'Her loss affects all of us': Vigil for Savanna Greywind planned in Winnipeg

The death of a pregnant woman in North Dakota is prompting Winnipeggers to come together in her honour.

Savanna Greywind, 22, disappeared in North Dakota on Aug. 19 when she was 8-months pregnant

FILE - This undated file photo released by the Fargo Police Department shows Savanna Greywind, who disappeared and was last seen at her apartment in Fargo, N.D., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. Fargo Police Chief David Todd told a news conference Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, that the body of Greywind, who was eight months pregnant, was found in a river Sunday evening. (Fargo Police Department via AP, File) (Fargo Police Department/Associated Press)

The death of a pregnant woman in North Dakota is prompting Winnipeggers to come together in her honour.

Savanna Greywind was 22 years old and eight-months pregnant when she went missing on August 19. On Sunday, her body was pulled from the Red River near Fargo, N.D., wrapped in plastic and duct tape.

A man and woman were each charged with attempted murder in connection with her death. When they were arrested, they had a healthy baby with them they told police was Greywind's child. Police told The Associated Press they are doing DNA testing to be sure.

"I haven't been able to tear myself away from the story. It's just so tragic," said Jillian Wheeler, who has been following Greywind's story from Winnipeg.
Jillian Wheeler helped organize the vigil for Savanna Greywind to be held in Winnipeg on Wednesday evening. (Jillian Wheeler)

"I'm a mom and a Métis woman, so it hit me really hard. I kept thinking, you know, that could be any one of us."

Wheeler helped plan a vigil for Greywind at the request of Chickadee Richard, an elder in Manitoba. Wheeler said the vigil is to express condolences to Greywind's community and raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women on both sides of the border.

"This young woman, her loss affects all of us. I know the story has really reverberated around the world," she said.

"We also want to call attention to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and the plight that continues, and I think that it's not just limited to Manitoba, it's all around the world."

Community sharing

Speakers at the vigil include NDP MLAs Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas) and Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns) as well as a representative from Greywind's home community in North Dakota.

​Participants in the vigil are asked to bring dripless candles and may bring drums if they like, Wheeler said. The vigil begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Manitoba Legislature and is open to all.

"I just want people to realize that this is such an important issue and it affects all of us," Wheeler said.

"The event is open to everyone, regardless of your background, beliefs, cultural identity. We want this to be something that we can share together as a community and to raise awareness for all people."

If you want to get involved, you can learn more on the event's Facebook page.

With files from The Associated Press