Family says homicide victim tried to get help
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/09/2019 (1170 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The family of Norma Andrews called Wednesday for institutional changes to prevent other women from meeting the fate of the woman killed in the city’s most recent homicide.
“Our hearts are broken,” said Andrews’ stepmother Amber Scott, struggling to express her grief as she addressed the media in downtown Winnipeg. “We never imagined anything like this would happen.”
Andrews was found dead Saturday afternoon in a Balmoral Street house, becoming the 29th victim of homicide in Winnipeg so far this year, and the third woman from Manto Sipi Cree Nation killed in a two-month span. The 28-year-old mother of three did not live at the house on Balmoral.
Her family said she’d been concerned for her safety in a different rooming house, where people had climbed through her windows and kicked down her doors in recent months. Andrews had sought help numerous times — asking for increased protections, seeking refuge from domestic violence, income assistance, help from her landlord — but ultimately, she did not have the support she needed, Scott said.
“I just don’t want anything else to happen to anyone else like this,” said Norma’s father, Larry Andrews.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee, who was out of town Wednesday, released a statement prior to the media availability calling on provincial and federal leaders to take seriously the 231 recommendations, dubbed the calls for justice, from the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).
“Norma’s life was sacred” he said. “I call on the federal and provincial governments to take action (on the 231 calls). Our hearts are heavy from so many losses. We cannot wait for election promises. We need action now. The lives of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people matter.”
The inquiry’s final report stated the 231 calls “are legal imperatives — they are not optional.”
Since the report was released, the manager of the MKO’s MMIWG liaison unit said there has been nowhere near enough attention paid by governments, service providers and other stakeholders to the conclusions.
“We’ve had our national inquiry and we’ve heard nothing from the provincial or federal governments since June 3, and we just lost another woman who was valued and loved by her community,” said Hilda Anderson-Pyrz.
“We’re tired, we’re exhausted, and we need those supports and resources in place. We’re waiting. How much longer can we wait? How many more lives have to be lost before there is action?,” she added, bemoaning a “lack of political will to protect Indigenous women and girls.”
Andrews’ family, and the entire community of God’s River First Nation has been deeply shaken by the loss of the woman known as “Bambi,” said John Ross, one of the community’s councillors. Coun. Ross said his community has lost three women to violence in the last two months, with two in Winnipeg and one in the community itself.
Anderson-Pyrz, who fielded questions on behalf of the family, said that every nation feels the loss when a woman or girl dies or goes missing in an urban area.
Police are still investigating the homicide, and have yet to release any details about Andrews’ death aside from her name and age, but her family is optimistic those responsible will be arrested.
“Our hope is that there will be justice for Norma, and that her killers be brought to justice,” Scott said.
A memorial service for Andrews will be held Thursday at 7 p.m., at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Church at 548 Home St., for friends or family who want to pay respects. Andrews’ body is scheduled to be returned the next day to God’s River, where a funeral will be held, Ross said.
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.
Updated on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 5:58 PM CDT: edits copy