Peru creates new anti-logging commission after murders

The commission was announced after the murder of anti-logging activist Edwin Chota (pictured) and three other indigenous leaders

The commission was announced after the murder of anti-logging activist Edwin Chota (pictured) and three other indigenous leaders

Sep 22, 2014

The Peruvian government says it will investigate illegal logging along the Peru-Brazil border following the murder of four indigenous leaders.

The leaders were killed in early September, allegedly by loggers.

The Peruvian President of the Council of Ministers, Ana Jara Velasquez, announced a commission which she said would have powers to stop the logging.

She said police had so far arrested one person suspected of involvement in the killings.

The four tribal leaders, including outspoken anti-logging activist Edwin Chota, had been killed on their way to a meeting to discuss ways to stop illegal logging.

The men from the Ashaninka community were attempting to travel to Brazil when they were murdered,

Under threat

Campaigners say the men had received several death threats from illegal loggers.

Correspondents say indigenous people have felt under increasing threat from deforestation in recent years.

Ana Jara Velasquez said the new commission would also address the issue of land ownership and titles in the area.

The Peruvian newspaper El Comercio said Mr Chota had requested earlier this year, and been refused, any rights of protection over his ancestral lands.

The newspaper quoted the local forestry commission in Mr Chota’s region of Ucayali as saying that the Peruvian government had divided the land and allocated it as logging concessions to two companies in 2002.

A 2012 World Bank report estimated that 80% of Peruvian timber export stemmed from illegal logging.



A call to action at Saugeen First Nation

Shannon Delorme (left) of Saskatchewan and Clorrissa Aquash of Saugeen First Nation marched in the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit/Take Back the Night vigil Sept. 18 at Saugeen First Nation.

Shannon Delorme (left) of Saskatchewan and Clorrissa Aquash of Saugeen First Nation marched in the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit/Take Back the Night vigil Sept. 18 at Saugeen First Nation.

September 22, 2014

SAUGEEN SHORES – The tears of a mother and grandfather who lost their girl fortified demands for government action on missing and murdered Aboriginal women at the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit/Take Back the Night vigil Sept. 18 at Saugeen First Nation.

“Am I next?” was the plaintive question on one homemade sign carried in the march of approximately 130 people, led by the Saugeen Women’s Hand Drum group, from the Kabaeshiwin Women’s Shelter to Wesley United Church.

Marchers dropped small red sachets of blessed tobacco into a new fire pit before the dedication of a stone and teepee-top memorial monument to the 1,181 (known) aboriginal females murdered and missing in Canada.

There, in a blend of First Nation symbols and customs, and the United Church human rights doctrine, opening prayers were offered by Saugeen First Nation Elder Shirley John, who asked the Creator, Mother Earth and their ancestors for guidance.

“So many missing, so many murders. It shouldn’t be happening, but this is what’s happening the world today,” John said as she appealed to the Spirits to show them the way to safety.

Chief Roote welcomed the crowd, and said he was “disappointed” by the unresolved cases of murdered woman in this community.

“I also am very disappointed because it is not a safe place to live when things like that happen. We must be able to live in a community…that is safe for us to live in. Safe from each other. Safe from the alcohol and drugs that change the way of a human being,” Chief Roote said.

He said they must not abuse their sacred community, including the sacred fireplace that was built in the church grounds and used for the first time prior to the ceremony when participants dropped tobacco balls – sacred tobacco wrapped in red cloth and blessed – into a new fire pit.

Chief Roote pulled a small framed photograph of his missing granddaughter from his pocket, and said it is hard to hide his grief, but when faced with disappointment, he reminds himself to the live on sacred ground that must be a safe community.

“Let’s try and make this into a safe community and let’s put those laws, or perhaps guidelines that need to be put into place so it can be a safe place for us to live in,” he said, thanking the crowd for helping them deal with their loss.

The Saugeen Women's Hand Drum group led the march and played at a ceremony dedicating a monument to missing and murdered Aboriginal women at the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit/Take Back the Night vigil Sept.18 at Saugeen First Nation

The Saugeen Women’s Hand Drum group led the march and played at a ceremony dedicating a monument to missing and murdered Aboriginal women at the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit/Take Back the Night vigil Sept.18 at Saugeen First Nation

Maisy’s mother Laurie Odjick had attended a couple of missing women’s marches, but the magnitude of the issue “really didn’t hit home [until] I started carrying my own poster of my girl, and I realized I was part of it,” Odjick said, struggling to hold back her tears.

