Say the names, remember them

For Anishinaabe people, funerals take four days.

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For Anishinaabe people, funerals take four days.

During that time, it is said the spirit of the person who has died leaves their body to visit everyone they have ever cared for, watching to see how they are remembered.

On the fourth day, final instructions are given before the body is placed in the earth. The spirit is told, at that time, to travel to the west, where our ancestors live and where they will rest and be loved and cared for.

The spirit is also told not to worry about those they will leave behind.

Morgan Harris (Twitter)

This is why Anishinaabeg are told not to say their relative’s name for four days. It will distract their spirit from their journey and call them back to this place.

For those whose lives are ended abruptly, these final instructions are not often given. As a result, these spirits continue to be here, visiting their relatives to see how they are remembered.

This is why we must know the names of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. This is also why we must think of them, speak about their importance, and tell them how much they are loved.

This is also why — as we learn this week about another three slain Indigenous women in Winnipeg — we must speak their names. They are watching.

So, say the names of your relatives. Never forget them.

Morgan Beatrice Harris, 39, from Long Plain First Nation.

Marcedes Myran, 26, from Long Plain.

Marcedes Myran (Facebook)

Rebecca Contois, 24, from O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation.

Heaven Traverse, 2, from Fisher River Cree Nation.

Tammy Nattaway, 16, from Garden Hill First Nation.

Marjorie Henderson, 52, from Sagkeeng First Nation.

Cherisse Diane Marie Houle, 17, from Ebb and Flow First Nation.

Ila Oman, 43, from Sayisi Dene First Nation.

Amanda Cook, 14, from Waywayseecappo First Nation.

Jamie McGuire, 20, from Gull Bay First Nation.

Rebecca Contois (Supplied)

Cheryl Duck, 15, from Bloodvein First Nation.

Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, from Sagkeeng.

Jennifer Catcheway, 18, from Skownan First Nation.

Kathleen Leary, 66, from Norway House Cree Nation.

Christina Littlejohn, 27, from Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation.

Krystal Andrews, 22, from God’s Lake First Nation.

Amanda Sophia Bartlett, 17, from Pimicikamak Cree Nation.

Leah Anderson, 15, from God’s Lake.

Claudette Priscilla June Osborne-Tyo, 21, from Norway House.

Jennifer Catcheway (RCMP handout)

Lori Berens, 20, from Winnipeg.

Amber Rose Marie Guiboche, 20, from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation.

Marie Edith Banks, 18, from Winnipeg.

Constance Lynne Cameron, 20, from Fisher River.

Marilyn Rose Daniels, 17, from Sagkeeng.

Marcia Viola Koostachin, 24, from Shamattawa First Nation.

Marilyn Rose Munroe, 41, from Sachigo Lake First Nation.

Krystal Andrews (Supplied)

Crystal Shannon Saunders, 24, from Winnipeg.

Mary Lisa Smith, 25, from Selkirk.

Angela Poorman, 29, from Kawacatoose First Nation.

Mildred Flett, 51, from Tataskweyak Cree Nation.

Cynthia Albena Audy, 27, from Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation.

Moira Erb, 36, from Sagkeeng.

Lorlene Bone, 31, from Sapotaweyak.

Flora Muskego, 22, from Norway House.

Diana Rattlesnake, 49, from Waywayseecappo.

Nancy Dumas, 78, from Marcel Colomb First Nation.

Nicole Daniels, 16, from Sagkeeng.

Audrey Desjarlais, 52, from Saddle Lake Cree Nation.

Nicolle Katherina Hands, 32, from Lac Seul First Nation.

Diana Bignell, 60, from Thompson.

Tina Fontaine (Handout)

Rocelyn Gabriel, 20, from Skownan.

Hillary Angel Wilson, 18, from Norway House.

Shirley Beardy, 23, from Misipawistik Cree Nation.

Elizabeth Dorion, 44, from Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Simone Sanderson, 23, from O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi.

Bernice Bottle, 36, from Lac Seul.

Sunshine Wood, 16, from Manto Sipi Cree Nation.

Emily Ballantyne, 24, from Northlands Denesuline First Nation.

Sylvia Ann Guiboche, 20, from Sapotawayak.

Barbara Keam, 21, from Norway House.

Tania Marsden, 18, from Pinaymootang First Nation.

Evelyn Kebalo, 55, from Winnipeg.

Tanya Nepinak, 31, from Pine Creek First Nation.

Teresa Robinson, 11, from Garden Hill.

Melissa Ivy Chaboyer, 35, from Thompson.

Therena Adelin Marsland, 35, from Squamish Nation.

Felicia Velvet Solomon, 16, from Norway House.

Tiffany Skye, 19, from Bloodvein.

Fonassa Lynn Louise Bruyere, 17, from Sagkeeng.

Betsy Owens, 15, from Pauingassi First Nation.

Frances May Ellah, 59, from Sagkeeng.

Brenda Campbell, 51, from Camperville.

Geraldine Ann Lewis Beardy, 29, from Garden Hill.

Victoria Jean Hornbrook, age unknown, from Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation.

Annie Yassie, 13, from Sayisi Dene.

Geraldine Settee, 11, from Matheson Island.

Cathy Lynn Williams, 21, from St. Andrews.

Glenda Morrisseau, 19, from Sagkeeng.

Helen Betty Osborne, 19, from Norway House.

Tina Fontaine, 15, from Sagkeeng.

There are more, many of whom are unnamed. They must be remembered, too.

Say the names.

Say the names of the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls of this place.

Say the names of your relations.

Niigaan Sinclair

Niigaan Sinclair

Niigaan Sinclair is Anishinaabe and is a columnist at the Winnipeg Free Press.


Updated on Saturday, December 3, 2022 4:25 PM CST: Nadya

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