Tag Archives: Sagkeeng First Nation

Crown seeks adult sentence for second teen guilty in death of Serena McKay

(Image: Serena McKay / Facebook)

A second teen has pleaded guilty for her role in the death of 19-year-old Serena McKay.

Mckay was killed in April of last year on Sagkeeng First Nation. A graphic video showing the teen being brutally beaten the night she died was later circulated on social media.

The girl, 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Winnipeg youth court on Wednesday. The Crown is asking for an adult sentence.

Sentencing for the teen will take place in June.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, an 18-year-old woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December for her part in the death of McKay, who was found dead outside a home on Sagkeeng. The Crown did not seek an adult sentence for that teen.

Her sentencing hearing is set for April.

McKay likely froze to death, left helpless after a violent attack. She was reported missing on Sunday, April 23, and about two hours later, McKay’s body was found by a community member.

The two girls, who cannot be named because of their ages, were arrested and charged with second-degree murder a few days later.

All three teenagers attended the same Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School,

Drunken argument led to the vicious on-camera beating

CBC News reports, the court heard that there were seven people at a party, including the accused and McKay, on the night of Saturday, April 22.

A fight broke out between the accused teenager and McKay over alcohol and at some point McKay was kicked out of the party. That’s when the fight turned physical.

Two videos filmed — which later became widely shared on Facebook — showed McKay being beaten.

Mckay’s death attracted national attention and prompted a call to action against violence in Sagkeeng, located 140 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

Sagkeeng First Nation Mourns Slain Teen at Vigil Attended by Hundreds

Family, friends and supporters met at Sagkeeng’s powwow grounds on Thursday as part of a vigil for Serena McKay. (CBC)

Serena McKay was found dead on Sunday; 2 teens have since been charged with her murder

CBC News Posted: Apr 27, 2017

Hundreds of people from Sagkeeng First Nation came together Thursday night in honour of a 19-year-old woman from the community who was killed over the weekend.

Serena McKay was found dead on Sunday in the community of roughly 4,000 people, 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

The body of Serena McKay, 19, was found Sunday evening in Sagkeeng First Nation. Two teenage girls have been arrested in connection with her death. (Del Daniels/Facebook)

On Thursday, family, friends and supporters met at Sagkeeng’s powwow grounds to honour her memory and begin community healing.

“I didn’t really know her. It’s just really devastating, because I have a sister. When I heard about that, it kind of touched me,” said Elvis Atkinson, 20.

“The community needs to open up their eyes on the younger generation … how these young generation drink, drugs in the community.”

McKay had recently moved to Sagkeeng and was set to graduate high school in June. Two girls from her school, aged 16 and 17, have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death.

People at Thursday’s vigil for Serena McKay say the community needs to begin healing. (CBC)

Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School principal Claude Guimond said the environment at the vigil was moving and emotional. Indigenous leaders including Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Kevin Hart were in attendance, he added.

“There’s nothing so devastating as losing a young life like that, so senselessly taken, before she even started to live, really, you know? Never got that chance,” he said. “That’s one of the most devastating things to endure.”

Elvis Atkinson, 20, lives on Sagkeeng First Nation. He didn’t know Serena McKay personally, but said her death moved him. (CBC)

Guimond said ceremony and tradition play a powerful role in community healing.

“Of course, the drumming, you know, that’s the heartbeat of our nation,” he said. “That’s the heartbeat of Anishinaabe people, is the drum, and it’s so strong.”

Claude Guimond, principal of Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School, said the Thursday evening vigil was moving and emotional. (CBC)


Principal After Violent Death: Drugs and Gangs ‘Killing Our Youth’

Views of Sagkeeng First Nation which sits on the north and south shore of the Winnipeg River near Pine Falls Manitoba. Dec 19, 2014 Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press

  • Staff | CP – Apr 26, 2017

SAGKEENG FIRST NATION, Man. — The killing of a 19-year-old high school student and a graphic video believed to be linked to the death has shocked a small Manitoba First Nation that has seen more than its share of tragedy.

