In Winnipeg, Indigenous women keep ending up in the garbage.
This is not meant as a crude joke, but as a statement regarding a grim reality that has been unfolding over the passed year.
The Murders & The Recent Case of Linda Beardy
All of these women have been confirmed to be Indigenous with Buffalo Woman being the only possible outlier.
The sordid tale on May 16, 2022, when Winnipeg police discovered Contois’ partial remains in a garbage bin outside of an apartment in northern Winnipeg. Around the same time, the other women were also believed to have been killed, and Skibicki was arrested by police as a potential suspect. An ensuing search discovered more of Contois’ remains in Winnipeg’s large Brady Landfill in late June 2022 and since then the Winnipeg police as well as various community groups have been searching for the remains of the women which are suspected of being buried in other landfills.
Nearly a year later, on April 4th, 2023, the body of Linda Beardy was discovered at the Brady Landfill, and the discovery seemed to fit the aforementioned pattern: a young Indigenous woman’s dead body has ended up in the landfill.
Interested groups connected Beardy’s death to Skibicki’s four other victims (despite Skibicki being detained for nearly a year), and those victims’ families renewed calls for the landfills to be searched for their loved ones’ remains.
Unlike other cases, however, the Winnipeg police quickly announced that Beardy’s death was not being treated as a homicide. The reason being that they obtained surveillance video footage showing Beardy climbing into a commercial garbage container which was then picked up by a garbage truck only hours before her body was discovered at the Brady dump. It is suggested that she either died in the garbage bin or was killed in the garbage truck.
Despite no foul play being suspected by the police, the family is calling for an independent investigation. In the meantime, a toxicology report is being conducted.
An Olive Branch
Before I go further, I will offer an olive branch.
I do empathise with the families of these poor women. If it were my mother, sister, auntie, or cousin who had fallen prey to a murderer only to then have her body dumped under tonnes of stinking, rotting refuse in a landfill, I’d be filled with such a rage, such indignation, that I’d want to move heaven and earth to ensure that she’d be found and given a dignified and proper burial. Any alternative would be unacceptable. So, I sympathise with the anger, disbelief, and despair.
Additionally, within the larger context of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Report and the purported ongoing ‘race-based genocide’ against Indigenous women, as well as the reporting of ‘mass graves’ of Indigenous children, it is understandable that Indigenous peoples – but especially the loved ones of these victims – feel insult upon insult being piled upon their injuries.
That said, there is a reality that we have to contend with and telling the truth about that reality is imperative.
Serial Killer Scape Goat?
When I first heard this being reported in June 2022, I was struck with a thought: Skibicki, whether guilty or not, is going to be used as an avatar for murderous European colonialism in Canada. He provided our present anti-White regime with all the right ingredients for their narrative slop: an angry, violent, racist, misogynistic White man who targets Indigenous women. A racist serial killer! The perfect perpetrator.
That suspicion did not go unsatisfied for there is always someone I know that I can count on in such cases: Niigaan Sinclair.
Niigaan is an Anishinaabe Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, and the son of Murray Sinclair, a retired judge, senator, and former chairman of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2009 to 2015. Unlike his father, Sinclair the Younger is somewhat fierier in his personality and can be rather petulant. He is, however, reliably anti-White in his political rhetoric.
Indigenous women are being targeted by men. While some perpetrators are Indigenous men, the worst and most extensive examples of violence are committed by non-Indigenous men. There are too many examples of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls to call it a coincidence. It is clearly systemic, because it happens time and time and time again.
Right off the bat, we see Niigaan engaging in some remarkable dishonesty. Not only has he conflated the so-called ‘worst and most extensive’ examples of violence against Indigenous women with the phenomenon of such violence, but he is also obscuring the data the constitutes the phenomenon.
