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Ottawa, Ontario – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) condemns the continued refusal to search the Prairie Green Landfill, as it disregards the value of First Nations women’s lives. Furthermore, the AFN denounces the removal of the blockade set up by demonstrators at the Brady Road landfill, as it obstructs the path to justice.
“On behalf of the AFN, I strongly condemn the removal of the blockade and dispersal of peaceful demonstrators demanding justice for Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman),” said AFN Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard. “Once again, we call on the federal and provincial governments to take immediate and decisive action to locate their remains and deliver justice to the grieving families.”
“The refusal to search the Prairie Green Landfill sends a clear message that the lives of First Nations women are not given the same priority as others—an unacceptable and deeply concerning reality. Families continue to bear the heartbreak of their missing loved ones, and their refusal to search the landfill only adds to their grief,” added Interim Chief Bernard.
The AFN firmly believes that every effort must be made to locate and repatriate the remains of these women believed to be in the landfill. The decision to overlook this critical search undermines the trust and confidence First Nations have in the justice system.
Interim National Chief Bernard added, “Enough is enough. We cannot tolerate the continued negligence, inaction, and jurisdictional disputes exhibited by the City of Winnipeg, the Government of Manitoba, and the Government of Canada. I urge all levels of government to work collaboratively to implement immediate measures to begin a comprehensive search of the site and provide closure and justice to the families of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman).”
The inaction and lack of political will displayed by governments and law enforcement agencies to prioritize the safety and well-being of First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals are painful reminders of the systemic issues and historical injustices First Nations women and communities endured for far too long.
We demand accountability and action. The AFN stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the murdered and missing women. Their voices must be heard, and their demands for change must be respected.
At the AFN Annual General Assembly (AGA), First Nations-in-Assembly passed Emergency Resolution 05/2023, Denouncement of Manitoba Decision on Landfill Search for Remains of First Nations Women. The resolution denounces all levels of government, police, and law enforcement services across Canada for their failures in adequately searching for and recovering the remains of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals, including the Manitoba Provincial Government’s refusal to search the Prairie Green Landfill.
In 2023, the AFN released the Final Report from MMIWG2S+ National Gathering held in February 2023, titled “Connecting Hearts and Making Change: Building on Breathing Life into the Calls for Justice: An Action Plan to End Violence Against First Nations Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People.” The report explicitly calls for thorough searches of landfills and other potential burial sites.
“We must come together and move forward in a positive and constructive manner by listening to and addressing the demands of First Nations’ families in their quest to search for their missing loved ones hidden in the Prairie Green Landfill. It is imperative that we, as a society, pursue this course of justice regardless of the challenges. Failure to do so would erode the very essence of our humanity, disregarding the values of compassion, integrity, and courage that we hold dear.”
AFN British Columbia Regional Chief Terry Teegee
“The Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg must take action to provide compassion and closure to the families of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe. In the same way that Every Child Matters, Every Woman Matters! I urge all levels of government to show leadership by doing the right thing. Let’s bring reconciliation into action by moving forward together in the spirit of mutual respect and positive change.”
AFN Newfoundland Interim Regional Chief Brendan Mitchell
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information, please contact:
Assembly of First Nations