AFN Supports Call for Independent Inquiry into Deaths of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe

July 10, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Unceded Algonquin Territory – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the families of three First Nations women killed by an alleged serial killer are pleased with the overwhelming national support from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to call for an independent investigation into the deaths of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, and Marcedes Myran and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe.

The resolution underscores the need for an independent inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, and Marcedes Myran. This call to action is deeply rooted in the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which advocates for the protection and security of Indigenous peoples, particularly women and children, from all forms of violence and discrimination.

The Resolutions mover, AMC Grand Chief Merrick, proxy for AMC Women’s Council Chairperson War Lake First Nation Chief Betsy Kennedy, stated: “The unanimous support from the AFN Chiefs Assembly reflected in the resolution represents a national demand for accountability regarding system and institutional failures that led to these tragic losses. It is a crucial step toward justice for Rebecca, Morgan, Marcedes, and their families, and an ongoing commitment by First Nations Leadership across the country to address the ongoing violence perpetrated against First Nations women and girls.”

Key Points from the AFN Resolution:

  1. Independent Inquiry: The AFN calls on the Honourable Anita Neville, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, to establish a commission to undertake an inquiry into the deaths of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe. The inquiry will specifically focus on the actions and procedures of the Winnipeg Police Service and the Province of Manitoba in their initial and ongoing investigations.
  2. Appointment of Commissioners: The resolution emphasizes the importance of appointing First Nations commissioners to lead the independent inquiry. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) will be consulted to recommend qualified commissioners.
  3. Investigation Scope: The AFN, in collaboration with the AMC, will define the scope of the inquiry to ensure a comprehensive investigation into:
    • The methodology and thoroughness of the search efforts.
    • Protocols for evidence management and preservation.
    • Responsiveness and accountability of official parties involved in the investigation.
    • Systemic biases affecting the outcomes of the cases, particularly in relation to the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit (MMIWG2S+) individuals.
  4. National Chief’s Commitment: AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse is directed to formally request the immediate establishment of this public and independent inquiry through a letter to the Honourable Anita Neville.

The resolutions seconder, Councillor Annie Ballantyne proxy for Chief Heidi Cook of Misipawistik Cree Nation, “We owe it to their memories and to their families to relentlessly pursue justice. We will never stop demanding accountability and truth. The solidarity and support of the Assembly of First Nations demonstrates First Nation leadership’s commitment to justice for First Nations women and girls. Moving forward with the families of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, and Marcedes Myran, it is hoped that the federal and provincial governments work swiftly with First Nations Leadership to establish the inquiry and to commit to implementing its recommendations.”

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.