- The average homicide rate involving Indigenous victims is six times higher than the homicide rate involving non-Indigenous victims;
- Nearly half of Indigenous women who were murdered between 2015-2020 were killed by an intimate partner;
- 35% of rural homicides occurred on Indigenous owned/managed territory;
- Indigenous women are less likely than non-Indigenous women to be killed by a stranger; and,
- Homicides involving Indigenous victims from 2015 to 2020 were more likely to have been cleared (solved) than homicides involving non-Indigenous victims because of communal familiarity with the perpetrator.
These facts paint a picture of insular Indigenous crime, not of an onslaught from heterogenous racial groups.
In addition, there is the oft-cited statistic that 70% of Indigenous women and girls who were murdered between 1980 and 2012 were killed by Indigenous men. This statistic is complicated and . It is made complicated because of reporting methodology, and it is controversial because of how it puts a stick in the spokes of the Indigenous grievance industry.
By way of background, in March 2015, the minister of Aboriginal Affairs at the time asserted that Indigenous men were responsible for 70% of murders of Indigenous women and girls. In April, a month later, the RCMP commissioner confirmed that same 70% statistic.
These statements were dismissed as ‘, and the statistic was also minimised by various Indigenous stakeholders who stated that the statistic was irrelevant because it is approximately the same across all ethnicities. (This is because most violent crime occurs intra-racially). Additionally, the RCMP was criticized for going against its reporting of releasing the ‘ethnicity of [t]he perpetrators of solved aboriginal female homicides’.
Yes. That is correct. The RCMP does not disclose the ethnic identities of criminals involved in homicides of Indigenous women – though they track it. The very issue of ‘who’ is killing Indigenous women is being deliberately obscured.
In fact, there is no clear statistical data, in Canada, on what percentage of Indigenous women are killed by Indigenous men. Instead, we (the public) must cobble together conclusions from scattered pieces of data which all end up beingconsistent with the broader trend that most victims of violent crime are victimised by someone they know or are in a relationship with, regardless of their cultural identity.
This finding wouldn’t be so controversial if it didn’t explode the narrative of an on-going ‘race-based genocide against Indigenous women and girls.’ So, it must be ignored, covered up, and not spoken of. And if it is to be spoken of, it can only be done so in derisive terms. One cannot attempt to falsify the finding because to do so would only expose the data points that end up proving the very point that is to be discredited.
However, the aforementioned data points all come together to paint a picture of Indigenous women being victimised by Indigenous men, and people like Niigaan have the gall to blame White men for such crimes and failings.
In fact, in further opining on the Skibicki murders Niigaan writes:
One thing that hasn’t been talked about was [Skibicki] supported residential school denialism online.
Skibicki’s postings included statements and other material denying the existence of unmarked graves of children at residential schools and others arguing that survivors’ stories were lies… Jeremy Skibicki may have acted alone when he allegedly murdered Indigenous women, but he spent years being conditioned, encouraged and enabled to believe Indigenous people lie about the violence they experience and something must be done to silence them….
They, in part, are responsible for the violence against Indigenous people.
This is incredible.
I wrote articles on the follies of the MMIWG Report, , and of the graves at the Kamloops Residential schools, , and I had no idea they could have had any role to play in the murder and desecration of these innocent women. I don’t know about you, Dear Reader, but I will not be spoken to in that tone of voice – and neither should you.
That said, I think that there is a multi-faceted approach that should be taken.
Charity, Suspicion & Refusal
As I stated previously, I suspected that there would be a not-insignificant number of people who’d state that the police are lying about Beardy’s death. Such people are likely not open to being convinced otherwise.
In the case of the families, I cannot blame them. They’re grieving the loss of a beloved daughter, mother, sister – and that grief may be made all the more intense because of the possibility that she died an undignified death resulting from her own decisions.
As horrible as a murder is, there is almost a fatalism to it. When compared to a suicide, for instance, wherein those who are left behind are cursed to ask the tortured questions such as ‘what could I have done differently?’ or ‘If only I had been a better friend/son/father then…’, a murder leaves a totally different set of scars.
I cannot help but think that some of the outward expressions of anger are attempts at inverting one’s own sense of loss and shame and turning that into another’s sense of blame.
