The arrest of an alleged serial killer targeting Indigenous women in central Canada has sparked a new wave of anger and despair over the country’s failure yet again to deliver on promises to protect vulnerable women and girls. This is not the first time such darkness has fallen upon our nation, and it unfortunately likely will not be the last. As we collectively mourn those lost, let us also pledge ourselves anew to do better by all our sisters – no matter who they are or where they come from.
On Thursday evening, December 1st, a Canadian police station announced that Jeremy Skibicy (35 years old) had been charged with the murder of Morgan Beatrice Harris (39 years old) and Mercedes Miran (26 years old), both from the First Nation ethnicity. This news comes months after he was first accused of killing Rebecca Contois, 24, also part of the First Nation community.
Skibiki is suspected of murdering a fourth victim who, like the other three victims, is also an indigenous person. The bodies of the first three have not yet been discovered.
After the capture of the “monster” that had been terrorizing the community, Manitoba’s shadow justice minister Nahani Fontaine took to Twitter to share her feelings of anger, despair, disgust and sadness.
Not only did she write this, but “This alleged killer was among us. He wasn’t hidden; We simply don’t see our women and girls.”
“When will the protection of Aboriginal women and girls be taken seriously? Winnipeg now has two separate serial killers targeting Aboriginal women. What more needs to happen for someone to take action and stop them?”
Because very few of the 4,000+ Aboriginal women and girls who are believed to have been killed or missing in Canada over the past 30 years have been found, evidence involving DNA is helpful.
It is also unknown if there was a relationship between the killer and victims.
While police in other areas have been accused of disproportionately watching indigenous people, crimes against them are still being looked into.
In Ontario, a group of private investigators has called for a re-investigation into the sudden deaths of 14 Indigenous people in Thunder Bay. The original investigations were inadequate due to police carelessness and institutional racism.
“We’re very sorry, but it’s not enough,” Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham told reporters. “I feel a blend of sadness and anger right now. We need to do more to keep this community safe.”
“The loss of these four people is devastating, and our thoughts are with their families,” Long Blain First Nation President Kaira Wilson said in a statement. “We must come together to support the indigenous men and women of Canada.”