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First Nations advocates for landfill search look forward to meeting with Manitoba’s new premier

October 25, 2023

Kinew will meet with families, leaders later this week: Long Plain chief

A woman stands on a road in front of a blockade.
Cambria Harris was at the blockade at Brady Road landfill after the former provincial government had said it would not support a search at Prairie Green landfill for her mother’s remains. (Travis Golby/CBC)

CBC Indigenous: Posted Oct. 24, 2023; Updated Oct. 25 2023) – Manitoba’s new premier is set to meet with the families of two First Nations women whose remains are believed to be in the Prairie Green landfill, north of Winnipeg. 

Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson told CBC she will be attending the meeting scheduled for Thursday along with family members of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick.

Cambria Harris, the daughter of Morgan, one of the women believed to be in the landfill, said she learned about the meeting with Wab Kinew on Monday, after his office reached out to Long Plain First Nation. 

Kinew was sworn is as premier last Wednesday. 

“What went through my mind was that maybe, just maybe we might have a chance to bring my mother Morgan home,” said Harris.  “I’m grateful that they did reach out and offer to sit down with us,” she said. “While I don’t know what that meeting will entail, we do know that they have committed to help toward working to search the landfill and so for that I’m grateful.” 

The faces of three First Nations women are pictured side by side.
Left to right: Morgan Beatrice Harris, Marcedes Myran and Rebecca Contois. Winnipeg police said on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, they have charged Jeremy Skibicki with first-degree murder in the deaths of all three women, as well as a fourth, whom community members have named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, because police do not know her identity. (Submitted by Cambria Harris, Donna Bartlett and Darryl Contois)

Last December Winnipeg police announced Jeremy Skibicki had been charged in the deaths of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and an unidentified victim who was given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman.

Skibicki had been in custody after being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Rebecca Contois months earlier.

Police revealed they believe the remains of Harris and Myran are in the Prairie Green landfill, but they had decided not to search after determining it would not be feasible.  Partial remains of Rebecca Contois were discovered in the Brady Road landfill in June 2022. The location of Buffalo Woman’s remains is unknown. 

For months Harris, along with other family members, advocates and First Nations leaders have been demanding all levels of government help conduct a search. 

A feasibility study on a possible search completed in May estimated it could take up to three years and cost between $84 million and $184 million.  The report said safety measures could be taken to mitigate the potential hazards of searching the landfill. 

In July, the former Progressive Conservative government announced it would not support a search of the Prairie Green landfill, saying there were concerns around the safety of those who would be conducting the search, and there was no guarantee the remains of the women would be found.

During Manitoba’s recent provincial election, the PCs campaigned on standing firm on that decision.  

A politician addresses media inside a legislative building.
Manitoba Premier-elect Wab Kinew holds a press conference in Winnipeg, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press)

Kinew said both during the campaign and after he was elected that an NDP government supports a search. 

Wilson said Thursday’s meeting will discuss next steps and what this new provincial government can do to assist going forward.  “I think that the invitation is definitely genuine, the conversations with the NDP have always been positive and communication has always been open,” said Wilson.

A woman stands at a podium in front of a crowd of people.
Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson gives a land acknowledgement at the swearing-in ceremony.(Probhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

Wilson said while she’s not sure what exactly will happen at the meeting Thursday, her message to all levels of government on this issue is always the same.  “The ask has always been, we need to search the landfill,” said Wilson. “That messaging is never going to change. And so whenever we have meetings with any level of government the ask is always, ‘How will you be able to participate? How will you be able to support the families that are wanting to bring their loved ones home?'” said Wilson. 

Earlier this month, the federal government announced it would provide $740,000 in funding to Long Plain First Nation to be used to get a deeper understanding of what is needed to search such as personnel, training, construction and safety concerns. 

Wilson said Long Plain First Nation was given a 90-day deadline to provide more information to the federal government on the process for a landfill search.  “We’ve been working with experts on getting that information together,” said Wilson. “So we are meeting this week on that and we will be able to finalize more information surrounding what the plan is.”  

In a statement to CBC, the premier said the Manitoba NDP committed to searching the landfill during the election campaign and is following through with that commitment.   “We know the previous government’s approach caused deep harm to these families and to the people of our province,” Kinew said.

“Our government is committed to a new era of reconciliation and unity for all Manitobans. The first step is to meet with the families as premier, and I look forward to resetting the relationship between their families and the government of Manitoba based on a foundation of respect.” 


Alana Cole, Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Alana Cole is a reporter at CBC Manitoba. Email: