Remembering Leah Anderson
Updated: Jan 23
Today’s post is about Leah Anderson. She was a 15 year old girl, home from school for the holidays. She was off to go skating with her friends when she was murdered and left in the snow.
Like so many other Indigenous women and girls, the person who took Leah’s life has not been found. It has now been 10 years since her death.
What adds to the frustration and confusion about the fact that Leah’s case hasn’t been solved, is that she was home in the small fly-in community of God’s Lake Narrows, which is only accessible by air or ice road in winter.  The ice road was closed on the night that Leah was killed, which means the killer was likely still in the community during the police investigation, and may still be living there today. 
Despite DNA evidence showing the murderer was male, the belief that he had access to a snowmobile or other snow machine, the RCMP’s finding that it was someone Leah knew, and the near certainty that he was in one of the 285 homes in the area when the police arrived, the killer has not been identified. 
The murderer has not been brought to justice. Leah’s loved ones and community have not been given closure. Members of the community, including Leah’s sisters, must now live with the knowledge and fear that the person who murdered Leah Anderson could be anyone around them in the small community. Leah’s sister, Tiffany, now feels afraid and unsafe in the community she once thought of as a safe haven, and her sister Angel feels like she must now always have her guard up. 
It’s upsetting, but maybe not surprising, that so little has come from the RCMP investigation even after 10 years. At the time, the RCMP only stayed in the community to investigate for a few days.  Since then, they have only returned sporadically, and not in the last 3 years, since 2020.  The RCMP did arrest someone in 2017, but he was released the next day without charges.  They have not faced much public pressure to solve the murder, and the case never made national headlines.  Many feel that the RCMP have forgotten about Leah, and it is hard to ignore the thought that maybe things would be different if Leah had not been an Indigenous girl. 
The RCMP’s failure to find the killer means that Leah’s loved ones and community must not only deal with Leah’s death, but with a lack of closure, justice, and safety.
Leah has become another one of the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Stories like hers are far too common, and far too overlooked.
But Leah should not be remembered just by her last day or by the way her life was taken.
She was known to her loved ones as a bright girl with a genuine soul.  She was popular, funny, and had a fun-loving spirit.  She was loving, beautiful, talented, and very kind.  She encouraged others, and she was like "the sunshine in the room."  She was a natural performer and loved to laugh.  She was full of life, and put others before herself, not wanting others to be upset.  She went out of her way to make people smile. 
She was a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, and friend. She was a human being, she was a young girl. Her life was just as important, and valuable, and meaningful, as anyone else’s, and it should be treated as such.
Until next time,
Team Reconcili-ACTION YEG
 “A decade after teen's killing, northern Manitoba memorial walk calls for justice for Leah Anderson” (6 January 2023) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/leah-anderson-10-years-unsolved-killing-1.6704240>.
 “2013 killing of 15-year-old Leah Anderson in Gods Lake Narrows being aggressively investigated: RCMP” (11 January 2019) online: Thompson Citizen <https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/nickel-belt-news/2013-killing-of-15-year-old-leah-anderson-in-gods-lake-narrows-being-aggressively-investigated-rcmp-4292036>; “Man arrested in connection with 2013 killing of Manitoba teen girl” (26 July 2017) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-leah-anderson-killing-arrest-1.4222941>; “Missing and murdered: The life and mysterious death of Leah Anderson” (17 March 2015) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/missing-and-murdered-the-life-and-mysterious-death-of-leah-anderson-1.2998323>.
 “Missing and murdered: The life and mysterious death of Leah Anderson” (17 March 2015) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/missing-and-murdered-the-life-and-mysterious-death-of-leah-anderson-1.2998323>.
 Supra note 1.
 “2013 killing of 15-year-old Leah Anderson in Gods Lake Narrows being aggressively investigated: RCMP” (11 January 2019) online: Thompson Citizen <https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/nickel-belt-news/2013-killing-of-15-year-old-leah-anderson-in-gods-lake-narrows-being-aggressively-investigated-rcmp-4292036>.
 Supra note 4.
 Supra note 1.
 Supra note 7.
 “Man arrested in connection with 2013 killing of Manitoba teen girl” (26 July 2017) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-leah-anderson-killing-arrest-1.4222941>.
 Ibid; Supra note 1.
 Supra note 4.