Wearing blankets with sayings such as “Just Another Dead Indian eh Canada?” and “No Reconciliation with No Justice,” Central Albertans walked in honour of Tina Fontaine and her family on Sunday in Red Deer.
Blankets for Tina, a silent march and prayer ceremony, showed support and solidarity for Fontaine and many other missing and murdered Indigenous people and their families.
In August 2014, Fontaine’s body was pulled out from Winnipeg’s Red River. The 15-year-old’s body was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks. Raymond Cormier was found not guilty last month of her murder. Since then, similar marches to honour her memory have taken place in other cities like Toronto and Fredericton.
Participants were encouraged to wear a blanket for the walk.
Andrea Lacoursiere, a member of Red Feather Women, the organization that hosted the march, said the blankets are representative of comfort – something she hopes Fontaine feels. About 60 people took part in the demonstration.
Merna Lambert, who lives outside of Sylvan Lake, came out to support Fontaine’s foster family who are also her relatives – Thelma Favel and Joseph Favel.
“I’m doing this for my cousin (Joseph) and for all Indigenous girls and women. We need to stand up and let the rest of Canada know that we care about our people,” said Lambert.
She wants all women in Canada to feel safe.
“Every woman has the right to walk down the street without being hurt by someone else. That’s just a Canadian right. It has nothing to do with colour or what race you are.”
Corky Larsen Jonasson, a Red Feather Women member, said the group will continue to host marches in Red Deer until the members see a change.
Larsen Jonasson remembers seeing recent media reports and a Red Deer march for Colten Boushie after Gerald Stanley, a Saskatchewan farmer, was acquitted of the murder of 22-year-old.
“I never thought I would see that level of racism and awful remarks but they came out,” she said, referring to Boushie’s case.
“Also what I did see though, was so many non-Indigenous people stand beside us like allies, and that’s a beautiful thing,” said Larsen Jonasson.