all the youth needed was support," said Greta.

"She wondered why nobody would help them, because they're lost."

Greta said she gave her daughter the advice to start with one person at a time.

"I always had a house full of kids because she'd bring them in if they needed anything," said Greta.

"She had a big heart."