May 10, 2018 9:26 pm

‘We brought love’: Family of murdered Mi’kmaq woman honours her life

The family of murdered Mi'kmaq woman, Tanya Brooks, refuse to give up hope in their fight for justice.


The steady stream of warm spring rain, illuminated the pathway to a destination Vanessa Brooks finds the courage to visit every year on the anniversary of her sister’s death.

“It was hard to go back to the place that is so, I hate to say the word “dirty,” but that’s how it feels, but today, it changed. We took something that was really horrific and horrible and we brought light to it, we brought love,” Brooks said.

READ MORE: Final remains of murdered Nova Scotia Aboriginal woman returned to family after eight years

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Tanya Brooks was a Mi’kmaq woman and mother of five children when her body was discovered in the basement window well of St. Patrick’s Alexandra school on May 11, 2009.

Shortly after, police deemed her death a homicide.

Nine years later, her case remains unsolved, no charges have been laid, no justice has been served.

But her family never gives up hope that someday, those responsible for Brook’s homicide will be charged.

“I know somebody out there knows something and I plea as much as I can, plea for anything in this world, you have a conscience, if it’s eating at you, if it’s bothering you, just come forward,” Brooks said.

Tanya Brooks’ story is one of the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country.

READ MORE: Family testifies about pain of searching 24 years for missing Aboriginal woman

Last fall, the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held hearings across Canada.

When the hearings came to Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton, Brooks found the strength to testify.

“Testifying meant that I maybe gave hope to all the other families that didn’t have the strength to do it,” she said.

The Mi’kmaq community has formed a wall of support and love around the family as they travel through the journey of healing.

“It’s the family left behind, of course, that are the ones who carry the burden of the healing that needs to take place and of course closure,” Dorene Bernard said, a Grassroots Grandmother.

Global News reached out to Halifax Regional Police for an interview but the request was declined until the official anniversary of the discovery of Brook’s remains on May 11.

“All that I know is that there’s been activity and that’s where we stand. It’s not cold, it’s not a cold case, so I’m not sure if they have any new developments or just that they’re still working on it — it’s not considered a cold case,” Brooks said.

It’s a sign of ongoing hope that Tanya Brook’s family will never let go of.

“You don’t get to take a life and think that it’s nothing — her life mattered. She was a human, she was a mother, she’s a grandmother and she’s never met her grandchild.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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