AMC MKO SCO AFN Supports Long Plain First Nation’s Call for the Resignation of Winnipeg Police Chief
December 8th, 2022
Ottawa, Unceded Unsurrendered Anishinaabe Algonquin Territory – Today, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO), and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba, supported Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson’s call for the resignation of Danny Smyth, Winnipeg Police Chief. The call for resignation is in response to the Winnipeg Police Service’s (WPS) statement made on December 6, 2022, that they will not search for Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, both from Long Plain First Nation, at the Prairie Green Landfill north of the city of Winnipeg. WPS Chief of Police Danny Smyth stated that searching the Prairie Green Landfill for Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, an unidentified woman named Buffalo Woman, and Rebecca Contois would be too difficult and deemed unfeasible.
Chief Kyra Wilson said, “I call on Chief of Police Danny Smyth to resign. He has shown a complete disregard for the lives of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, their family, the Long Plain First Nation, and all Indigenous women. With the directed violence against these Indigenous women, the message that Danny Smyth sends to the greater community is, “Indigenous women do not matter.” His quick dismissal and lack of support perpetuate violence against Indigenous women.”
Numerous communities, organizations, and public leaders across the nation are asking WPS to search the Prairie Green landfill thoroughly. The three women’s families deserve closure, and all victims deserve justice and respect. Leadership will continue to advocate to have them found and brought back to their home fires.
AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said, “The AMC fully supports Chief Wilson’s call for the resignation of Chief of Police Smyth. He has a mandate and obligation to protect and serve the community to the fullest capacity. Knowing human remains reside in the landfill, but doing nothing further to locate the remains, is not efficient nor effective public safety measures for the community. We call for the immediate resignation of Danny Smyth and call on the Winnipeg Police Service to take action and bring our women home.”
In November, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), headquartered in Prague, was engaged by Canada to assist in its response to the discovery of unmarked graves at former residential schools. ICMP works in countries to help identify people who have gone missing or been killed by providing resources, technology, support, and training to aid in finding missing persons.
“We know the ICMP can help locate remains, and we know the technology exists to make it possible. If the Winnipeg Police do not devote the time and resources to searching for our missing and murdered women, then the Governments of Canada and Manitoba should immediately provide the resources to allow our First Nations to bring these victims home to their families,” said Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “It needs to happen now because we refuse to stand idly by while landfills become unmarked graves for our women.”
“There is such a huge loss of trust between First Nations citizens and the Winnipeg Police Service. Now is the time for the Winnipeg Police Service to take swift action in working to rebuild trust with our Nations. I am encouraging the Chief of Police to show leadership today,” stated Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization. “We need to see leadership at all levels, and I support the call for the resignation of Danny Smyth from the role of Chief of Police. The Winnipeg Police should be using all their resources to find these women!”
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse said, “First Nations seek immediate accountability and justice. We will lead the process and bring our women home, despite the WPS refusing to do it.”
For more information, please contact:
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs