La Ronge, Sask. grieves 'kind' homeless woman Tracy Bird
RCMP believe death is not suspicious
A homeless woman found dead in La Ronge Saturday morning is being remembered as a kind person who stayed positive despite living a hard life.
Police found the body of Tracy Nicole Bird, 36, in a wooded area of the northern town.
RCMP and the coroner's office are investigating, although the death is not considered suspicious.
It seemed no matter how hard life was for her, she always had a smile for everyone she met.- Tammy Cook-Searson, chief of Lac La Ronge Indian Band
"Tracy liked to joke and had a unique laugh," Tammy Cook-Searson, chief of Lac La Ronge Indian Band, told CBC News.
Cook-Searson last saw Bird at the band office a day before she died, and says the woman was her usual friendly, happy self.
"It seemed no matter how hard life was for her, she always had a smile for everyone she met," Cook-Searson said.
Street outreach workers say Bird, who struggled with an alcohol addiction, may have died of exposure as temperatures dipped to –30 C. Bird also struggled with chronic health problems related to her addiction and decade-old burn injuries.
In 2006, Bird suffered burns to nearly half her body after a 12-year-old girl lit her on fire while she was sleeping.
Other children watched, then ran away when they heard her screaming. The girl was convicted of aggravated assault and required to apologize to Bird.
"I wouldn't want to walk in [Bird's] shoes, but she was never negative about life," said Adele Cook, an outreach worker with the Scattered Site Outreach Program in La Ronge.
The agency served Bird hot meals and gave her shelter at night in the winter. Bird would leave the centre early in the morning and could be seen walking for hours, tirelessly picking up bottles.
"She would never ask anybody for help. She tried to be self-sufficient," Cook said, adding that Bird greeted strangers as friends.
"She was the kindest person you could ever meet."
A wake is scheduled for Monday night in Lac La Ronge, followed by wake services and a funeral in her home community of Montreal Lake First Nation.