Why should Indigenous women cry out to the rest of Canada for dignity and justice? – Winnipeg Free Press


I opened Twitter the other day and saw a video clip of Cambria Harris speaking.

She is the daughter of Morgan Harris, who is believed to be one of the alleged victims of serial killer Jeremy Skibicki. Skibicki has been charged with first degree murder in her murder and those of three other Indigenous women – Rebecca Contois, Mercedes Myran and unidentified Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman).

Cambria Harris was speaking at a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, where she traveled with her sister Kera to demand that the federal government take action to deal with missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people . She was surrounded by several First Nations leaders and advocacy groups when she recounted how the night before she had been tipped off by Winnipeg police. It was through a PowerPoint presentation that they told him they believed the remains of his mother and Myran were in the Prairie Green landfill, but they would not search the site because that was not feasible.

Cambria Harris, daughter of Morgan Harris, speaks during a press conference in the foyer of the House of Commons on December 6. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press Files)

“Time and time again, our women and our Indigenous brothers and sisters need to come here, and we need to cry out, and we need to raise our voices crying out for change and crying out for justice for our people, and that is wrong,” said she declared. said.

“I shouldn’t have to stay here today, and I shouldn’t have to come here and be so angry and beg and beg for you to find our loved ones and bring them home.”

Harris spoke eloquently, with vulnerable ferocity, through her grief. She didn’t mince words as she asked for help with the ongoing human rights crisis in Winnipeg – a place that Carolyn Bennett, the former federal minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, called a ground zero in terms of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

I can’t stop thinking about this music video.

I can’t help but think of the young women who had to stand on the national stage in the darkest times of their lives to cry out for help from the systems that let them down. I can’t help but think of how many times I’ve seen other families make similar requests in the midst of unwavering grief.

Why do we have to beg for dignity? Why does the only currency for action seem to be the anguish and tears of Indigenous women and a collective public outcry before anything is done?

I am an Indigenous woman with a platform. It is my responsibility to use my voice and my words on behalf of my loved ones, especially when they are suffering. I am so angry and stand with the Harris sisters and all the families ahead of them in their calls for justice and action.

We cannot dress this problem up in a t-shirt or wrap it in territorial recognition and expect it to go away. We need to go far beyond the superficial things, into the difficult and uncomfortable task of changing systemic issues and dealing with this genocide.

The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls outlines 231 calls for justice that must be taken by governments, agencies and individual Canadians in order to end this genocide.

“Let’s be clear, these crimes are part of the genocide that was declared in 2019 by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” the Native Women’s Association of Canada said in a news release dated 2 December on the alleged serial murders. .

“The government proposed a national action plan in response to this report which lacked dedicated funding, timeframe or measurable targets. And a bulletin released last spring by the Native Women’s Association of Canada revealed, predictably, that little progress had been made.

Indigenous women deserve better.

[email protected]

Twitter: @ShelleyA Cook

Shelly Cook
Columnist, Reader Bridge Project Manager

Shelley is a born and raised Winnipegger. She is a proud Indigenous woman with family ties to the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.


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