Toronto vigil held for Marlene Bird

A vigil was held in Toronto Tuesday night to honour the life of Marlene Bird who died Monday three years after a brutal attack.

Beverly Andrews
A vigil was held in Toronto Tuesday night to honour the life of Marlene Bird who died Monday.

Bird, 50, was a member of the Montreal Lake First Nation in northern Sask. and was beaten then set on fire in 2014.

The physical injuries were so severe that Bird lost both of her legs. Her eyes were damaged and her face was permanently scarred.

She said the attack left her helpless and unable to do things on her own.

She was also afraid to go into Prince Albert.

The man who attacked her, Leslie Black, was sentenced in September to 16-years after pleading guilty to attempted murder and sexual assault.

Bird said at the time she could forgive Black after hearing his apology in court.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) said Bird died “surrounded by family” at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

The small group gathered in Toronto didn’t know Bird, but they wanted to honour her life because of what she had been through.

“I think it’s super important that we continue to stand together,” said organizer Danielle Boyssoneau.

“To continue showing up because if we are just going to lay down and not respond to the continued violence that is happening, people are going to think its okay, people are going to think that it doesn’t matter when Indigenous women die.”

A memorial service is also being planned in Prince Albert, Sask. where the attack occurred.

Producer InFocus / Winnipeg

Beverly is a member of the Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation in Manitoba. She has worked in media for over a decade, including broadcast, film and the arts. She joined APTN in January 2017 from Regina, SK where she was a video journalist for CTV and Indigenous Circle.