Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/1/2016 (1867 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
With one niece missing and two others charged with homicide, Sue Caribou laid bare her family's trauma Friday, disclosing violent deaths, slayings and unsolved disappearances of the kind Canada's national inquiry for missing and murdered women will someday chronicle.
The normally composed Caribou, 50 a widowed mother of six and grandmother of 10, is known for her matter-of-fact delivery.
She's spoken extensively about the physical, sexual and emotional abuse she endured as a residential school survivor. She's acted as family spokeswoman for her niece, Tanya Nepinak, 31, who disappeared in 2011. Nepinak's body has never been found, and charges of second-degree murder against convicted killer Shawn Lamb were stayed.
A national inquiry for Canada's 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women, among Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's major campaign promises, will be launched later this year, following a cross-country tour about to get underway with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. She will be in Winnipeg Feb. 8 to meet with families, including Caribou.
Caribou wept at a news conference at the offices of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs for the Family First Foundation, a support group for families of the missing and murdered.
Her lips were a shade of blue, an ominous sign of her ailing heart, which has already had two attacks.
"My sister couldn't make it. She's very traumatized by what has happened to her daughters," Caribou said in her first words.
It took the next hour for Caribou to lay out her family's intergenerational cycle of trauma, repeated calls for counselling to stave off further tragedy, including signs of trouble among her two nieces long before they were arrested for this week's homicide on William Avenue.
On Wednesday, Caribou's nieces, younger sisters of Tanya, were charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder, in the city's first homicide of 2016. Candice Nepinak, 31, and Vanessa Nepinak, 35, were arrested when Cynthia French, 35, died after being stabbed with scissors early Tuesday evening.
French's sister is recovering after being stabbed following the attack in a rooming house.
"I am so sorry for the loss in the French family. I can't imagine what they are going through. I'm sorry for both families," Caribou said.
The French and Nepinak sisters had a long, tumultuous history and had known each other since they were teenagers, Caribou said.
Caribou said she has repeatedly called on elders and counsellors to help the family since Tanya's disappearance in 2011.
Tragic coincidences left the family frustrated and angry with officials; a search of the Brady landfill for Tanya's body, for instance, was called off the same day as Tanya's birthday.
"I keep saying my family is very traumatized by all the deaths and the women who have gone missing or been murdered, and it's been going on since 1972," Caribou said.
Brief periods of counselling and help from elders over the years have fallen short of the intensive therapy the family needs, she said.
"Nobody will help until something drastic happens, and then it's too late," Caribou said.
"There's a cycle of murder, missing people, violence and alcohol abuse in my family."