Vigil for homicide victim calls attention to violence against Indigenous women in Winnipeg

There were tears and hugs as people circled around to offer condolences to the family of 25-year-old Doris Trout, who was killed in a homicide last week in Winnipeg’s Central Park neighbourhood.

About 40 people attended the vigil, right outside the building where Trout’s remains were found. The Cree woman from Gods Lake Narrows First Nation had been missing for more than a month when her body was discovered early last Thursday morning, in a common area of an apartment complex at the corner of Kennedy Street and Ellice Avenue. 

A number of Trout’s relatives were at the vigil, including her three children. Several cousins, too grief-stricken to speak to media, described Trout as a bubbly, outgoing person with a great sense of humour, who will be greatly missed.

One person close to Trout said she remembers her fondly, but had to keep her identity private since she’s staying in a shelter for fear for her own safety, after receiving threats. She said her own daughter, who’s the same age as the victim, has been missing for months.

“Too many Indigenous women are dying,” she said, as tears welled up in her eyes. 

Friends and family of Doris Trout gathered with community members for a vigil after the 25-year-old died last week of a homicide. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The vigil was organized by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Unit. MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said the pattern of violence against Indigenous women has to stop.

“I just cannot fathom how this can continue,” said Settee, as he looked down with a sorrowful expression in his eyes. 

“It’s just unbelievable that we have to stand here and mourn the loss of another one of our women, and especially from our north. It’s just too sad.”

About 40 people offered condolences to loved ones of Doris Trout, who was killed in a homicide in Winnipeg’s Central Park neighbourhood. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Settee said not enough is being done to prevent this devastating violence, despite the recommendations of Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“It gives us a sense of despair, knowing that we do our utmost to bring awareness to the issue,” he said. “We need to sit down once more and say, ‘What is wrong with our society?’ Because there’s definitely something wrong and we need to fix it.”

MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said all levels of government need to take action against the crisis of violence towards Indigenous women and girls. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

MKO’s MMIWG liaison director Heidi Spence said Trout’s death has many community members worried about their safety. News of the homicide came less than two weeks after another young Indigenous woman, 24-year-old Rebecca Contois, was found brutally murdered in North Kildonan.

“The frequency of the violence that’s happening is very concerning for a lot of people,” said Spence. “There’s worry that it’s dangerous to walk around and go about your day. And it’s not just in certain parts of the city, it’s everywhere.”

MKO’s MMIWG liaison director Heidi Spence said members of Winnipeg’s Indigenous community are concerned for their safety following Trout’s homicide, less than two weeks after the violent killing of 24-year-old Rebecca Contois. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

She said young people from remote communities can be especially vulnerable when they start out in a big city.

“If you’re not familiar with a large urban area like Winnipeg, there could be risks for visitors and newcomers,” said Spence. “They’re used to having a small community.”

Trauma counsellors also attended the vigil, to help anyone grappling with difficult emotions. 

People who knew Doris trout remember her as an outgoing person with a great sense of humour. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

MKO says it plans to visit Gods Lake First Nation in northern Manitoba to offer their sympathies and support to Trout’s loved ones back home.

Winnipeg police are looking for two women they describe as persons of interest in the homicide case. Anyone with information is asked to contact call the Homicide Unit at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

Mourners gather in Winnipeg to honour Doris Trout

7 hours ago

Duration 2:02

People came together Wednesday afternoon outside the apartment building where the body of Doris Trout, 25, was found last week. Police say the death was a homicide and are seeking two persons of interest in the investigation.