Reading statistics from a 2013 RCMP study that showed 10 percent of all female homicides in Canada involved Aboriginal women who make up just three percent of the female population, Odjick read there were 146 missing woman, 1,017 homicide victims, 245 cases of either missing or murdered aboriginal females, and 120 unsolved homicides between 1980 and 2012.

“I believe that’s enough,” Odjick said. “We need to raise awareness for our women and help families that are going through this. It’s a nightmare that never goes away, Our children are not with us,” she said, adding they have no justice for the children who have become statistics as “another one of Canada’s shames that they are trying to bury.”

Odjick said with little or no help for families of missing or murdered aboriginal women, she helped developed Maisy’s Foundation of Hope to help families deal with their grief.

“Maisy will never be forgotten. No one will put her on a shelf. I will be her voice,” Odjick vowed.

The Rev. Kevin Hart reminded the crowd the United Church of Canada had offered apologies in 1989 and 1996 to First Nations for human rights abuses, and read a note from former minister, The Rev. Maggie McLeod, who wrote that “each act of remembrance for the missing and murdered women and girls, as well as each call to stop violence, honours the gift of life and justice for all peoples.”

Odjick and Chief Roote, along with an Elder and a child and other officials, unveiled the memorial monument that was constructed on the church grounds by 10 dry stone wall trainees who worked on the custom-made monument to raise awareness about the issue of murdered and missing women.

For Cheryl George, manager of the Kabaeshiwin Women’s Shelter, the vigil was a very important day to remember the missing and murdered women and young girls who have “gone to the Spirit World.”

“We need to be able to walk in our streets without fear, and we can’t say that of our community – part of the problem is our own Prime Minister who has a lot to answer for,” George said, adding she has a message for government leaders: “Open your eyes and look at us as human beings. We are aboriginal, but we mean something to families out there, and we have missing people who are loved and missed,” George said adding the vigil was “overwhelming and emotional” but necessary.

She also said that one day a year is not enough to protest women’s violence, and finally, are speaking up at Take Back the Night/Slut Walk events across the country. “We want and deserve the same respect that every other human being gets.”

For Saugeen First Nation resident Clorrissa Aquash, the march was a chance to honour the sisters that are gone. “And, hopefully, people will stand up and help because there’s not much help for missing aboriginal women and girls,” she said.

For Shannon Delorme of Saskatchewan, the hope is to be able to walk the streets safely. “I actually knew Maisy Odjick – I babysat her – and I’m here in support of her family in their grief.”

A stone and wood memorial monument dedicated to missing and murdered Aboriginal women was unveiled at the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit/Take Back the Night vigil Sept. 18 at Saugeen First Nation. On hand were, from left: Chief Vernon Roote, Cheryl George, Laurie Odjick, Miss Saugeen Aspen Chapman,and Shirley John. Front:Isabella Lees.

A stone and wood memorial monument dedicated to missing and murdered Aboriginal women was unveiled at the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit/Take Back the Night vigil Sept. 18 at Saugeen First Nation. On hand were, from left: Chief Vernon Roote, Cheryl George, Laurie Odjick, Miss Saugeen Aspen Chapman,and Shirley John. Front:Isabella Lees.

The ceremony included 12 women placing roses – one rose for every 100 known missing and murdered women – at the base of the monument, then the Men’s Drum Group performed and the event ended with a crowd round dance.

Men’s fire to close Hwy 6 in protest for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Invitations are going out to other reserves as well, in an attempt to organize others to join in a common and coordinated weekend of protest.

Lester Green, representing the Rotiskenrakehte or Men’s Fire, told the Two Row Times that the government must change its ways and that even if an inquiry were called for, it would have to be independent in nature.

“We don’t want the government doing its own investigation of itself,” said Green. “There are reports that some of those missing women were raped by OPP or RCMP officers. That’s not to say they are all like that, but some are and that creates a conflict of interest,” says Green.

He explains that the aim of the protest is to bring awareness, not only to the missing and murdered women, “but also, as men, we want to share our roles and responsibilities as well. We want to make sure the government is going to do something.”

Stephen Harper has ignored all requests and demands for a national inquiry into the cold case files of more than 1,000 cases of Onkwehonwe women who have either gone missing, or been murdered without proper investigation or closure to the families of the victims.

