‘No other way’: Former Anishinaabe Mountie playing a role in Winnipeg landfill search

At one time, Margorie Hudson was in RCMP advertisements in Manitoba to recruit Indigenous people into the Mounties. She was the first First Nations woman to serve in the RCMP in the province.

“I loved wearing my uniform, I was proud to wear my uniform, but it was tough,” she said. “It was fighting a battle for 31 years and I stood up to it.”

Hudson, from Berens River First Nation – a community 360 km north of Winnipeg – joined the force in 1979 after a friend encouraged her.

She spent the next three decades fighting crime in various communities – and racism from her co-workers.

“When we graduated after the three months in Depot in Regina [RCMP training centre], we were given brown surges instead of the red scarlet surge and I just went with the flow because we were the first minority that they hired,” she said. “We were supposed to show the non-Indigenous members on reserve the way of life and the way to treat people.”

Hudson said her abilities were always questioned, was not given credit for solving cases and never promoted.

She said in one case, she was asked to drive an intoxicated female home without her sidearm and while six months pregnant.

The woman she was driving pulled a gun on her.

“The second I floored it she started shooting,” she said. “I pulled over and she ran back into the house. I called for help.

“At six months pregnant with my son I was shot at. Did they care that I was out in the field with no gun in maternity clothes?”

Hudson left after 31 years in 2009, and in July 2020, she filed a class action suit against the RCMP for the racism she experienced.

“There is a lot of systemic racism still today,” she said. “I see it, I know it. People tell me. People in the RCMP tell me. It is very much alive and they need to do something about it.”

Changing roles

Former Mountie Marge Hudson seen here in an undated file photo. She’s the lead plaintiff in a proposed racial discrimination class-action against the RCMP. Photo: File

Hudson is now with a group called ISN Maskwa – Canada’s first Indigenous emergency operations centre. It offers training and crisis management to communities that have been hit by any number of emergencies.

It was created to fill a gap for First Nations-led emergency responses.

“They know who I am, where the RCMP for 31 years did not know who I was,” she said. “There’s no comparison whatsoever.”

ISN Maskwa is playing a key role in planning a search for the remains of Marcedes Myran, Morgan Harris and a unidentified female whom people call Buffalo Woman. Winnipeg police say they believe the three are buried in the Prairie Green Landfill, a private dump on the outskirts of Winnipeg.

A feasibility study released to families in July 2023 said a search is feasible.

“Where at some point in the RCMP would be brushed off — now to going in full force,” said Hudson. “The search will happen and we will find them. There is no other way.”

Hudson said ISN Maskwa is working on a final report for the search. The deadline is mid-January.

Contribute Button