Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed
The Canadian government says it will pay for a feasibility study of a landfill site in Winnipeg.
That site is believed to hold the remains of two Indigenous homicide victims.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, Winnipeg police had said it was not possible to search the site because of the passage of time and the 10,000 truck loads of garbage dumped in the area.
When Winnipeg’s police chief made that decision, there were calls for him to resign.
He said he understood the pain and the sorrow people were feeling but he would not step down.
The premier of Manitoba and the mayor of Winnipeg both said operations at the landfill would be paused while officials mulled over their next steps.
The remains are believed to be two of the victims of alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki.
The 35-year-old is already facing four counts of first degree murder.
In Ottawa, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller says the federal government would look into a feasibility study of the landfill.
“This is something where we are working with the city of Winnipeg police force and the province of Manitoba and the mayor’s office to make sure we have a coordinated approach with what is a very very difficult situation for families looking for perhaps even recover remains of their lost ones.”
Meanwhile Indigenous advocates says the arrest of Skibicki shows vulnerable women and girls are subject to dangerous outcomes if governments don’t work together to end gender and race based violence.
The National Family and Survivors Circle says Indigenous women are disproportionate victims of violence in Canada due to unchecked racism and misogyny.
Wednesday marks the first recognition of National Ribbon Skirt Day in Canada.
January 4 will now be an opportunity for people to celebrate and learn about Indigenous culture.
A bill to recognize the day passed Parliament last month.
The day raises awareness about injustices, racism and discrimination against Indigenous people.
The day came about after a First Nation youth was shamed at school for wearing a ribbon skirt.
The Canadian government says it’s working in partnership with Indigenous people to protect and promote their cultures and traditions.
Thunder Valley, a Lakota empowerment organization, has raised $100,000 for its next workforce development group. That money will provide education, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for those in the program.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s C.J. Keene has more.
The ten-month workforce program targets native young adults unsure of the next steps in their life.
Lynette Kills Back, Thunder Valley workforce development director, says those entering the program will finish with a life skill.
“Like carpentry, plumbing, electricians, to even get into that skillset, to get into that profession, I think it takes a special person to learn that and help out people like me who don’t know a lick of construction. Some contractors out there require at least 300 hours of on-hands training with tools. Those are part of the main focus points we help them get started with.”
Kills Back says previous participants have found success.
“A lot of them are employable once they leave my program, so they get picked up by contractors whether it be up there in Rapid City or wherever they go to. We also have the Oglala Sioux Tribal Housing Authority, where I currently have four of my past cohort participants who currently work for them.”
But Kills Back says participation goes beyond learning trade skills.
“We also work on that individual as a whole. Holistically, we help them learn their culture. We teach them how to pray, every morning we give thanks we smudge each other off, offer a prayer, and we get out and start with our day. The core participants have the opportunity to learn our Lakota language, the opportunity to participate in our customs and practices like our sweat ceremony.”
Kills Back says eligible applicants include enrolled members of any federally recognized tribe between the ages of 18 and 26.
Get National Native News delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up for our newsletter today.