Winnipeg Police must search for Indigenous women’s remains

Winnipeg Police must search for Indigenous women’s remains

The refusal by Winnipeg Police to search for the remains of missing women is a “breach of human dignity,” says Mohawk official.

Police must search for Indigenous women's remains, says Mohawk official

Winnipeg Police must search for Indigenous women’s remains,

Kimberly Murray commented at a gathering of Assembly of First Nations chiefs in Ottawa, where chiefs planned to respond to the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls.

Murray, a former executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, was appointed by the federal government to aid communities searching for the remains of children who were forced to attend residential schools.

She explained that one of her office’s principles is that communities have a right to know what happened to these children, how they died and where they are buried.

“And I think about our women, that the Winnipeg police aren’t going to search for those remains, like that is a breach of human dignity,” she said late Tuesday.

“Those families have a right to know,” she said. “International convention says they have a right to know.”

On Tuesday, Cambria and Kera Harris plead outside the House of Commons for police in Winnipeg to begin searching for their mother, Morgan Harris, who went missing in May and whose remains are believed to be in a city landfill.

Police have charged 35-year-old Jeremy Skibicki with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Harris, Marcedes Myran and Rebecca Contois, along with an unidentified woman who is known as Buffalo Woman.

Cambria Harris called it “disgusting” police won’t search for her 39-year-old mother, and said she shouldn’t have to beg for officials to act.

On Tuesday, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller told members of Parliament it is “very puzzling to hear the news that this landfill will not be searched,” saying he hoped to get clear answers from the city.

“Clearly the federal government needs to play a role in an area where jurisdiction is a poisonous word and continues to kill Indigenous women and children in this country.”

Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth also said he hadn’t spoken to anyone in the federal government about the matter.

The force’s head of forensics spoke to the media Tuesday to provide more details about the decision not to carry out a search.

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