** We do not use the name of the accused out of a commitment not to give the individual more notoriety.

Updated December 8, 2022—Police in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Thursday, December 2, announced murder charges in the deaths of three Indigenous women, Mercedes Myran, Morgan Harris and an unidentified woman whom community members have named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe or Buffalo Woman. The accused had previously been charged in May for the death of an Indigenous woman, Rebecca Contois. We also know that when the accused was originally arrested, there was mention of hate as a motivating factor. According to news reports, his social media posts espoused white supremacism and misogyny, and he identified himself as a member of a far-right group that, according to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), “demands the re-Christianization of Europe and its colonies.”

The violence and the beliefs the accused espoused did not suddenly appear. And so, as we hold up in prayer the families, friends and communities of the four women murdered in Winnipeg, we must also lift up the need to address and end the violence that targeted them. As we pray for comfort and healing for all who need it in the wake of these deaths, we must work to end the racism and hate that put Indigenous people, and especially Indigenous women, at increased risk. We lift up again the “Calls for Justice issued by the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This violence must not only be mourned but it must also be ended.

The church will send letters of condolence and support to the offices of the Indigenous communities the women were from. Meanwhile, we encourage people to re-examine the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls . On the Social Action Hub, there is also a download link to a study guide on the final report of the National Inquiry, co-authored by members of the National Indigenous Ministry Council and Justice Ministries.

Creator, healing God,
We lift up the families and communities of the four women killed recently in Winnipeg.
We know they are only the latest such deaths,
And so we lift up too those who were already mourning Indigenous loved ones,
for whom this news brings fresh grief
As well as those seeking answers for Indigenous family members or friends who are still missing.
We pray for comfort and healing for all who are grieving
And for the safety of those who continue to be at an increased risk of racist and gender-based violence.

Your word teaches us your love, and we hear your prophets crying
that love and justice flow together.
As we pray for healing and comfort,
lead us in also working to end this violence.

We pray in your name,