Some who want the Prairie Green Landfill searched for the remains of murdered women said they are losing patience with the lack of action.
“They are hoping we are going to go away. That’s how I feel, and quite honestly they’ve messed with the wrong families,” a defiant Melissa Robinson said while speaking at the Manitoba Legislature on Wednesday, during what was dubbed the Search the Landfill Rally at the Manitoba Legislature Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re not going anywhere, we’re going to get louder, we are going to get stronger, and we’re going to keep coming back until our women are brought home.”
Robinson is a cousin of Morgan Harris, one of four women who are believed to have been murdered by alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki, and one of two women who Winnipeg Police have said they believe had their remains put in the Prairie Green Landfill near Stony Mountain.
The remains of Rebecca Contois, one of the other women Skibicki is alleged to have killed, were discovered in the Brady Road Landfill earlier this year, and police also believe he killed a fourth women who remains unidentified, and who community members are now referring to as Buffalo Woman.
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In May, the federal government announced that a feasibility study that looked into what it would take to search the Prairie Green Landfill for Harris and Myran was completed, and the study estimated that a search could take up to three years, and could cost as much as $184 million.
Robinson said that since the feasibility study shows that the remains of the two women could be found, it should be any easy decision for both the province and the feds to put up both money and resources for a search to get underway.
“If you haven’t seen the feasibility study, ask for it, read it, it states plain and clear in there that it can be done,” Robinson said. “So what the hell are we waiting for?”
Also speaking at the rally on Wednesday was Long Plain First Nations Chief Kyra Wilson, who echoed the words of Robinson, and said a search must move forward no matter how much work it will take or money it will cost.
“When we talk about a landfill search, for me there’s a simple fix,” Wilson said. “There’s a simple solution, and the solution is that we start the work and start this landfill search.
“It shouldn’t take much for everyone to come together and remove the political piece from this conversation. These are women that are in a landfill, so it doesn’t matter if you are part of the federal government or the provincial government, because you have the mandate to take care of our communities and our nations.”
A spokesperson for the province said that Premier Heather Stefanson has plans to meet with Wilson and with the Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) next month to discuss what support the province could offer for a search, although the province has so far not pledged any support.
A meeting between Premier Heather Stefanson, Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Clarke, AMC Grand Chief Merrick and Long Plains First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson is scheduled and confirmed for July 5, 2023,” the province said.
“We continue to acknowledge the anguish of the families and our hearts go out to all of them. We are taking the time necessary to review the report’s recommendations, which we understand the Federal government is also doing after having commissioned the report.”
The federal government said that they would make no decisions on what support to offer until the results of the feasibility study are thoroughly examined.
“We have received a final report from the AMC, regarding this feasibility study, and we are reviewing it diligently,” a federal spokesperson said.
“We will provide more comments when it is appropriate to do so, after our review. We need to make sure our work is done right, in a culturally-sensitive and trauma-informed manner, and keeping at heart the families, survivors, and communities. “The Minister has been in contact with the families, and the AMC. We cannot disclose the details of those conversations.”
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