For the first time in five years, Christine Brousseau can look out her window and heal.
She lives in the same apartment building Talia Meguinis did. Meguinis was killed on Feb. 20, 2012, her body was stuffed into a dumpster in the alley behind her apartment.
Brousseau and a group of 15 people came to that alley in Riverside Meadows on Sunday to honour Meguinis.
A red dress was hung on the tree top of the dumpster along with an eagle feather. Attendees tied red ribbons around the tree.
The red symbols stem from the missing and murdered indigenous women and are part of a campaign to draw attention to the violent crimes committed against aboriginal women. Many members of the Red Feather Woman, a social justice group, attended.
The morning Meguinis was put into the dumpster, Brousseau was waiting for a taxi. She noticed a pair of stilettos sitting on top of the bin.
Brousseau, thinking it was strange, thought she should look in the garbage bin. But before she could open it up, the taxi arrived and she left. On Feb. 22, 2012, Meguinis’ body was discovered on a conveyor belt at a Red Deer recycling facility.
“It’s what prompted me to get this memorial going,” said Brousseau. “Since 2012 I’ve looked out the window every morning and thought about Talia. She was a mother of two kids, I’m a mother too.”
The ceremony featured songs sung in Meguinis’ honour, smudging and kind words said by those in attendance about her and a reminder that aboriginal women are disproportionately the victims of violence in Canada.
“In life and in death, everybody deserves to be honoured,” said Andrea Lacoursiere, a member of the Red Feather Woman. “As good as this feels, it’s exhausting because we know it’s not going to be the last one we come together for.
“Coming together like this is healing. Recognizing life and being able to memorialize her.”
Nathan Desharnais, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February, almost five years after Meguinis’ death. He was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for at least 13 years.