An advocate who helps families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls says people in her community are expressing fear, anger and grief after a woman’s partial remains were discovered near the Red River in Winnipeg.
“I feel alone, lost,” said Sue Caribou, whose own niece disappeared in 2011 and whose remains have never been found. “(I have) a lot of thoughts and I feel for the families that are wondering if it’s their loved one.”
Caribou attended a gathering at the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre in Winnipeg Wednesday night, to get support from her community.
She planned to get a friend to walk with her because she said it’s not safe to walk alone.
At the gathering, just blocks from where the remains were discovered, a fire was lit for the woman.
Police have not determined the woman’s identity or her ethnicity but Caribou said even if she turns out not to be Indigenous, she needs to be honoured.
Another women’s advocate, Viv Ketchum, who also lives in the north end and works at the North End Women’s Resource Centre, said women are scared and you can feel it in the neighbourhood.
Ketchum said the discovery brought up a lot of unresolved anger, and she spoke of the “cycle of grief that we can never complete.”
On April 15, police said remains were found in an area just outside Winnipeg’s downtown along the Red River.
Investigators said they’re still conducting interviews and looking for any video surveillance that may assist them.
Police say the remains are a female with short dark-coloured hair believed to be more than 20 years old.
She’s between 5’0 and 5’5” in height with a slight build. Both ears are double pierced and she has a scar from a caesarean section. The woman didn’t have upper or lower teeth.
Caribou says whenever remains are found, it’s triggering and a reminder of the dangers on some Winnipeg streets.
“I live on Main St. and I always tell my friends and anybody that I see, ‘don’t be by yourself, don’t walk alone,’” she said. “It’s very dangerous out there.”