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Manitoba premier resets relationship with families at Winnipeg ceremony

October 27, 2023

Families want local landfill search and premier says he’s working on it.  

Families who met with Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew say they appreciated the meeting and words spoken from the newly elected leader.

“It was a beautiful way to re-set that relationship that is needed here in the Manitoba Legislature,” said Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson.

Winnipeg police believe the bodies of Cambria Harris and Marcedes Myran, both from Long Plain, are buried in the Prairie Green Landfill, a private dump on the edge of the city.

A study, financed by the federal government, said a search if feasible – but doesn’t come with any guarantee of success. It said the search could take up to three years and cost just under $200 million.

Winnipeg police have so far refused to search the dump citing a number of hazards at the site. During the recent election, former premier Heather Stefanson actively campaigned on a promise to not provide any money or resources for a search.

During that campaign, Kinew, and the NDP, promised that it would happen. During the meeting with families, Kinew took a step towards building a relationship.

“I wanted to formally apologize to your families on behalf of the government of Manitoba for what you have gone through these past few months,” he said.

Kinew meeting
Long Point First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson speaking to reporters on Thursday. The family of Marcedes Myran are on her left with Grand Chief Cathy Merrick on her right. Photo: Tamara Pimentel/APTN.

Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, whose organization has been leading the push for a search, said that it was a thoughtful meeting. “Being able to have the pipe lead the way of our journey with this government has really touched my heart and my heart is very light today,” she said. “The discussions that we had have always been the wishes of the families.”

The meeting comes just a week after Kinew was sworn into his new role as the first First Nations premier of Manitoba. “I’m happy that he did apologize because it’s been a long year, year and a half and to hear that from one of the premiers is absolutely amazing,” said Myran’s grandmother, Donna Bartlett.

Families and the province now have less than 90 days to further assess the search after receiving $750,000 from the federal government shortly after Kinew’s victory.

Merrick said the families are optimistic. “They’re the most resilient people I’ve ever encountered,” she said. “To be in their presence and to be able to stick together as families. They never once backed down.”


Tamara Pimentell,