By contrast Green points out the manhunt that was conducted in the case of Tim Bosma. In that case, a man was abducted while accompanying someone for a test-drive of a vehicle he was selling. There was a huge police dragnet set up that spread across southwestern Ontario over several days until his remains were found and the perpetrators arrested.

“We are all aware of the Tim Bosma case and how much media attention that got for one man. Meanwhile, we have hundreds and even thousands of people missing in our community too and they want to turn a cold shoulder to it,” says Green. “Why don’t we see that kind of police attention and media coverage when one of our women or men go missing,” he asks.

According to Green, there are also more than 2,000 unsolved murders or missing persons cases involving Aboriginal men as well as women.

He recalls when the American Indian Movement aka AIM started in the United States, it was due in part to a growing list of missing and murdered Native men and women across the USA whose cases were never properly investigated.

“This problem has been around for a long time, and we want to bring that to the forefront,” says Green. “Our responsibility as men, no matter what Nation we come from, is to protect our women and children.”

The group has been in discussion with similar Men’s Fire-like groups from other reserves as well and reports that October 5-6 will also see similar actions throughout the region.

“This could be just the first of many,” Green adds.

We must stand united with other Onkwehon:we people across Turtle Island,” adds Bill Monture, a member of the Six Nations Men’s Fire group. “This could lead to a chain reaction across Canada.”

The OPP have been informed of the two-day closure being planned so there will be no surprises or misunderstandings when it happens.

The group has issued an official statement, which reads as follows:

“Am I next?  The haunting question that runs through the minds of our women across Canada. The murdered and missing indigenous women from every community are considered our sisters despite what nation or clan they belong to. Our responsibility as men and community members is to protect the women and children.

The Rotiskenrakehte of the Grand River territory are holding a series of meetings in regards to our murdered and missing women. We are inviting other territories to discuss a day of action demanding an inquiry take place with Harpers government.

We will discuss ways to work together putting together a strategic plan in getting this severe issue put on the front burner. Thousands of women have lost their lives or have yet to be found, leaving families without their mothers, daughters, sisters and aunties. Justice and an investigation into why so many of our women keep disappearing is required.

It’s time we all stand up and come together as one voice, with one message…  No More! No More murders. No More missing and No More ignoring our women.”

The group invites the community to attend a meeting on the subject this Saturday, Sept. 20th, at 11 am at 724 Chiefswood Rd.

“Our women deserve to be looked at as more than a piece of paper filed away as just another statistic,” says Green. All of these women have families they are mothers, cousins, aunts and daughters, all of which deserve to have justice and closure to them and their families.”

For more information or input, the community is invited to call Lester Green at 226-387-2151.

Nebraska’s Cowboys And Indians Unite Against Keystone XL Pipeline

Representatives from Bold Nebraska and the Cowboy & Indian Alliance traveled to New York City for the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21, 2014.

Representatives from Bold Nebraska and the Cowboy & Indian Alliance traveled to New York City for the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21, 2014.

By | Mint Press

LINCOLN, Nebraska — Thousands of people are expected to rally at the Harvest the Hope concert on a farm near Neligh, Nebraska, on Sept. 27. Headlined by Neil Young and Willie Nelson, proceeds from the sold out show will benefit the Indigenous Environmental Network, Bold Nebraska and the Cowboy & Indian Alliance — groups that have united in opposition to the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It’s about people expressing our needs to the government,” said Aldo Seoane, Oglala Lakota and member of the Cowboys & Indian Alliance. “We’ve all pulled together against this.”

TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL, a 1,179-mile, 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline, is slated to begin in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, enter the United States at Montana, then snake its way through South Dakota and Nebraska on its way to the Gulf Coast.

Art and Helen Tanderup, the owners of the farm which will host the upcoming concert, are members of the Cowboy & Indian Alliance, a group of tribal members, ranchers and farmers along the pipeline’s path who refuse to release their land to TransCanada.

The pipeline would also run through the historic Ponca Tribe “Trail of Tears,” in which the Ponca people were forcibly removed from their homeland in 1877.

“We’ve planted with members of the Ponca Nation, native seed on their native soil, growing right now on the pipeline route,” said Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, an environmental advocacy group that started in early 2010 — just months before the announcement of the proposed pipeline.

“So we took the battle on and never looked back,” Kleeb said, also noting that native corn will be harvested this fall for the first time in 137 years.

The alliance is grounded in a spiritual relationship, she said. There’s been a lot of cultural learning from both native and non-native. There’s been a lot of discussion, she continued, “Some of it uncomfortable.”

