Families gather outside Manitoba legislature, pushing for government to search landfill

Family and friends of three murdered women gather at a vigil in Winnipeg, Thursday, December 1, 2022. It was announced that Jeremy Skibicki faces three more charges of first-degree murder. In addition to Rebecca Contois, who was identified earlier, Skibicki has been charged in the deaths of Morgan Beatrice Harris, Marcedes Myran, and an unidentified woman whom Indigenous leaders have dubbed Buffalo Woman. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods. JGW

Two Manitoban families are urging the province and the federal government to continue searching for the remains of their loved ones.

The bodies of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, two First Nations women, are believed to be in the Prairie Green Landfill. Their families took to the steps of the provincial legislature on Wednesday, demanding that both levels of government work together to search the area. The rally was attended by dozens of supporters.

“We’re (going to) keep coming back until our women are brought home,” said Melissa Normand, Harris’s cousin.

Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson said families are tired of chasing after governments for support.

“This is the first of the many reminders,” said Wilson. “Until this work gets done, we’re going to get louder and louder.”

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A recent feasibility study, completed by an Indigenous-led committee and funded by the federal government, estimated it could take up to three years and cost $184 million to search the landfill for the remains of Harris and Myran. Family members are pushing for the search to go ahead to bring peace and closure.

The office of Marc Miller, minister of Crown-Indigenous processes, said it was “diligently” reviewing the study. It also noted that it was working with Indigenous leaders and organizations, as well as provincial governments, to offer “support and healing services to families and communities during this difficult time.”

Wilson said that while the federal government sat down with the families to express their support, they’ve put the onus of searching the landfill on the province.

“We shouldn’t be jumping through all of these hoops to get that support,” said Wilson.

A spokesperson with the department of Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations has scheduled a meeting next month between Manitoba premier Heather Stefanson, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and Wilson.

Jeremy Skibicki has been charged with first degree murder in the deaths of Harris and Myran, as well as Rebecca Contois and an unidentified woman who Indigenous leaders have named the Buffalo Woman.

Click to play video: 'Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs responds to $500,000 in federal support for landfill search feasibility study'
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs responds to $500,000 in federal support for landfill search feasibility study

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