'She was planning my birthday': Mother of slain Indigenous woman to speak at MMIWG inquiry

Maxine Goforth, mother of slain Indigenous woman Kelly Goforth, will speak and tell her daughter's story at the MMIWG inquiry in Saskatoon. Maxine spoke with CBC to talk about her daughter and the support she has received.

Maxine Goforth is thankful for RTSIS being there for her from the time of her daughter's tragic death

Maxine Goforth, mother of murder victim, Kelly Goforth (above), will be testifying in Saskatoon at the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry. (Facebook )

It has been four years since Maxine Goforth received news from the Regina Police Service that the body of her daughter, Kelly, was found. 

Kelly Goforth was murdered by the man Regina police have called Regina's first serial killer, Clayton Bo Eichler. In September 2016, Eichler was convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of Goforth and Richele Bear and was sentenced to life in prison.

That was Kelly, she always made sure that I felt special.- Maxine Goforth , speaking about her daughter Kelly

Maxine will be testifying today at the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry (MMIWG) in Saskatoon, Sask.

In light of recent concerns over the Inquiry's internal communications, Goforth wants everyone to know who her daughter really was.

"Just prior to Kelly dying, she was planning my birthday," said Goforth. "That was Kelly, she always made sure that I felt special."

The day was September 25, 2013, when Maxine received the news about her daughter.

"I was going crazy ...I went looking all over Regina for her," she said.

"I stopped at my niece's house … and she got a call — just how her eyes looked, I knew something was wrong."

These memories are only a part of the story of Kelly and Maxine wants people to know her daughter was a loving and giving person. 
Maxine Goforth said her daughter, Kelly, always tried to make her feel special. Kelly had been planning Maxine's birthday when she went missing. Clayton Bo Eichler was convicted of second-degree murder in Kelly's death. (CBC)

"When you see us out there feeding the community and doing things for the community, that's because Kelly would have done that," said Maxine.

Goforth along with many other families of MMIWG are in Saskatoon to testify at the inquiry and they are not without support.

The Regina Treaty Status Indian Services (RTSIS) has a team of support on-hand at Saskatoon's Sheraton Cavalier hotel, where testimonies are taking place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST daily.

"We assist any family or person that comes through the door," said Erica Beaudin, executive director of RTSIS. Beaudin said there are six staff members, 10 knowledge keepers and a clinical team for psychological support.
Erica Beaudin, executive director, Regina Treaty Status Indian Services, has a team of support on-hand for families testifying at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (CBC)

The organization has been "walking," or providing support, with Maxine through the process and will do so again today as Maxine tells her daughter's story.

According to Beaudin, when it comes to missing or murdered Indigenous women, Maxine's case is quite rare. 

Beaudin said it is one of the only cases where it went from missing to murdered, to suspect and conviction.

For the families of MMIWG that are in attendance, Beaudin estimates that RTSIS has been involved with approximately 80 percent.

For Maxine Goforth, employees of RTSIS have gone beyond their job.

"It's amazing how these women are always there," said Goforth. "I appreciate everything they've done."

About the Author

Brad Bellegarde

Reporter for CBC Indigenous based in Saskatchewan

Born and raised in Treaty 4 Territory, he holds an Indian Communication Arts Certificate from the First Nations University of Canada and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Regina. Follow him on Twitter @BBellegardeCBC