“An elder reminded us that the land didn’t belong to us. It’s their homeland. But always there’s been a sense of humor. There’s been emotional discussions, when we listened as an elder said they understand how the farmers’ and ranchers’ blood and sweat went into the land. Their ancestors are in the land, too. We didn’t know about treaty rights or cultural resource studies.”

Kleeb said Bold Nebraska sees the pipeline as catering to an export market. “They won’t make money if it’s land-locked to the U.S.,” she said.

Mark Cooper, a spokesman for TransCanada, told MintPress News, “As the International Energy Agency says, energy demand will increase by 33 percent by 2035 and about 75 percent will still come from carbon-based fuels. So far to date in 2014, Americans have consumed an average of 19 million barrels of oil per day, and are producing about 8.3 million barrels a day of that domestically. The U.S. will continue to be a net importer well into the future.”

Oil creates thousands of products people use every day, not just gasoline and diesel fuels, he said. “The plastics that encase our cellphones and televisions, asphalt for our roads and even the latex gloves doctors use when delivering a baby – all come from crude feed-stocks.”

Seoane, however, pointed out that what’s coming from Alberta is not “true oil.” “It’s tar sand. It’s a very toxic process to help emulsify to pass through a pipe. It can seep into aquifers and sink to the bottom.”

While Canada is already the largest importer of crude oil to the U.S., Cooper said, Americans still rely on oil from countries in the Middle East and Venezuela.

“Keystone XL will displace equally intensive heavy oil that comes from these countries that are often unfriendly to American values with heavy and light blends of oil from both Canada and the Bakken region of the United States,” he said.

In addition to environmental concerns, though, native people also contend that tribes were not consulted on the pipe’s proposed path. The government is obligated, under its own policy, to consult with native people whenever an issue will affect them.

“We’re not hearing from the State Department or the Department of the Interior,” Seoane said. “They’re relegating us to a position without a voice. We’re not able to effect or negotiate.”

This is a land, treaty and water rights issue, he said, adding, “Obama needs to come down and talk to us.”

Ultimately, the president has the final say on any approvals.

Holdout delays pipeline

“How can a foreign company from another country be able to come here and have eminent domain over someone’s property?” Seoane said.

On Sept. 5, the Nebraska Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the appeal of Thompson v. Heineman, a case that upheld three Nebraska landowners’ fight to protect their land from TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Earlier in the year, on Feb. 19, Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy ruled Nebraska’s pipeline as “unconstitutional and void” and determined TransCanada is not authorized to condemn the property of the plaintiffs, Susan Luebbe, Susan Dunavan and Randy Thompson.

The decision struck down a 2012 law passed by the Nebraska Legislature which created a procedure tht would let Gov. Dave Heineman — rather than the Public Service Commission — approve the location of the pipeline.

“In Nebraska, the state constitution, for more than a century, requires the Public Service Commission to decide this,” said David Domina, the Omaha-based attorney who represented the plaintiffs. “We filed suit based on the state constitution.”

The ruling left TransCanada with no route to build across the state.

Domina explained that Keystone XL needs a permit from the U.S. to cross the international border that only the president can grant. TransCanada applied for that permit in 2008, then a review process was established for the State Department.

The State Department is required to know exactly where the pipeline will go in the U.S. Once it crosses the border, safety factors are governed by federal law, but states control the routes.

“They need permission from each state to be approved,” said Domina. “Then, if a state permits it, the company can use eminent domain. The state can approve the route, but the State Department must know the route and inform the president.”

Our women and children

Meanwhile, at camps across the plains, Lakota people have been gathering for prayer.

“We’re afraid of how this threatens our women and children,” Seoane, of the Cowboys & Indians Alliance, said. “The camps of workers, 1,200 to 2,000 men, bring a 70 percent increase in violent crimes.”

He said there is not much they can do to protect everyone, and the Violence Against Women Act that will allow tribal nations to prosecute non-native offenders does not go into effect until 2015.

“A reservation the size of Rhode Island is difficult to patrol,” he continued. “One region has only one sheriff in the area. It may take the officer 45 minutes to respond to a call.”

He pointed out Winter and Gregory as rural communities of major concern.

“There’s been awful stories about what’s happening to women, children and young men,” he said, adding that the jobs the pipeline might bring aren’t worth the price paid by the community.

