Homicide victim remembered Tuesday; More calls to better protect Indigenous women and girls

The Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) is offering condolences to the family of a woman who was killed over the weekend, the same day a vigil was held to remember her.

Tessa Perry, 31, died in hospital after being found injured in the 100 block of Marlow Court on the evening of May 28.

“On behalf of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, I send condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the late Tessa Perry,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee in a news release.

“It is clear Tessa had many friends who loved her. She had a big smile and was loved by all who knew her.”

Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, the chair of the National Family and Survivors Circle who is also related to Perry, said Perry was a mother of four, whose life centered on her kids.

“She was really committed to creating a pathway for her children that could really build a promising future for them,” said Anderson-Pyrz at a vigil Tuesday evening.

“She had a bright shining light. Everybody loved her. She was gentle, she was kind, she was loving. Her smile was infectious.”

Around 100 people showed up to the vigil, with Anderson-Pyrz saying it shows how loved Perry was.

She, along with the MKO, also reiterated more needs to be done to protect Indigenous women and girls, noting this is the third homicide involving Indigenous women in Winnipeg over the last three weeks.

“It is really difficult to find the words to describe what is happening here in Winnipeg … It is very heartbreaking to the community and very devastating to the families that are impacted in it,” said Anderson-Pyrz.

Settee said so many people are emotional over the violence that has been happening.

“These women were sacred and loved. Women are the life givers of our communities. We are seeing an increase in deadly violence impacting First Nations women in the City of Winnipeg. As the MKO Grand Chief, I thank all those who are taking steps to create societal change to speak out against and end gender-based violence. It is clear we have much (more) work to do in this area,” said Settee.

Winnipeg police arrested and charged 29-year-old Justin Alfred Robinson with second-degree murder.

The charges against him have not been proven in court and he remains in custody.

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