Prominent Cree elder says RCMP failed the family of Ashley Morin, missing for more than a year

A prominent Cree elder in Saskatoon used a march to support Ashley Morin, missing for a year, as a platform to criticize RCMP for its dealings with her family.

Eugene Arcand accuses RCMP of supporting "frontier justice"

Members of Ashley Morin's family in front of the Saskatoon Police station. (Dan Zakreski/CBC News)

Eugene Arcand did not mince words.

"The system has tried to destroy my people and tried to destroy me," he said.

"I have nothing to lose by what I just said. Chase me more. But at least respect my people, respect our women. And advocate for our women."

Arcand is a prominent Cree elder in Saskatoon. He spoke Friday at the start of a march to support the family of Ashley Morin, a 31-year-old woman who went missing in North Battleford a year ago this week.

Eugene Arcand had harsh words for Saskatchewan RCMP Friday. (CBC)

RCMP now consider Morin's disappearance a homicide.

Arcand accused the RCMP of  "ass-covering" on the investigation and supporting "frontier justice" by criminalizing young First Nations men and women.

He said the family learned on social media about the RCMP classifying her disappearance as a homicide and that they were not told the RCMP had a photo of a suspicious van they suspected may have been connected with her disappearance.

RCMP responded to questions with an emailed statement.

"Saskatchewan RCMP continues to investigate the disappearance of Ashley Morin. Our efforts are focused on determining what happened to Ashley and bringing her home. Informing the family of the progress of the investigation into the disappearance of their loved one is done as the investigation progresses," RCMP wrote.

"In this case, the close family members of Ashley Morin are kept informed of the progress of the investigation into her disappearance, as required. We treat the conversations we have with the family of victims as private and confidential."

About 40 people joined Morin's family for the march, which began in front of the Saskatoon Police station.

Police escorted the marchers to the edge of town. Marchers plan on stopping near Borden tonight, then Maymont. Arcand said the RCMP made no offer to support or escort marchers along the way and that concerns him.

"We don't want to be shot while we're out there. I don't want my family hurt while they're out there."

RCMP said in their email that they're using resources to search for the young woman rather than joining the march.

About the Author

Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.