A study by Cornell University Global Labor Institute projected that Keystone XL will create between 93 and 257 jobs for residents in Montana; 121 to 333 jobs in South Dakota; 90 to 248 jobs in Nebraska; 6 to 18 jobs in Kansas; 41 to 113 jobs in Oklahoma; and 156 to 470 jobs in Texas.

The report also forecast negative impacts on the “green economy.”

“By helping to lock in U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, Keystone XL will impede progress toward green and sustainable economic renewal and will have a chilling effect on green investments and green jobs creation,” the report states. “The green economy has already generated 2.7 million jobs in the U.S. and could generate many more.”

Ogallala Aquifer

If it weren’t for the people’s unified response, this project would already be a done deal, said John Crabtree, media director for the Center for Rural Affairs, which joined Bold Nebraska in opposition to the pipeline.

“One of our biggest concerns is the Ogallala Aquifer,” said Crabtree. “The aquifer is crucial to our survival here in Nebraska. Once it’s poisoned, it’s done.”

The Ogallala Aquifer supplies eight states and is the heart of Nebraska. Kleeb, of Bold Nebraska, said it supplies 85 percent of Nebraskans’ drinking water and 35 percent of the water for agricultural land throughout the country.

Kleeb said she’s never seen an oil spill that remains localized. “But if companies want to use that term ‘localized’ – it is families who will never use their land again.”

The science on Keystone XL is clear, said Cooper, the TransCanada spokesperson, and the latest Environmental Impact Statement from the State Department states that the proposed pipeline will not have a discernable impact on climate change and will have a minimal impact on the environmental resources along the route.

The Sierra Club, however, reports that oil sands are 16 times more likely to breach a pipeline than regular crude oil.

“The pipe they’re installing is a half-inch thick,” Seoane said. “Mixing sand with corrosive chemicals and heating it to 150 degrees, how long before it cuts through the metal? It’s 40 feet underground. How long will it take for anyone to get to a leak? And hope to God it hasn’t leaked into an underground water main.”

The Keystone XL would pump 830,000 barrels each day through the U.S. heartland. Seoane said that moving each barrel requires 2 to 6 barrels of fresh water (110 to 350 gallons). “We don’t want our water being used that way,” he said.

But Cooper said TransCanada has an industry leading safety and operating record, with a focus on zero incidents.

“On the original Keystone Pipeline there has not been any issue with the integrity of the pipeline,” he said. “We have already safely delivered more than 610 million barrels of oil into U.S. Midwest refineries since this pipeline began operating in 2010.”

TransCanada takes additional safety measures when building pipelines near waterways, he said, such as “using high-strength carbon steel that can withstand the impact from a 65-ton excavator with 3.5 inch teeth. Our standards for steel are incredibly high. The steel TransCanada will use for Keystone XL is specially designed steel with special features that reduce corrosion and enhance strength and pliability.”

Pipelines are monitored 24 hours a day from a high-tech pipeline monitoring and control center and through ongoing inspections and maintenance by field staff across North America, he continued. Employees are regularly trained in how to respond to an incident.

“We use satellite technology that sends data every five seconds from thousands of sensors that can detect very small changes in pressure, temperature, flow rate and other indicators that are used to detect a possible leak,” Cooper explained. “In the rare event that a drop in pressure is detected, we can isolate any section of our pipeline by remotely closing any of the hundreds of valves on the system within minutes.”

“What it all comes down to is the waters,” said Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota.

Poor Bear, who’s been working with Bold Nebraska, Cowboys & Indians and others opposing the proposed pipeline, said, “We need to protect the waters for our future generations.”

“I shared with them ‘Now you know how Indian people feel about Mother Earth,’” he said. “We only have one mother. Without water, there is no life. As one of our ancestors said, this land does not belong to us, we borrowed it from our children.”

Poor Bear said he sees the project as an 1,800 mile black snake boring into Mother Earth and spitting venom into earth.

“They did not consult with us,” he said. “Coming across our sacred lands, our burial lands, they never had respect to consult with us. They avoid tribes.”

Seoane added that, “TransCanada was supposed to do a survey but did not consult with recognized tribes. It violates NAGPRA.” (NAGPRA, or the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, requires that American Indian and Native Alaskans and Hawaiians be consulted if a project is expected to encounter cultural items of gravesites.)

