August 19, 2014 9:02 am
Updated: August 19, 2014 9:07 am

Vigil, walk to honour slain girl and ‘homeless hero’ in Winnipeg

Tina Fontaine's body was found in a bag in the Red River on Sunday.

Winnipeg Police Service handout / Global News

WINNIPEG – First Nations organizers have planned a walk Tuesday from the Alexander Docks to a monument for murdered and missing aboriginal women at The Forks to honour Tina Fontaine.

Fontaine, 15, was found in the Red River near the Alexander Docks on Sunday. Winnipeg police say the girl, who was in the care of Child and Family Services and had gone missing on Aug. 9, was slain before her body was put in a bag and dumped in the river.

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READ MORE: Missing teen murdered, dumped in river: police

The walk will also honour the memory of Faron Hall, a Dakota Tipi man whose body was also found in the Red River on Sunday. Hall became known as Winnipeg’s “homeless hero” after he rescued two people from the Red River in 2009.

READ MORE: Winnipeg’s ‘homeless hero’ Faron Hall found dead in Red River

“We are all less now for having lost them,” organizer Niigaan Sinclair said.

“I was at several events where Faron was and he really was a remarkable human being,” he said.

Sinclair didn’t know Fontaine — the Sagkeeng First Nation girl hadn’t been in Winnipeg long — but she was a “typical kid hanging out at Portage Place,” he said.

“This is how the country treats aboriginal women.”

The public is invited to assemble at the Alexander Docks at 7 p.m. for a moment of silence and reflection, and then to walk to the monument at The Forks, “where offerings of gifts and medicines will be made in a spirit of unity and change,” a news release says. A vigil at the Oodena Circle at The Forks will follow.

READ MORE: 2 bodies pulled from Red River in Winnipeg

The event will first and foremost honour “two really important and incredible human beings,” Sinclair said, while educating the public and offering the community an opportunity to grieve.

Thelma Favel, who cared for Tina with her husband for about 10 years, last saw Tina on July 1, she told The Canadian Press. Favel is Tina’s great aunt, but added Tina called her mama.

Tina had run away a few times starting last summer, Favel said.

“She ran away twice and then she sort of settled down and she went back to school and she was doing so good,” Favel said, sobbing.

Favel said Tina called her sister Sarah about a week and a half ago.

“The last time her sister heard from her, she told her, ‘Tell Mama and Papa I love them, I miss them, but I’m not ready to go home yet.’ “

– With files from The Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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