First Nations Chiefs Demand Accountability and Support in Search for MMIWG2S Victims at Meeting with Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller
July 12, 2023
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – Today, Grand Chief Cathy Merrick and members of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) met with Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations Marc Miller to discuss crucial matters affecting First Nations in Manitoba. During the meeting, Chief Kyra Wilson, Long Plain First Nation, sought clarification from Minister Miller regarding the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting the search for the missing and murdered First Nations women whose remains are currently in the Prairie Green Landfill.
Minister Miller’s response highlighted the Province of Manitoba’s heartless approach to the issue, expressing his disappointment that the Province of Manitoba is unwilling to support a search. Minister Miller confirmed that the Federal Government is ready to take an important role in this search. Still, the province’s stance only makes the process of initiating a search more complicated. Minister Miller acknowledged the feasibility of the search and reaffirmed that the Feasibility Study Report addressed the associated health concerns in searching the landfill. Minister Miller further emphasized that the Government of Canada stands ready to work with their provincial partners and support the search efforts even though the province doesn’t need their support to make this decision or commitment. He noted there have been other occasions of successful landfill searches in Canada and expressed disappointment that the province has not shown the same level of dedication and support.
While the Government of Canada is willing to assist and play a role in this endeavour, he stated they could not dictate the province’s actions regarding the landfill. Still, he noted that the province must show leadership and take appropriate measures.
“We need some accountability from the provincial government on this and urge them to support the search for the missing MMIWG2S+ victims,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “The lack of action and indifference displayed by the province is unacceptable and deserves condemnation. It is a deeply disheartening reflection of the disregard for First Nations lives.”
“We, as First Nations Chiefs, stand united in demanding that the provincial and federal governments need to demonstrate compassion, respect, and accountability towards the MMIW victims and their families,” Chief Kyra Wilson said. “The City of Winnipeg, Provincial government, and Federal governments must step up and support the search efforts to bring closure and justice to these women and their communities. This decision was wreckless, heartless, and has invited racist attacks against MMIWG2S+ family members by ignorant citizens emboldened by Premier Stefanson’s stance.”
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs continue to advocate for the rights and safety of their nations and citizens. The province of Manitoba’s refusal to support the search for the MMIWG2S victims is a stark reminder of the systemic issues that First Nations face and highlights the urgent need for true reconciliation and justice.
On Monday, July 17, 2023, Grand Chief Cathy Merrick invites the media to attend a Press Conference on this topic. Time and location will be sent out by the end of the week with a Media Advisory.
For more information, please contact:
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 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people.