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‘They are being disappeared’: Tax union backs Winnipeg landfill search

August 17, 2023

The remains of three women are believed to be in two Winnipeg-area landfills: Marcedes Myran, Morgan Harris and an as-yet-unidentified victim known as Buffalo Woman.

Union of Taxation Employees showed their support Thursday for family members and activists who want a search of two Winnipeg area landfills for the remains of three Indigenous women.

APTN News: “This is absolutely appalling, in my opinion, that the government is disrespecting the Indigenous people – especially Indigenous women,” said union president Marc Briere during the noon-hour rally. “They are being disappeared, they are (being) murdered, nobody cares.”

Briere lead rank-and-file members in a march from their national conference at a downtown hotel to the nearby Canadian Museum for Human Rights – the site of a second camp erected to lobby for a search (the first is outside the city’s landfill).

He urged all governments to support the call for a search.

Member of the Union of Taxation Employees carry a red dress poster. Photo: Leanne Sanders/APTN News

“You know, they talk about it, and then it goes away in the news,” he said from the steps of the museum.  “I think it’s time to make a difference, time to support them. “The families seem almost alone in trying to get justice.”

Briere called on more unions and Canadians to support the search.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said earlier this summer her government wouldn’t support a search while her political opponent, NDP leader Wab Kinew, said his party would. The federal government has yet to make a commitment, while the City of Winnipeg has endorsed a search but said it is unable to help fund it.

Manitoba voters head to the polls in a provincial election in October, where Manitoba Liberals have made the landfills search a campaign issue by promising to split the cost with the federal government.

Jorden Myran is the sister of Marcedes Myran, whose remains are believed to be buried in a Winnipeg-area landfill. Photo: APTN file

The remains of three women are believed to be in two Winnipeg-area landfills: Marcedes Myran, Morgan Harris and an as-yet-unidentified victim known as Buffalo Woman. Winnipeg police have said they were murdered by an alleged serial killer.

Jorden Myran, the sister of Marcedes Myran, became emotional Thursday while talking about the fight to get governments on board for a search. “Our favourite place to adventure to when we were kids was The Forks (where the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is located),” Jorden told the crowd. “And now it sucks that I have to stand here today in the same place, fighting to bring her home.

“In order to do that we need the support from all three levels of government,” she added. “They need to quit playing hot potato and using us for their political gain.”

The museum

A camp named for her missing sister – Camp Marcedes – is set up behind the museum and has become a gathering place for supporters.

Officials have said it’s too late to search the landfills this year, but activists and advocacy organizations are committed to more marches, rallies and other actions to make it happen.

Other groups who support a search include the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Organizations, which represents members more than 1,600 academic staff at Brandon University, Université de Saint-Boniface, Unviersity of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg. 

Winnipeg police have charged a Winnipeg man with murder in the deaths of the missing Indigenous women. Jeremy Skibicki remains in custody. None of the allegations against him have been proven.

Leanne Sanders