RCMP said Wednesday they were reviewing the video circulating on social media to determine whether it was indeed connected to the death on the Sagkeeng reserve, 120 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

They also said they had arrested two girls, 16 and 17 years old, on charges of second-degree murder.

RCMP would not identify the victim, but community members said she was Serena McKay. The two accused cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

All three were students at the Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School, said principal Claude Guimond.

“We’re not a very big school. We only have about 220 students here … and all three of the students in the video, I know them personally and it was hard to take,” Guimond said.

“Tuesday we had a healing ceremony for our students and staff … and one of the recurring things that came out was how social media — Facebook, you know — made things even worse by people reposting the video.”

The video shows a young woman lying bloodied on the ground and barely conscious as she is repeatedly kicked and punched in the head. It appears to have been taken on a cellphone. Female and male voices can be heard.

McKay is the woman being attacked in the video, Guimond said.

RCMP would only say the victim’s body was found Sunday night, near a home in Sagkeeng, about two hours after she was reported missing to the detachment in the neighbouring town of Powerview.

Counsellors were brought in this week to help students and staff at the school deal with the death. A vigil was planned for the community on Thursday evening.

Sagkeeng, a community of some 3,000 residents, was also the home of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg in 2014. She had left Sagkeeng just two months earlier. Her father, Eugene Fontaine, was beaten to death on the reserve three years earlier.

The small community has seen several other cases of missing and murdered indigenous women, including 17-year-old Fonessa Bruyere, who was killed in Winnipeg in 2007.

Guimond said gang activity and drug use have encroached on the community from the city.

“Over the last 10 years, what I’ve noticed is that more and more of the gang influence is filtering on to the reserve from Winnipeg,” Guimond said.

“With gang activity comes drug trafficking and stuff like that, and that’s what’s killing our youth here.”

Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson said everyone is trying to come to terms with the latest death.

“It’s been tragic and it’s pretty sombre right now.”

By Steve Lambert in Winnipeg

The Canadian Press


Video Linked to Serena McKay Homicide Needs to Be Pulled Off Facebook, Chief Says

The body of Serena McKay, 19, was found Sunday evening in Sagkeeng First Nation. Two teenage girls have been arrested and charged in her death. (Del Daniels/Facebook)

2 teenage girls from Sagkeeng First Nation charged with 2nd-degree murder in McKay’s death

CBC News Posted: Apr 26, 2017

The chief of Manitoba’s Sagkeeng First Nation wants the video of a vicious attack on a young woman — some say the same woman later found dead in the community — pulled off Facebook.

The body of the woman believed to be the victim in the video, 19-year-old Serena McKay, was found Sunday night near a home in the community 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

The video is disturbing and its continued existence is extremely difficult for McKay’s mom, who hasn’t even seen her daughter’s body yet, said Chief Derrick Henderson.

Serena McKay

“I know the mom personally. It’s very hard for her,” he said, adding he hopes she will see her daughter on Wednesday and then funeral arrangements will be made.

“Today’s going to be a tough day for her,” he said.

Two teenage girls from the community have been charged with second-degree murder in McKay’s death. The girls, aged 16 and 17, cannot be identified due to provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Both are being held in custody.

​All three went to Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School, but McKay lived in the neighbouring community of Powerview-Pine Falls.

The video, which has been shared many times on Facebook, shows a girl being beaten but doesn’t clearly identify anyone.

“I’ve asked Facebook and I’ve asked the major crimes unit to get that video removed, whatever it takes,” Henderson said. “I mean that’s part of the investigation again, right? It’s evidence.

“It’s pretty hard once it gets out there, I guess. But there must be some mechanism there available.”

RCMP are aware of the video, but a spokesperson would not confirm whether the person being attacked is McKay. Sgt. Paul Manaigre said officers are reviewing the video to determine if it is relevant to their investigation.

He also said the video is being passed around via Facebook Messenger, which means it cannot be controlled by Facebook but only by those sharing it.

Henderson hopes the homicide sparks a conversation that starts to bring changes to Sagkeeng.

​”It’s devastating for everybody. Even me, as a leader, it’s so hard to stomach, but we have to continue and move forward and try to make it a better place for our people,” he said.

