Indigenous rights defenders at landfills in Winnipeg as police refuse to search for the bodies of murdered Indigenous women

Published by Brent Patterson on

Video still: CityTV News

CBC reports: “People visiting the Brady Road landfill south of Winnipeg on Sunday [December 11] were turned away as protesters blocked access to the waste management facility to call on all levels of government to search for the remains of missing people.”

The article adds: “North of Winnipeg, a smaller demonstration took place at the Prairie Green landfill. Harrison Powder was part of a group who lit a sacred fire and laid tobacco down to honour the lives of Harris and Myran.”

The partial remains of Rebecca Contois, 24 years of age, were recovered from the Brady Road landfill in June. The remains of two women – Morgan Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26, – are believed to be in the Prairie Green landfill. It’s not known where the remains of a fourth unidentified woman, now known as Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, are.

Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, Rebecca Contois

It is believed that these women were killed by the same man. He has expressed anti-Indigenous views online, as well as white supremacist and misogynistic views.

The article highlights: “[Morgan’s daughter] Cambria Harris, 21, is calling on all levels of government to search both the Brady Road landfill and Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of any missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people.”

Journalist Brandi Morin has challenged Winnipeg police who say it is not feasible to search the landfills for the bodies. Morin says: “Don’t say it isn’t feasible. Don’t say the feds don’t have resources. Cause they sure come up w the resources in a hurry when they send their armies of police in 2 sovereign Indigenous lands like the Wet’suwet’en to restrain them from protecting their territories from a pipeline.”

Member of Parliament Leah Gazan adds: “The loss of our four precious sisters is part of what the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and the Prime Minister himself, have characterized as an ongoing genocide.”

The National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls determined that “state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies” are in part responsible for the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada that the report names as genocide.

Peace Brigades International-Canada supports the call for the resources to be provided for the remains of the women to be found.

PBI has accompanied the search for the remains of the murdered and missing. In Mexico, we accompany the Paso del Norte Human Rights Centre as they search to locate remains in Ciudad Juárez. In Colombia, we accompany the Movement of Victims of State Crime and the Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation who support a Comprehensive Bill on the Rights of Women Seekers of the Disappeared. And in Guatemala, we have accompanied the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala as they work to identify the remains of people who have been forcibly disappeared.

We recognize that these searches and recovery of remains of those disappeared and murdered are essential for truth, memory and non-repetition.

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