Halifax, Nova Scotia – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) strongly denounces all levels of government for refusing to search for the remains of murdered First Nations women in the Prairie Green landfill in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The AFN calls on the federal and provincial governments to take immediate and concrete action to locate the remains of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman).
First Nations-In-Assembly passed an Emergency Resolution at the AFN Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The resolution denounces the decisions of all levels of government, police, and law enforcement services across Canada that result in failures to adequately search for and/or recover the remains of missing and murdered First Nations women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, including the decision of the Manitoba Provincial Government to not search the Prairie Green Landfill.
The resolution also calls on the Manitoba Premier Heather Stephanson to reconsider the decision not to search the Prairie Green Landfill and work together with the Federal Government to conduct searches of both the Prairie Green Landfill and Brady Landfill.
During the recent Premiers’ meeting in Winnipeg on Monday, July 10, 2023, AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse emphasized the need for intergovernmental support and collaboration to address gender-based violence and related issues.
Regional Chief Woodhouse stated, “During this week’s meeting, we expressed a deep sense of hurt and disappointment in the Manitoba government’s refusal to work with First Nations to recover the remains of our people at the Prairie Green Landfill,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse. “The province must demonstrate support for an exhaustive search of the site to find these women and bring them home.”
Chief Connie Big Eagle, Chair of AFN Women’s Council, urges all levels of government to honour the requests of affected families and communities impacted by these horrendous acts of violence. The federal government conducted a study this year that determined that a search of the site is possible. The government has not followed up with the necessary funding and resources required to complete a search. Chief Big Eagle stated, “Our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and aunties are not disposable. They deserve the same dignity as others. This can only be achieved through a comprehensive search of the site, carried out in collaboration with all levels of government. There must be an effective way to bring justice and closure to the families.”
Premier Stefanson’s refusal to support a provincially funded search of the Prairie Green site has deepened the pain and frustration experienced by the affected families.
The AFN remains resolute in its commitment to advocating for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals. The recently released report, “Connecting Hearts and Making Change: Building on Breathing Life into the Calls for Justice: An Action Plan to End Violence Against First Nations Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People,” calls explicitly for searches of landfills and other potential burial sites.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
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Assembly of First Nations