Members of Garden Hill First Nation are grieving over the death of 11-year-old Teresa Robinson while still conducting daily searches for her partial remains.
Hundreds of volunteers have joined the search of the heavily wooded areas around the northern Manitoba community over two weeks after remains were first found.
"They are still going to go search every day," said community member Ron Monias yesterday. "They are having a prayer walk today and they are going to light up a sacred fire for four days representing the four directions."
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Community members originally believed Robinson was attacked by a wild animal, but on Friday, RCMP announced they are treating her death as a homicide.
"It's very, very hard," said Monias. "Everybody is affected by it, the young kids, the middle generation and the old people. Everybody is just pulling together for each other."
The girl was reported missing to RCMP on May 11 and a community searcher found partial remains later that day. An autopsy was performed last Wednesday. RCMP said they have not been able to positively identify the body, but they believe it is Robinson's.
She was last seen after attending a birthday party in the community on May 5.
Other First Nations join search
Several First Nations communities from across northern Manitoba and Ontario have travelled to the remote community to join the search.
"All First Nations people are like that. They are caring people and they will do what they can to help others," said Monias. "That's just the way we are. That's why so many other communities have come over. We're happy to have them."
Yesterday, Teresa's family members took part in a prayer walk in the community. It's one of several vigils held in communities across the province since the girl's death.
"It has been the most difficult thing that this family has ever had to face, and the overwhelming support by surrounding communities and from all across the nation certainly is appreciated," said elder Eliza Beardy who attended a vigil held in Winnipeg on Monday.
Monias said a curfew has been in place in Garden Hill since the girl's death. "Everyone is hurt. And everyone has to recover. We want to heal as a community."
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