Family of Morgan Harris celebrates her birthday with powwow

Family and friends of Morgan Harris danced together at a powwow honouring their loved one’s birthday over the weekend.

Harris is one of four Indigenous women murdered by an admitted Winnipeg serial killer, who is waiting to hear a judge’s verdict on if he is not criminally responsible for his crimes due to a mental disorder.

With around 200 people in attendance, those who knew Harris best say she deserves to be celebrated.

“We wanted to do something big for her,” says Melissa Robinson, Harris’ cousin.

The celebration was in a different tone than most events in Harris’ honour over the past year and a half, where family members have had to advocate all levels of government for a search of the Prairie Green landfill where her remains and those of Marcedes Myran, another victim of the serial killer are believed to be.

But last week, the day before Harris’ 42nd birthday, her family learned that Manitoba has now started the process for a landfill search.

“It’s like a weight off your shoulders,” says Kirstin Witwicki, another cousin of Harris, “It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know that things have already started and there’s actually some action and not just words.”

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Robinson says she and the family initially went into the meeting thinking they would learn there was “another hurdle to jump over”.

“To hear that ground has been broken, our healing lodge is close to completion, and hydro lines are going in over there – it was very exciting,” says Robinson, “We’ve been in this fighting stance for so long now – here we are now finally getting it done,” says Robinson.

Reflecting on Harris, both cousins agree that she was a feisty woman.

“But it was never turned towards her friends or family – she was extremely loyal,” says Witwicki.

“Our 100-pound bodyguard,” adds a laughing Robinson.

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