Siksika members say support needed following death of Blackfoot woman

Members of Siksika Nation in Alberta are calling for more resources for women on-reserve following the death of Mardi Scalplock.

Friends and family allege family violence played a role in her death.

“In many ways, this could have been preventable,” said Scalplock’s friend, Dora Lynn McMaster.

“But my sister was one that sat in silence. You really had to push her to speak out.”

On February 27, 2022, Gleichen RCMP responded to a report of an unresponsive female.

According to a news release, the woman was found deceased and the circumstances surrounding her death are suspicious and the Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Unit has taken over the investigation.

Siksika members gathered for a vigil at Scalplock’s home, where they say the 33-year old’s body was found. They took the opportunity to express their need for an on-reserve women’s shelter.

“We need a safe house, we need a place for women to go to seek help,” said Marsha Wolf Collar, an advocate for women.

Wolf Collar said Siksika has a men’s shelter and a homeless shelter, but women don’t have those same resources.

“We are way overdue for a safe house in our community,” she said. “Our women have nowhere to go. Where they’re going is off-reserve and often times those are full to capacity.”

Siksika chief and council told APTN News a women’s shelter has been in the proposal stages for years but has limited government money to make the safehouse a reality.

As Alberta RCMP investigates, Scalplock’s loved ones say they will continue fighting to break the ongoing cycle of violence against Indigenous women.

“We’re going to keep going,” McMaster said.

“My sister deserves the world, and we want to share her life with everybody just knowing that there was more to her life than this.”

No one has been charged in Scalplock’s death.

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