December 2, 2022
On Thursday, December 1st, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) announced that the man accused of murdering 24-year-old Rebecca Contois in May 2022 is now being charged with the homicides of three other Indigenous women in Winnipeg.
The National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC) stands with the families of Rebecca, as well as of 26-year-old Marcedes Myran and 39-year-old Morgan Beatrice Harris, both of Long Plain First Nation, in this time of grief. We honour their spirits as young, Indigenous women who deserved lives free from violence.
We also honour the spirit of the fourth unidentified victim who police also suspect is an Indigenous woman in her mid-20s. At this time, WPS is asking the public for help in identifying the victim. We join them in urging anyone with more information to come forward, as her family also deserves answers and justice.
Prior to his arrest in May, the accused, Jeremy Skibicki, had a history of posting violent fascist, white supremacist, misogynistic, and anti-semitic material to his Facebook page, which experts say may show evidence that he was motivated by hate. What must not be ignored is the role that racism and white supremacy played in these tragic and violent deaths, as well as in the ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
Reports show irrefutable evidence that Indigenous women are disproportionately victims of violence in this country, and it is a distressing fact that we have long known that this is due to unchecked racism and misogyny. It is not a coincidence that serial killers often prey upon Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people — while these predators may be motivated by individual beliefs in white supremacy, they can repeatedly commit heinous acts due to the systemic and structural racism and misogyny that is entrenched in Canada’s colonial and patriarchal systems.
Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and survivors of race- and gender-based violence have repeatedly expressed concerns to law enforcement agencies across Canada that serial predators are targeting our women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
The lived experience, expertise, and capabilities of families, survivors, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people must be at the forefront of ending systemic and structural racism, violence, and genocide — it is a genocide where the numbers are increasing with each day of inaction.
All governments (including Indigenous governments), law enforcement agencies, institutions, organizations, and industries must work together with MMIWG2S+ families and survivors of gender- and race-based violence to end the genocide, implement the 2021 National Action Plan, and fulfill the 231 Calls for Justice outlined in the 2019 Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The political will of all levels of government is required to end this ongoing genocide.
We understand that this subject matter is difficult for many people in our community. 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.
About the National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC)
The NFSC comprises First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women from diverse backgrounds who use their lived expertise to advocate for centring the voices of families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, survivors of gender-based violence, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and made significant contributions to the 2021 National Action Plan.
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