Drumming filled the cold Winnipeg air Tuesday evening as dozens braved the early signs of winter to pay tribute to a young First Nations girl taken too soon.
Family and community members gathered outside the home where 14-year-old Jakira Mary Iris Eastman-Moore was stabbed to death during a Halloween party on Oct. 26.
“She was a nice, good girl. Her life didn’t need to taken at such a young age,” said Laureen Sanderson, Eastman-Moore’s aunt.
“I love her so much. I’m going to miss her so much,” she added through tears.
(Dozens of people came out for a vigil in front of the house where Eastman-Moore was killed. Photo: Brittany Hobson/APTN)
A handful of singers shared some drum songs while family flanked the young girl’s mother.
Much of the family was in shock and declined to speak at the vigil but Sanderson took some time to share memories of her niece.
“She was happy and outgoing. She always wanted to come home at pow wow time. She was a happy little girl,” she said.
The family is from Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, according to Sanderson.
(Police say Jakira Mary Iris Eastman-Moore was killed when a dispute at a party escalated. Submitted photo)
Alaya McIvor helped organize the event.
She understands the pain of losing a family member after her cousin was found dead in 2011.
“This young girl was loved. You can see the community come together and show and amplify what love is for each of our women that continuously go missing or are murdered,” said McIvor.
Police were called to the home in the Tyndall Park area of the city around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday.
When they arrived they found Eastman-Moore and an 18-year-old female suffering from stab wounds.
Both were transported to hospital.
The 18-year-old survived.
(“She was a nice, good girl,” says Eastman-Moore’s aunt. Photo: Brittany Hobson/APTN)
In a statement released Tuesday police said, “investigators believe that a dispute during a party at the residence escalated to a physical altercation.”
Further in the release police announced they charged two females, a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old, with second degree murder and attempted murder on Monday. Both remain in custody.
McIvor says the issue of missing and murdered extends beyond the family – it’s a community issue as well.
“All we can do is wrap this family around with nothing but love through the duration of the process,” she said.
This follows a violent weekend in Winnipeg where two males were found “suffering from serious upper-body injuries” in a back alley in the North End early Sunday morning.
The two later died in hospital.
Police have identified the victims as 32-year-old Edwin Adrian Harper and 62-year-old Wayne Patrick Palidwor.
Police are continuing to investigate and no charges have been made.
The three homicides mark the city’s 34th, 35th and 36th for the year. The highest for a year was 41 in 2011.