Manitoba community commemorates the missing and murdered
Published Sunday, June 21, 2015 5:52PM CST
One Manitoba community took a sombre approach to mark National Aboriginal Day as families of murder victims held a march to remember their lost loved ones.
The small community of Sagkeeng First Nation, home to only 3,300 people, counts six victims among Canada’s murdered women, each of the crimes unsolved.
“It’s sad,” said Thelma Favel, “It’s awful to wake up every morning to know that I won’t see her face.”
Favel’s niece, Tina Fontaine, died last summer, a 15-year-old victim of a still unsolved homicide.
In the year since Fontaine’s death, Favel has met many others who share her sorrow.
Agnes Abraham’s sister Sharon went missing in Vancouver in 2001.
"She was going to school in Vancouver when I last saw her,” said Abraham, “She was doing very good for herself."
Police eventually found the missing woman’s DNA on the property of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton.
On Aboriginal Day, the families of the six women marched together.
"I want to honour her,” said Abraham about her sister, “Everybody feels like she's being forgotten about. She was really loved and that's all I want to let people know. That she was a very good person."
The event’s organizer said she felt obligated to do something for the families of the murdered women.
She plans to make the march an annual event and hopes next year more community members will get involved.
“I really do,” said Lillian Cook, “Because it’s a community problem.”
Janet Bruyere last saw her granddaughter Fonessa Bruyere at a birthday party in August 2007.
She spent the next three weeks putting up missing posters and searching for the 17-year-old before receiving the worst possible news.
Fonessa’s body had been discovered with 17 stab wounds.
“From who? I don’t know,” said Bruyere as she choked back tears, “I hope someday they find out who did this to her because it hurts me and my family.”
Sunday she marched side by side with some of the only people in the world who can truly understand her pain, because they know it too.