The AMC Calls on Winnipeg Police Service to Search Prairie Green Landfill for the Remains of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Beatrice Harris
December 7, 2022
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) stands with the Harris and Myran families to call on the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) to reconsider their decision not to search Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of Morgan Beatrice Harris and Marcedes Myran.
The WPS hosted a press conference on December 6, 2022, to explain why it would not be feasible to search Prairie Green Landfill in West St. Paul for the remains of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris, victims of an accused serial killer currently awaiting trial. The reasons given include the 34-day timeline between the deaths and police awareness, the compaction and amount of the mud and refuse, the amount of asbestos, and a high volume of animal remains, which would allegedly make the remains indiscernible from human remains.
“This is sending a dark message to First Nation women and girls,” Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said. “How do you look these young girls in the eyes and tell them you’re sorry, but you won’t even attempt to recover their mothers who fell victim to a serial killer? They are in mourning, yet they have to stand up here and beg you to try to find their mothers. Beg you to help them find justice, and you disregard the job as too difficult. We are talking about human beings. Human beings deserve the effort, no matter how dismal or difficult the task may seem. It is unnerving that the WPS is creating unmarked graves in these landfill sites.”
This search is feasible and similar efforts have succeeded in the past despite even more obstacles. There is a recent case in Ontario where the body of a Toronto man’s remains was uncovered at a landfill in January 2021. The investigators had been searching Green Lane Landfill since July 5, 2020, an 87-month timeline of extensive searching that required excavation, multiple police units and search dogs, emergency management, and ongoing coordination to bring justice for this missing individual and his family. This outcome is possible for Marcedes Myran and Morgan Beatrice Harris too. The WPS should follow the lead of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and conduct an extensive search of the Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran and continue searching for Buffalo Woman by any means necessary.
“The remains of three First Nations women are missing,” states First Nations Family Advocate Cora Morgan. “Three women are missing with no way to bring them home and conduct the ceremonies needed to provide a semblance of closure for the families – it is absolutely gutting.”
“Let’s respond to the real message that is being said through the refusal to search Prairie Green Landfill,” Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said. “The reputation WPS has of disregarding and putting minimal efforts into investigating MMIWG2S+ cases is one of the reasons why Indigenous women are continuously targeted. It has become clear that we won’t be deemed worthy of difficult or costly recovery efforts by police services. This is a disgusting pattern and a cycle of perpetual disregard for First Nation lives. This is not an isolated incident; the proof lies in the outcomes of the MMIWG2S+ crisis – a coast-to-coast-to-coast epidemic of violence normalized against First Nations women, girls, and 2-Spirit people. The government and WPS need to do everything within their means so we can lay these women to rest in a dignified and loving manner. This is not a time for WPS to be making these closing sentiments, it’s time to get to work.”
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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.