September 1, 2015


Local

About 300 mourners turn out for Tina Fontaine's funeral in Sagkeeng First Nation

A large number of mourners turn out for Tina Fontaine's funeral at a church in Sagkeeng First Nation, about 90 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

GORDON SINCLAIR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

A large number of mourners turn out for Tina Fontaine's funeral at a church in Sagkeeng First Nation, about 90 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. Photo Store

About 300 friends, family and community members gathered today at a church in the Sagkeeng First Nation to remember Tina Fontaine, a teen from the small community whose death has become a rallying point for those calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

The sky opened up and sent rain down on the First Nations community, some 90 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, as the service began at 2 p.m.

St. Alexander Roman Catholic Church in Sagkeeng, where the funeral took place.

GORDON SINCLAIR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

St. Alexander Roman Catholic Church in Sagkeeng, where the funeral took place. Photo Store

Mourners arrive at Fontaine's funeral.

GORDON SINCLAIR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mourners arrive at Fontaine's funeral. Photo Store

As the community grieved together, they shared stories about young Tina, who had run away from foster care to Winnipeg in early August.

Brittney Sanderson held her two-month-old son, Tyrone Guimond. Tyrone was born the day after Sanderson last saw Tina on June 27. She had asked Tina to be Tyrone's godmother.

Although Tina never met Tyrone, she will still be his godmother, she said.

Tina's body will be taken back to Winnipeg today to be cremated, then her ashes will be buried in an urn lain on top of her father's casket in Sagkeeng.

Tina's father was murdered three years ago and Tina is said to have had difficulty grieving his death, according to family members.

When she ran away to Winnipeg to find her biological mother, Tina lost touch with her dad's family in Sagkeeng.

As per family tradition, her brother, Dillon St. Paul, cut off his long braided hair during the funeral, to lay his braid to rest with Tina.

The funeral attendees will feast together and then send their leftovers to Tina's grandparents home. Tina lived much of her life with her great-aunt and uncle Thelma and Joseph Favel.

The leftovers from the feast will be burned in a fire that's been burning for Four days in honour of Tina. The leftovers will help feed her spirit, said one of Tina's aunts.

Emotions ran high at St. Alexander Roman Catholic Church, where after the service an argument broke out in the parking lot between relatives of Fontaine's birth father and her birth mother. The birth father's family accused Tina Duck, the birth mother, of not looking after Fontaine.

"I wasn't there for 10 years," Duck acknowledged to reporters, but added she paid for T-shirts worn by some mourners showing Fontaine's smiling face.

Fontaine was in the care of Manitoba's Child and Family Services when she was reported missing on Aug. 9. Her body was found in a bag in the Red River a week later.

History

Updated on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 5:10 PM CDT: Write-through

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Scroll down to load more

Top