Tragedy of Missing Indigenous Women and the Crucial Search for Justice

The tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Manitoba has been a heartbreaking and persistent crisis, particularly impacting the community in Winnipeg. Addressing this crisis is crucial for reconciliation and justice.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew made a promise to initiate the search for the remains of these women at the Prairie Green Landfill, a commitment he is now honoring despite significant backlash. This decision faced criticism, especially concerning costs and safety concerns, but the focus must remain on the humanity and dignity of the victims and their families. Financial considerations will always exist, but the lives and memories of these women must take precedence.

The city of Winnipeg has become a focal point in the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit, and gender-diverse people (MMIWG2S+). Gender-based violence has severely impacted the community, highlighted by the tragic deaths of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and an unidentified woman known as Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman). These women were victims of a serial killer in 2022.

The importance of this initiative extends beyond locating remains; it represents a commitment to addressing the systemic issues that have led to the disappearances and murders of Indigenous women. By honoring this commitment, we acknowledge the pain and suffering endured by their families and communities.

Acting Grand Chief Cornell McLean of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization emphasized, “A search of the landfill has been a long time in coming. I want to extend our thanks to our Treaty partners who have recognized the importance of finding our relatives. Our Premier held a ceremony with the families yesterday as he announced that a search would begin. I am glad to hear he took this time with them. This is not going to be an easy process for anyone. I encourage the provincial government to continue working closely with the families and putting them at the center throughout the process of this search.”

This effort is a critical step in the broader process of reconciliation. It acknowledges past injustices and aims to restore a sense of justice and closure for the affected families. Premier Kinew’s dedication to fulfilling this promise, even amidst controversy, underscores the importance of prioritizing humanity over politics and finances.

The Southern Chiefs’ Organization continues to advocate for justice and support for the victims’ families. This initiative is not just about finding remains; it is about recognizing and addressing the systemic violence faced by Indigenous women, and it is a necessary step towards ending this national emergency. By keeping the families at the center of this effort, we honor their loved ones and work towards a more just and humane society.