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Unceded Anishinabe Algonquin Territory — The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), in partnership with the families of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris, Chief Kyra Wilson of Long Plain First Nation, and prominent leaders and advocates, came together today for a meeting with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Gary Anandasangaree. The focus of the discussion was the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and whether the federal government was ready to follow through on previous funding discussions to ‘do the right thing’.
Despite the gravity of this crisis, the federal government’s commitment to fully fund critical landfill searches at Prairie Green and Brady Landfills, believed to hold the remains of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, and Tanya Nepinak, remains non-existent.
“Through Treaty obligation, they are responsible for the health and wellness of First Nation People. Yet, for 150 years now our people have been set aside,” said AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “And we’re here today to speak on behalf of the women that are in landfills in the province of Manitoba. This call to action has been supported by so many – churches, unions, Amnesty International, the Canadian Human Rights Museum. So why doesn’t government want to support? Why are these families being told to wait while Canada determines what department has the authority to fund such a search?”
During the meeting, Minister Anandasangaree reaffirmed earlier commitments to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Minister Marc Miller. However, he did not confirm the financial support required for the planning to start for the humane search and recovery efforts, leaving a sense of urgency but no resolution.
“Don’t bring us into a meeting to tell us again that you have no commitment,” said Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson, “Last year, there was approximately $2.2-billion that was given back to the Treasury Board from CIRNAC that should have come back to First Nations. Where is that money now? You have a responsibility as the federal government to work with First Nations. If you’re not going to work with us, then we will take legal action and we will make sure that we hold you accountable.”
Following today’s meeting, the Myran and Harris families joined the AMC and the Families of Sisters in Spirit for the International Day of Action several National Days on Parliament Hill. This event brought together community leaders, family members, and advocates who rallied for justice, marking the beginning of a series of nationwide events in Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto.
A community feast is planned at the Bronson Centre tomorrow from 8 pm to 10 pm, featuring a special performance by Janelle Niles. Additional International Days of Action are scheduled in cities like Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Prince George, and North Battleford.
The AMC invites all Canadians to stand with them as they escalate their demands for federal action, advocate for justice, and continue their vital work in supporting the rights and dignity of First Nations in Manitoba and across Canada.