Remember Our Names
On December 1st, Winnipeg police announced murder charges against Jeremy Skibicki, who is alleged to have murdered Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and an unidentified woman, given the name Mashkode Bizhiki'ikwe, or Buffalo Woman. His victims were mothers, daughters, friends, and aunties. They were also all Indigenous.
Over the past 30 years, over 4000 Indigenous women and girls are believed to have gone missing or murdered in Canada. In the last year alone, a fifth of Winnipeg's homicides were Indigenous women despite only making up 14% of Winnipeg's total population. As discussed earlier this week, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls delivered their Final Report in 2019, which included 231 Calls for Justice. The federal government has been criticized for their failure to respond in a timely manner to these calls.
The arrest of Skibicki has renewed political pressure on the Liberals, resulting in the announcement of the appointment of Jennifer Moore Rattray on January 10th. Rattray is the special ministerial representative who will provide recommendations for the creation of an Indigenous and human rights ombudsperson.
The case of Jeremy Skibicki is terrifying and it is alarming because he is far from the first serial killer in Winnipeg targeting Indigenous women. In 2012, Shawn Lamb was charged with 3 counts of murder against Carolyn Sinclair, Lorna Blacksmith and Tanya Nepinak, all Indigenous women. Since his arrest in 2012, there have been another 41 cases of missing Indigenous women in Winnipeg alone. Their stories are often overlooked by the media.
Today, ReconciliACTION YEG has dedicated space to mark, remember and reflect on some of the Indigenous women lost in Winnipeg in 2022.
Heather Beardy, 26 was a member of Garden Hill First Nation. Heather was a mother, daughter and beloved friend.  She is remembered as a great supportive friend. 
Morgan Harris was a 39-year-old mother of five and grandmother from Long Plain First Nation. She is remembered as happy-go-lucky, silly and fun. She was a person that others loved to be around.
Marcedes, 26, was a mother and member of Long Plain First Nation. Her grandmother, Donna Bartlett, noted that she will remember her granddaughter's jokes and big smiles. 
Rebecca was a 24-year mother from O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation. Over 100 people
gathered to mourn the 24-year-old who was noted to have a heart for everything.
Doris, 25, was a mother of three and a member of God’s Lake First Nation. She is remembered as a bubbly, outgoing individual with a great sense of humour. 
Tessa, 31, is remembered as a gentle and caring mother of four who was working to better the lives of her and her children.
Melissa, 41, was a mother and member of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. She is remembered by her daughter as a very beautiful person, who always had a smile on her face, no matter what. No charges have been laid in her death. 
Danielle, 36, was from Misipawistik First Nation. She is remembered as a giving person, who was very protective of her family. Two 15-year-olds have been charged in connection with her death. 
Delany, 23, was a young mother who is remembered as a caring and attentive mother to her four young children. No one has been charged with her death. 
Today, we only recognize a handful of the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women. We share their faces and stories to bring attention to Canada’s failure to not only to protect Indigenous women from harm but also the failure to fulfill the Calls to Justice laid out in the Inquiry.
Each of the above victims, along with the thousands of other women and their families deserve justice and we, as Canadians, must work together to put an end to this ongoing tragedy. Join us throughout the rest of this month as explore this heavy topic and search for a better future.
Until next time,
Team Reconcili-ACTION YEG
Special thank you to CBC News for their reporting on the lives of the above women.
 Holly Caruk, “Jeremy Skibicki's pretrial delayed due to complexity, volume of information on 4 murder charges” (15 December 2022) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/skibicki-pre-trial-delayed-complexity-1.6687272>.  “Missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada could number 4000” (17 February 2016) online: The Guardian <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/17/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-in-canada-could-number-4000>.  Ozten Shebahkeget, “Almost a fifth of Winnipegs homicides this year involved Indigenous women. These are their stories”(26 December 2022) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/indigenous-women-winnipeg-homicide-profiles-2022-1.6673913>.  Ka’nhehsí:io Deer “Ottawa announces progress on 2 MMIWG inquiry calls to justice” (10 January 2022) online: CBC News <https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/ottawa-announces-progress-on-2-mmiwg-inquiry-calls-to-justice/ar-AA16c33U>.  “Family, friends mourn 26-year-old homicide victim Heather Beardy”(8 February 2022) online: CityNews <https://winnipeg.citynews.ca/2022/02/08/homicide-heather-beardy/>  Ibid.  Supra, note 5.  Ibid.  Ibid. Community mourns loss of young woman who 'always had a heart for everything', 19 May 2022 CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/rebecca-contois-homicide-vigil-1.6460358>  Ibid.  Ibid.  Ibid.  Ibid.  Ibid.  Ibid.