Ground zero


TransCanada’s Keystone I had 14 leaks in its first year of operation, while its Bison pipeline exploded just two months after the company testified to its safety. The Indigenous Environmental Network reports that “the conditions TransCanada has agreed to for Keystone XL are similar to those agreed to for prior pipelines largely replicate existing requirements.”

Indigenous Environmental Network began as a grassroots effort in 1990 based in Minneapolis. It has since expanded globally to partner with Indigenous people, ethnic organizations, faith-based and women groups, youth, labor and environmental organizations, and others to impact policies effecting environmental justice.

The group reports that in northern Alberta, Canada, beneath 10.6 million acres — an area roughly the size of Florida — are oil sands, a mixture of sand, clay, and a heavy crude oil or tarry substance called bitumen. To extract this, the industry strips all the trees, plants, and critical habitat called “over-burden.”

“I’m sad to hear in the U.S. President Obama hasn’t listened,” said Chief Steve Courtoreille of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, a community of about 2,500 in Alberta.

“When it comes to money, where there’s a prime minister or president, they don’t care about the impact to people or land. Once you destroy land, it’s gone. That’s the way we understand land,” he said.

In 2005, in the case of Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada: The Duty to Consult and Accommodate Aboriginal Treaty Rights, about development issues with the Wood Buffalo National Park, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the government had breached its responsibility to consult and its obligation to respect the treaty rights of the Mikisew.

Alberta approved the withdrawal of 119.5 billion gallons of water for oil sands extraction in 2007. An estimated 82 percent of this water comes from the Athabasca River. This water flows downstream, carrying northward into indigenous territories.

“We won our case in the Supreme Court in 2005, the right to be consulted,” said Courtoreille. “Since that time, the government has not consulted. They tell us to go to the hearings. We go. We gave them a lot of information, and it is ignored.”

New health study

“In our land there is so much water in the ground,” Courtoreille said. “It’s all polluted. Nobody drinks it.”

Locals are noticing changes in the land, and fish are found deformed. A study released in July conducted by the University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan, the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is the first to correlate oil sands extraction and declines in health in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.

Stephane McLachlan, professor at the University of Manitoba, warned, “The results of this study, as they relate to human health and especially the increasing cancer rates, are alarming and should function as a dramatic wake up call to industry, government and communities alike.”

Community members who participated in the study were concerned about declines in health and increases in allergies, asthma, hypertension and gastrointestinal illness. The study states that 21.3 percent of the participants had experienced various types of cancer. There was a high association of the cancers in those who were employed in the Athabasca Oil Sands as well as those who consumed local fish and traditional foods.

The study also revealed elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, selenium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in a number of animal species that indigenous groups depend on for food — such as moose, muskrats, ducks, beavers and fish. Indigenous populations are especially vulnerable to these impacts because of the close link between their livelihoods and the environment.

Courtoreille said the Mikisew Cree First Nation is alarmed and would like to see more studies.

“We’ve been shoved aside,” Courtoreille said. “We had no choice but to challenge it in court. We need to take this international.”

Winnipeg family grateful after body pulled from Red River


David Thompson is grateful to have some closure after his mother's body was discovered Saturday. (Kiran Dhillon/CBC)

David Thompson is grateful to have some closure after his mother’s body was discovered Saturday. (Kiran Dhillon/CBC)

Sep 21, 2014

Discovery not directly linked to Drag the Red efforts

The family of a woman whose body was found in the Red River this weekend is grateful to the Drag the Red search efforts.

“They help people keep going and keeping their spirits alive,” said David Thompson. “Well, my spirit alive, because it was dead when my mom was missing and it was heartbreaking. I couldn’t tell you how much it hurt.”

The body of Thompson’s 54-year-old mother Sandra Murray from Pine Creek First Nation was recovered near the Redwood Bridge Saturday.

Thompson said his mother was suffering from depression when she walked into the river on Sept. 10.

body redwood bridge

Winnipeg police said Sandra Murray’s body was recovered near the Redwood Bridge Saturday. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

He joined the Drag the Red search team, who were already combing the bottom of the river for other bodies, hoping to find her.

“There was so [many] volunteers and people gave up all their time searching the river,” said Thompson. “They did boat searches, they did hook searches, they did a really good job.”

Thompson said a passerby spotted his mom and called police.

He said he hopes the dragging continues so other bodies can be found and other families can have closure.

Thompson plans to continue volunteering with the group.

The discovery wasn’t directly connected to the Drag the Red team’s efforts.


Canada more at risk from environmentalists than religiously inspired terrorists: RCMP