The families of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran hope their calls to find a landfill for their loved ones’ remains will be heard across the country.
People in at least 17 cities, including Ottawa, will demonstrate Monday as part of a day of action organized by the families of Harris and Myran.
“People are not trash,” said Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson, who will hold a news conference in Ottawa on Monday with the families and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick.
“We need to make sure we continue that momentum and let people know the importance of everyone coming together to make sure we can bring these women home,” she said.
Families from Sisters in Spirit, the Seven Generations Assembly and representatives from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak will also be at the 10 a.m. news conference at the Westin Ottawa hotel, Wilson said. A demonstration will follow on Parliament Hill.
The events occur on the day politicians return to the House of Commons after the summer holidays.
“We want everyone coming back to their seats to know that this is not going to go away until we find a solution to registering landfills,” Wilson told CBC on Sunday.
The demonstrations will prompt an immediate search of the Prairie Green landfill, north of Winnipeg, for the remains of Harris and Myran. Police have said their bodies were dumped there after they were killed.
They will also call for the search for an unidentified woman that indigenous leaders have called Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, and Tanya Nepinak, who disappeared 12 years ago. Police searched for Nepinak’s body at Winnipeg’s Brady Road landfill for six days, but never found her.
Calls have been received to search for Harris and Myran’s remains at the Prairie Green landfill. made all over the country since the Manitoba government announced it would not fund the search.
For Wilson, that support has been overwhelming.
“There are a lot of people who support the search for a landfill, and it’s not just indigenous communities. We have non-indigenous allies from many different organizations, from many different communities,” he said.
“It’s really beautiful to see everyone come together.”
While the Manitoba government stood by its decision not to fund a search, saying it could jeopardize worker safety and affect the case against the man accused of killing the two women, Wilson said other parties have supported a search.
Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew has said the Prairie Green search would happen “as soon as possible” under NDP leadership, while the Manitoba Liberals have said that if elected, the government would cover half the cost.
Manitoba Green Party Leader Janine Gibson said in a platform announcement Saturday that she supports a search and that it could be done in a cheaper and safer way.
He also suggested that the feasibility report which estimated the search would take up to three years and cost up to $184 million “has been influenced by institutionalized racism and sexism.”
The federal government has not made a firm commitment on whether or not it will pay for the search.
A rally will also be held at the Manitoba Legislature at noon Monday.