Though this armchair psychologising at a distance mustn’t be prioritised, I think one ought to keep it in the back of one’s mind when dealing with others. This is a call for a certain amount of charity to accompany our suspicion – though we ought to exercise judgement here. In the case of Niigaan Sinclair, however, I cannot muster up much charity.
The details shared by Winnipeg’s top police officer about a human being clearly in distress alongside his remark that the “toxicology report is still pending” can only be described as inhumane…
Beardy was a mother who, in the middle of the day on a weekday in our city, died under horrible, unnecessary and tragic circumstances.
That’s on all of us. We are all a part of each other’s lives in this place.
We all had a role to play in Beardy’s death…
Linda Beardy might have not been murdered by an individual, but she was definitely killed by a city full of policies and systems that railroaded her to a refuse bin on a weekday morning.
Niigaan isn’t even attempting to grapple with the reality, here. Instead, Beardy’s agency is dropped out of the scene, as if by a trap door, and we’re left grappling for the only explanation deemed acceptable for the maintenance of Indigenous dignity: White racism.
The ‘we’ Niigaan is referring to is what I’ll call ‘Big Whitey’ – the symbolic order of our European civilisation that, in Niigaan’s estimation, is the primum mobile, the uncaused cause, for Indigenous plight (and all other non-Whites for that matter). That is why Niigaan also thinks that calls for the toxicology report are ‘inhumane’, since a positive toxicology report would place causality, if not blame, for Beardy’s death on something other that Big Whitey.
But notice how Niigaan calls Beardy’s death ‘horrible, unnecessary and tragic’ but not ‘inexplicable’. He likely has the same suspicions that we have about Beardy’s death: that she was intoxicated and died an undignified death by her own hand. Niigaan cannot bear to have such facts corroborated. The inhumanity would be too much. As such, he pleads for us to invert our truth-seeking in favour of hopeful lies that pit an innocent virtuous Indigenous mother against a cold and brutal racist system that ‘we’ uphold.
To my mind, Niigaan deceptively over-eggs the pudding and forgoes a modest sociological analysis in favour of engendering White guilt. The modest analysis is as follows: the initial tragedy of the four alleged murder cases was that the victims were members of a population that often brushes up against law enforcement which, in turn, becomes accustomed to the behaviours, maladies, pathologies, and tragedies of this population. As such, stereotypical behaviours accrue, heuristics are developed, and moral and rational shortcuts are taken when dealing with individual as members of groups instead of sifting through the plausibly valuable minutiae of an individual’s circumstances. More specifically, these women were members of a group whose women disproportionately go missing, and whose men typically murder their women. As such, the cops wouldn’t have the impetus to expect a racist White serial killer. (Assuming that Skibicki is guilty).
Niigaan and his fellow travelers are insistent that Whites be ‘humane’ in our dealings with these sorts of cases, but they’re also requesting that we also ignore certain facts or preclude certain truth-seeking practices to get at those facts – all in the service of preserving their self-serving narrative. In doing so, they dehumanise Whites by implicitly suggesting that Whites are apathetic and incapable of empathising with the loss of a loved one under such brutal conditions unless otherwise directed to by enlightened Indigenous voices. So much for ‘Truth and Reconciliation’.
The MMIWG Report skewed the numbers by including men in the category of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls under the umbrella terms of ‘trans’ and ‘two-spirited’ victims. Now, in the Beardy case, she is being used as of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls when she is, in fact, neither missing nor murdered. (Though the investigation is ongoing).
What these people are doing is asking that we (Big Whitey) go on trial, be judged, and accept their condemnation without the opportunity to provide exculpatory evidence. It’s a Machiavellian power play being executed by people who sense that they can get the upper hand whilst their opponent is weak.
The only person on trial here is Skibicki, and even if he is guilty; even if Niigaan was entirely correct, that still wouldn’t justify me or anyone else throwing my people, our people, collectively, under the bus.
What we should do in response is speak truth to these people, as well as present a robust non serviam.