Buffalo Point First Nation woman says she’s trying to escape Casablanca after assault

Buffalo Point First Nation

Kari Cobiness, who goes by the name Alayaa El on Facebook, says she was brutally assaulted in the city and now fears for her life. Photo: Facebook

A woman from Buffalo Point First Nation and Winnipeg now living in Morocco says she is stuck and broke in Casablanca with her two young sons and is asking for help from people back home.

Kari Cobiness, who goes by the name Alayaa El on Facebook, says she was brutally assaulted in the city and now fears for her life.

Cobiness says she can’t go into details about the assault.

She launched a GoFundMe, asking for $7,000 for plane tickets after trying to get assistance from the Canadian Embassy, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Buffalo Point First Nation.

“I’ve been to the Canadian Embassy as far as getting help and support financially to get home with both my children and I was denied the regional loan that the Canadian government offered Canadian citizens to return to Canada during the pandemic,” says Cobiness.

Global Affairs, the federal department dealing with citizens abroad says in an emailed statement to APTN News that it, “is aware that a Canadian citizen in Morocco has created an online fundraiser to finance the relocation of their family Canada. Consular officials are reaching out to the individual to determine whether they are in need of consular support. Due to provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed.”

Since being interviewed by APTN, Cobiness says she has had further contact with the AFN and there is an effort underway to assist her.

Screenshots of text messages show that AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald is in communication with Cobiness and has referred her to a member of her staff to help. A spokesperson with the AFN says the “National Chief’s Office has agreed to connect her with appropriate contacts.”

Cobiness says after months of trying to get help, she’s despondent.

“I’m not hopeful,” says Cobiness. “I have been trying to reach out for months and months to my leaders back home with the hopes that my people would help me. I don’t feel like the leaders back home are taking my situation seriously.”

Cobiness says financial help has yet to materialize, but her plight is receiving a boost in attention after Tik Tok user Sherry McKay encouraged her followers to support the GoFundMe.

“Now, instead of us being like you put yourself there, you can get yourself out,” says McKay in her Tik Tok post. “That’s not what we’re going to do. She is trying to raise $7,000 to come back to Canada with her two sons. Her one son has medical conditions and nothing is covered there.”

APTN also reached out to Buffalo Point First Nation for comment but didn’t hear back.

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