AMC Responds to Provincial Announcement to Begin Searching Prairie Green Landfill

June 12, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba — The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) commends the recent announcement by the Province of Manitoba to initiate preliminary steps to begin the search of the Prairie Green Landfill to recover the remains of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris.

Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said, “Firstly, I recognized the resilience of the Harris and Myran families for their unwavering strength throughout the recent trial and their ongoing advocacy for their loved ones. Our prayers continue for answers regarding the identity of Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman). Secondly, I acknowledge the steadfast support, dedication, and commitment of all involved in calling for a search, including First Nation Leadership from Long Plain First Nation to the AMC Women’s Council, to the AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly and the Assembly of First Nations, to First Nation citizens and allies. Lastly, I am pleased to see that the government of Manitoba is initiating the search and has already begun taking the necessary steps. The approach to seeking a search has been family-first and trauma-informed. We must remember to keep this approach, which is consistent with the MMIWG National Inquiry Final Report and its Calls for Justice.”

The MMIWG National Inquiry Final Report identified a number of principles, including the inclusion of families and self-determined, Indigenous-led solutions and services. It also noted that a decolonizing approach must take place for the implementation of the Calls for Justice, rooted in Indigenous values, philosophies, and knowledge systems. It is a way of doing things differently that challenges the colonial influence we live under by making space for marginalized Indigenous perspectives and acknowledging the rightful power and place of Indigenous women and girls.

“While we appreciate the efforts initiated by the Provincial government, it is critical to recognize that two families are at different stages of grieving and should have been included from the outset,” said Melissa Robinson, cousin to Morgan Harris. “Moving forward, we insist that both the Myran and Harris families, as well as the AMC, are involved in this process. The AMC has supported and advocated for us from the very beginning when governments and police were turning us away. They provided a dedicated team to organize, supported our rallies, and implemented the work for the feasibility study that laid the foundation we stand on today at Prairie Green Landfill. This action has been needed since day one, and AMC has been there since day one. Their inclusion is essential to ensuring that the search is done respectfully and effectively. We are finally seeing progress, and with AMC’s continued involvement, we are confident that we will achieve justice and bring our loved ones home.”

Grand Chief Merrick continued, “We have reached this point with the families where a search is finally on the horizon. The Province has only one chance to do this right, and must ensure that the recommendations of the MMIWG National Inquiry Final Report and our two reports are followed. This process must be approached with the utmost seriousness and respect.”

The AMC and ISN Maskwa outlined in detailed reports compiled by the teams that there needs to be a commitment to ensure that resources are allocated effectively, protocols are meticulously followed, and all involved parties are fully informed and competent in their roles and responsibilities. The involvement of these organizations is crucial to safeguarding the integrity of the search and honouring the families’ need for answers.

Grand Chief Merrick concluded, “The AMC has always stood with the families, providing unwavering support and leadership, seeking justice, dignity, and healing. This was from the initial calls for a search, to calling on federal and provincial funding for the search, and maintaining a families-first, trauma-informed, and First Nations-led approach, in the spirit of the original feasibility study. I look forward to working with the Provincial Government to ensure a thorough, respectful, and successful search that provides the answers these families seek.”

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.