On Thursday, May 19, 2022, the National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC) became aware of the homicide of Rebecca Contois, a 24-year-old Indigenous woman whose life was needlessly and cruelly taken in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The NFSC honours Rebecca’s spirit — she was a young Indigenous woman with an entire future ahead of her and she was dearly loved. We stand with Rebecca’s family in their time of grief. The NFSC understands the family has received immediate crisis support and it is important for this support to continue long-term. It is critical for the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) to provide regular and timely updates about Rebecca’s investigation to the family through a trauma-informed approach.
The NFSC expects the WPS to conduct the investigation with urgency, due diligence, and proper resources to ensure the family finds justice. The Winnipeg Police Service has arrested a suspect and the individual has been charged with first- degree murder. The NFSC is also very concerned that this situation has made police suspect that there may be more than one victim.
As the details emerge of yet another senseless murder of a young Indigenous woman, it is a reminder this is a tragedy for the family, community and the country as a whole. It is more important than ever to call attention to the urgent need for action.
All governments (including Indigenous governments), agencies, institutions, organizations, and industries must implement the 2021 National Action Plan and begin fulfilling the 231 Calls for Justice outlined in the 2019 Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. In addition, families and survivors must receive all necessary supports as they experience these tragedies and crises.
The political will to accomplish this must be exercised immediately. Each day of inaction has led directly to further violence, harm, and deaths, with more Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people murdered or going missing since the 231 Calls for Justice was released in 2019.
We must hold all governments and institutions to their promises to ensure measurable outcomes and concrete actions are in place to implement the National Action Plan. Ultimately, we as Canadians are all responsible for transformative change on the ground that keeps Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people safe and protected.
The subject matter is difficult and if you require immediate support, please contact the national, independent toll free 24/7 support line at 1-844-413-6649 to speak to a counsellor. The service is available in English, French, Cree, Anishnaabemowin (Ojibway) and Inuktitut.