THREE demonstrations in Winnipeg Monday expressed anger over Shawn Lamb's plea bargain for the slayings of two aboriginal women.
The morning, noon and night events saw indigenous activists picket downtown in the morning rush hour, stage a round dance outside the Law Courts at noon and march to the legislature for a candlelight vigil Monday night.
The family of Tanya Nepinak was among the 60 people who took part in the round dance.
Last week, Lamb was given a 20-year sentence for his role in the deaths of Lorna Blacksmith and Caroline Sinclair. He faced second-degree murder charges in connection with their deaths as well as the case of Tanya Nepinak, 31, who disappeared in September 2011. Her remains have not been found.
In a controversial plea bargain last week, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter for the deaths of Sinclair and Blacksmith. There was no mention of second-degree murder charges at the hearing in the Nepinak case.
"They didn't pay for my daughter; why didn't they do that?" Tanya's mother, Joyce Nepinak, said, referring to a deal that saw Lamb offer confessions his lawyer suggested were made in return for $1,500 police deposited at the Winnipeg Remand Centre canteen for snacks and pop.
The family said they feel left out because no one from the justice system has been in touch to tell them what to expect.
"There's no closure for our family," Tanya's aunt, Sue Caribou, said.
The noon-hour event drew one of the country's national leaders in the movement to draw attention to some 500 missing and murdered women.
British Columbia indigenous justice advocate Gladys Radek co-founded Tears 4 Justice, for the B.C. Highway of Tears where she says 44 aboriginal women have been slain or gone missing in the last 40 years. She said the offenders are treated better, even if they are behind bars, than the vulnerable women on the streets who are their prey.
"They get a roof over their heads, they get three meals a day, TV, computer access, security. That's what we need, security for our women. This society, taxpayers are paying for the protection of these perpetrators and that's what our women should get," she said.
Lamb's next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.