“I’m not sure what the circumstances are of what happened but I know a lot of it can be related to lots of factors like addictions. I know that’s an issue in my community, it’s an issue everywhere, and we need to deal with those things.”

Henderson also wants to see parents held more accountable for keeping an eye on their children.

“They need to be more responsible towards their children: ‘Where are you? Why are you not home?’ Things like that,” he said. “Where’s the moms and dads?”

Henderson plans to speak about those issues at a vigil for McKay planned for Thursday at 6 p.m. in Sagkeeng.

McKay was last seen by a family friend on Saturday evening and was reported missing to Powerview RCMP on Sunday around 6 p.m.

As officers searched the area, they received a call two hours later — around 8 p.m. — that her body had been found.


Indigenous Woman Protests Poor Housing Conditions On First Nations

Alma Kakikepinace is camping outdoors on Sagkeeng First Nation on a hunger strike. She hopes band officials come through and provide her with adequate housing. (Supplied by Diane Maytwayashing)

Alma Kakikepinace is camping outdoors on Sagkeeng First Nation on a hunger strike. She hopes band officials come through and provide her with adequate housing. (Supplied by Diane Maytwayashing)

After years without water, Alma Kakikepinace camps out in Sagkeeng First Nation hunger strike

CBC News Posted: Sep 25, 201

“Until I die.”

That’s how long an Indigenous woman says she is committed to going without food while living out of a makeshift camp in protest of poor housing conditions on First Nations in Canada.

Alma Kakikepinace’s health isn’t in great shape. The 53-year-old lives with physical pain, muscle cramps and vision problems associated with diabetes, and yet she is determined to go hungry and live in chilly outdoor conditions on Sagkeeng First Nation to prove a point.

“She’s taking a stand. This isn’t tolerable,” her close friend Robert Peters said. “She’s not alone.”

Four years ago, Kakikepinace, who works as an addictions counsellor, moved to her ancestral First Nation of Sagkeeng, located about 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

In that time, she has lived “without water, without a toilet” in part of a trailer that was blown from its foundation by a tornado a few years ago and was never repaired, Peters said.

Alma Kakikepinace is camping outdoors on Sagkeeng First Nation on a hunger strike. She hopes band officials come through and provide her with adequate housing. (Supplied by Diane Maytwayashing)

Alma Kakikepinace’s friend Robert Peters said he and others have been doing what they can to make Alma warm and comfortable at the campsite. (Supplied by Diane Maytwayashing)

“It’s filled with black mold and she’s been getting sick and she can’t live in there anymore,” Peters said, adding Kakikepinace resorted to going to the bathroom in the woods these past four years.

“She’s been waiting for housing from the band, promised over and over that they would give her an adequate place to live.”

Kakikepinace’s demands seem simple enough: she just wants a dry, habitable place to live, Peters said.

“That’s all she’s asking for,” Peters said. She’s been promised for years the next available house will be hers, but it’s over and over and she’s at the end of her rope.”

Sunday marked the fifth day since Kakikepinace began her “survival campsite” hunger protest.

Temperatures in the community near the Winnipeg River are getting colder each fall day. Peters said he and others are trying to help Kakikepinace keep warm with fires outside her tent.

Peters said Kakikepinace’s case shows that housing issues on First Nations aren’t limited to remote, northern communities.

“This is 20 minutes from Victoria Beach, where people go to their high end cottages,” Peters said. “She hasn’t had running water in four years…. This isn’t the Canada that anyone signed up for.”

Peters said band officials have asked Kakikepinace to take down the camp and again promised to provide her with a home.

“Her response was, ‘I will believe that when I see that,'” Peters said. “This is a protest camp. They don’t like that. They don’t want to be responsible for that. She’s a very loving, incredibly generous person.

“She’s an addictions counsellor, she’s loved by many in the community, but because she’s not connected politically she has no influence on chief and council.”

Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Derrick Henderson told CBC News Sunday night that he last met with Kakikepinace on Friday and wasn’t aware of the hunger strike and camp out.