Land Fill Search Feasibility Study Committee Update
January 17, 2023
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and Land Fill Search Feasibility Study Committee provides the following update:
On December 13, 2022, a joint letter of request was made from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), Southern Chiefs Organization, the MMIWG2S+ Implementation Committee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Region, and Long Plain First Nation for the federal government to provide resources to conduct a feasibility study to determine if it is possible to search the Prairie Green landfill to locate remains of missing Indigenous Women.
The Landfill Search Feasibility Study Committee (the Committee) was formed to study the feasibility of humanitarian recovery of the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran from the Prairie Green Landfill site. It is acknowledged that the Brady Landfill may require its own feasibility study, however, the Committee has agreed that its primary initial focus will be the Prairie Green Landfill site.
It is critical that this process is First Nations-led, trauma-informed and provides a culturally safe space for all members.
The Committee consists of an Oversight Committee that is responsible for providing oversight and direction of the overall work that will lead to the:
- approval of a proposal to seek federal funding to conduct the feasibility study,
- completion of the feasibility study,
- ensuring transparency and integrity of the process, and
- develop a communication plan to provide regular updates to the community and public.
The Oversight Committee consists of:
- Grand Chief Cathy Merrick (Chair), and Howard Burston, Executive Director, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
- Family member representatives (Co-Chairs) Kirstin Witwicki, representing the Harris family and Donna Bartlett, representing the Myran family, other family members (TBD)
- Chief Kyra Wilson, Long Plain First Nation
- Sandra DeLaronde, Director, MMIWG2S+ Implementation Committee
Elders/Knowledge Keepers/Grandmothers participate on the committee to provide spiritual guidance, wisdom, traditional knowledge and healing support to family member representatives and committee members.
The Committee receives specialized technical guidance and advice from experts that includes a forensic specialist (Rocky Mountain Forensic Consulting) and a forensic anthropologist (Dr. Emily Holland, Brandon University).
Ex-Officio members of the committee includes representation from various governments and entities that include: the Province of Manitoba, City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Police Service and the RCMP, to ensure there is a coordinated approach to conducting the feasibility study.
A Technical Sub-committee has been formed, and they will report directly to the Oversight Committee. The Sub-committee is co-chaired by Rocky Mountain Forensic Consulting and Dr. Emily Holland. Once federal funding is secured, the sub-committee can begin the critical work to complete the feasibility study report with recommendations and associated relevant budgets and timelines related to a search and recovery effort. The Technical Committee may be tasked with additional work that may be identified as the study is conducted and information is gathered.
Once federal funding has been secured by the AMC to pursue the feasibility study, the following steps will take place:
- The AMC, hosted by Grand Chief Merrick, will organize a traditional ceremony to begin this important work ahead of beginning the feasibility study in a spiritual and good way with families and committee members;
- Continue to regularly meet with the Land fill Search Feasibility Study Committee;
- Provide regular updates to the community and public on the status of the feasibility study;
- Begin work of the Technical Sub-committee to prepare and complete a final draft of the feasibility study for input and feedback by the larger Committee;
- Collaborate with relevant government partners and agencies, experts, and land fill operators, the Winnipeg Police Service and the RCMP; and
- Seek additional federal funding for a Brady Land fill Search Feasibility Study.
All efforts are being made to conduct the work in a timely and urgent manner. It is anticipated the feasibility study will be completed by March 31, 2023.
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.