Long Plain First Nation Chief vows fight to search Manitoba landfills will go on despite injunction

By Dave Baxter
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Winnipeg Sun

A Manitoba Chief says Indigenous people and communities will continue to fight to see landfills in Manitoba searched for missing Indigenous women, even after a judge decided on Friday that a blockade at the Brady Road Landfill must come down, and full access to the city-run landfill must be restored by 6 p.m.

Protesters have been blocking the main road into the landfill since last Thursday, in reaction to last week’s announcement by Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson that the provincial government would offer no support to help get the Prairie Green Landfill searched for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, two Indigenous women who police believe were dumped there by an alleged serial killer.

Jeremy Skibicki faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Harris and Myran, as well as for the death of Rebecca Contois, whose remains were found last year at Brady Road and an unidentified woman Indigenous leaders are calling Buffalo Woman whose remains have not been found. Police have said previously they believe the remains of both Harris and Myran are in the Prairie Green facility north of Winnipeg.

On Friday afternoon, a judge granted the City of Winnipeg a temporary injunction, and protesters had until 6 p.m. on Friday to end the barricade at the Brady Road Landfill.

Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson said the injunction granted on Friday was another example of a system that she said works against the interests of Indigenous people, and she said that system is the reason so many must continue to fight.

“We fight so hard, and then the system just keeps pushing all that progress back,” Wilson said. “It has been an ongoing fight with systems and levels of government since families first received this devastating news about their loved ones months ago.

“Sadly it has left a lot of us feeling pretty exhausted from it all, because we are fighting to bring loved ones home, but also fighting against a system that shows time and time again that it does not support Indigenous people.”

Wilson, who spoke to the Winnipeg Sun around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, said she was not sure what would happen at the landfill when the 6 p.m. deadline lands, but said she knows there will be protesters and supporters out there, and she hopes the situation remains peaceful.

“I really can’t say what’s going to happen, because as of now I don’t know who is going to show up in terms of police or the city, and what steps are going to be taken on that side of things,” she said.

“But we are going to maintain the same message, that it’s a peaceful protest, and that is what we want to continue to see.”

Cambria Harris, the daughter of Morgan Harris, said in a video message released after the decision came down that she was hoping supporters would come to the blockade at Brady Landfill on Friday as the clock ticked towards the 6 p.m. deadline, but also hoped that the situation would remain peaceful.

“We want this to be peaceful, we don’t want anything bad to happen, but we want supporters to come down and stand with us and lock arms,” Harris said.

“They can do what they want to do, but this fight isn’t over and we have woken a lot more people up about this fight, and there is so much more that needs to be done.”

In a statement sent to the Winnipeg Sun earlier this week, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) said it remained hopeful there could be peaceful resolution to the situation at Brady Road Landfill.

“The Winnipeg Police Service respects the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including the right to participate in protests and demonstrations that are lawful, peaceful and safe,” a WPS spokesperson said.

“Although protests may lead to some disruptions, there is a public expectation for all citizens participating or opposing the cause to behave in a lawful, courteous, and respectful manner of engagement.”