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Press Release

NWAC demands immediate resumption of search for women’s remains

NWAC Provincial Co-Chair: “If they are not willing to commit returning our relatives home, we will.”

(July 14, 2023 - OTTAWA) The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) demands that the federal, provincial, and municipal governments take the steps required to begin an immediate search of landfills near Winnipeg for the remains of Indigenous women who are the victims of a serial killer.

“These are women who are cherished. They have families. Their lives mattered,” said Mel Critch, co-chair of Manitoba Moon Voices, NWAC’s member association in Manitoba. “We have been listening since December to their cries for the return of their loved ones. I urge every politician, every Canadian, to ask themselves how they would feel if it was their mother, daughter or relative lying in one of those garbage dumps.”

NWAC demands that searches commence immediately in both the Prairie Green and Brady Road landfills for the remains of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and an unidentified woman who has been named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman). It is calling upon governments to stop shirking responsibility and to get the job done.

“Since the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls in 2019, governments have talked much about the need to address the violence that the inquiry determined to be a genocide,” Mx. Critch said. “We are here to do the work. Our community is here to do the work and if the provincial government is not willing to stand with us, we will do it with our community and the federal government.”

Every Indigenous woman and gender-diverse person in Canada knows we deserve better, said Mx. Critch. “If these were the remains of anyone else, that search would have been commenced last year,” they said. “Had the city of Winnipeg engaged with the urban Indigenous community for the environmental impact study conducted when Tanya Nepinak’s family was searching the landfill for her remains, these women may not be in this landfill today.”

Mx. Critch said politicians may be hoping the issue will fade over time like it did when Tanya Nepinak’s family begged the police to continue their search for her remains. The lack of an intensive search likely contributed to the acquittal of the person who confessed to her murder. But the Indigenous people in Manitoba, and across the country, will not stand down in the defence of these three women, or any other woman, girl, Two-Spirit, transgender or gender-diverse person who is murdered or goes missing, they said.

“We could hear the anguished voices and the drums of the relatives of these women outside the room where we met with Premiers earlier this week,” said Mx. Critch. “It was heartbreaking. But those voices and those drums will not stop until our sisters and relatives have been returned to us.”


Media Contact:

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Laurel Sallie
+1 (905) 751-6370

About The Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls, transgender, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.

À propos de l'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada

L'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) est une organisation autochtone nationale qui représente la voix politique des femmes, des filles, des transgenres, des bispirituels et des personnes de sexe différent au Canada, y compris les membres des Premières nations vivant dans les réserves et hors réserve, les Indiens inscrits et non inscrits, les personnes privées de leurs droits, les Métis et les Inuits. Regroupant des organisations de femmes autochtones de tout le pays, l'AFAC a été fondée dans le but collectif d'améliorer, de promouvoir et de favoriser le bien-être social, économique, culturel et politique des femmes autochtones au sein de leurs communautés respectives et des sociétés canadiennes.