British Columbia

Chantel Moore's family plans healing ceremonies, will seek answers during N.B. trip

Ten family members of a 26-year-old Indigenous woman who was fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B., are travelling across the country from British Columbia.

Family members of the B.C. Indigenous woman who was shot and killed by police are travelling to New Brunswick

Chantel Moore, 26, was shot dead by police in New Brunswick during a 'wellness check' gone wrong. The officer said Moore threatened him with a knife. CBC has permission from Chantel Moore's family to use the photos included in this story. (Chantel Moore/Facebook)

Ten family members of a 26-year-old Indigenous woman who was fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B., are travelling across the country from British Columbia to offer support to her mother and daughter, relatives said Sunday.

Amy Charlie, who grew up with Chantel Moore, said in an interview from Tofino, B.C., that it will be important for the family to gather in the days to come.

"We grew up together. I think I need to say a final goodbye to her,'' said the 20-year-old cousin, adding that in Tla-o-qui-aht culture she is referred to as Moore's sister due to their close relationship.

She and her grandmother, Nora Martin, who will also be on the trip, say the family is also hoping to meet with investigators to find out more about what occurred.

Watch | Members of Chantel Moore's grief-stricken family arrive in New Brunswick:

Ten members of the 26-year-old Indigenous woman's family travelled from B.C. to offer support to her mother and daughter. Moore was fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B. 0:57

Moore died Thursday when an officer with the Edmundston Police Force arrived at her home in response to a request to check on her well-being. The force has alleged the officer encountered a woman with a knife making threats.

Charlie and her grandmother say they are seeking more complete information from officials on what occurred.

"We all want answers,'' said Charlie. Martin is the sister of Moore's biological grandmother but says she is considered a grandmother in their Tla-o-qui-aht culture.

She has said in earlier interviews with The Canadian Press that her family has endured previous trauma at the hands of police, and she is calling for lasting change to break the pattern. More than 50 years ago, Martin's grandfather suffered a broken neck while in police custody, she said.

Another relative died 10 to 12 years ago while in police custody, she said. There was an investigation and recommendations were made, but Martin says little has changed.

She and her sister, Grace Frank, have said they doubt the police version of events as Moore was a petite woman who they say was not violent.

"We don't believe that Chantel attacked him. There's no way in the world she would attack anybody,'' said Martin. "She had no mental health issues.''

However, the primary focus of the journey will be to offer support to their sister — Moore's mother — and Moore's five-year-old daughter.

Martin said the family expects they will meet Maliseet First Nation leaders after they arrive in Fredericton on Monday morning. They are hoping to hold private, traditional ceremonies for Moore during a funeral and burial, once the coroner releases the body to the family.

"We can't really do anything until we hear from the coroner,'' the grandmother added.

Late last week, a coalition of Maliseet First Nations called for an independent probe of the New Brunswick justice system in light of Moore's death. The six chiefs in the Wolastoqey First Nation in New Brunswick issued a joint statement expressing their condolences to Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in B.C. to which Moore belonged.

It is signed by the chiefs of communities along the Saint John River Valley, including Tobique, St. Mary's, Madawaska, Oromocto, Kingsclear and Woodstock First Nations.

Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart said in an emailed statement that a probe has started through Quebec's independent police investigation agency, known as the Bureau des enquetes independantes, along with a New Brunswick coroner's investigation.

Relatives have said that Moore's mother, Martha, had been raising Chantel's daughter Gracie in New Brunswick, and Moore recently moved there to be with her mother and daughter and to go to college. 

CBC has permission from Chantel Moore's family to use the photos included in this story.

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