Chantel Moore's family calls for justice, public inquiry during healing walk
Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, was shot and killed by police in Edmundston June 4
Hundreds gathered in cities across New Brunswick and in Halifax on Saturday afternoon to take part in a healing walk in honour of Chantel Moore, the 26-year-old Indigenous woman shot and killed by police in Edmundston, N.B.
Moore's family addressed the crowd of about 100 people at the end of the walk in Edmundston's town square, asking for justice and a full public inquiry into Chantel's death.
Joe Martin, a relative, said Moore was the second person in the family to die at the hands of a police officer.
"We've been hurt many times," he said. "How can we ever trust any police force? Why should we answer a door for a wellness check?"
"How in the hell did that happen?"
Moore, originally from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, was killed by Edmundston police on June 4 during a wellness check. Her funeral was Thursday. Quebec's independent police investigation agency, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, is investigating the shooting.
The agency is also investigating the death of a man from Metepenagiag First Nation who was shot and killed by RCMP Friday night. Friends and community members have identified the man killed as Rodney Levi, 48.
The silent healing walks began at 1 p.m. ADT Saturday in Edmundston, Fredericton and Moncton. Walkers wore orange-coloured clothing for Madawaska First Nation, which is near Edmundston. Others wore yellow and gold for Chantel Moore, whose favourite saying was "Stay Golden."
Chantel Moore's family led the march in Edmundston.
Martha Martin, Moore's mother, said all she wants is justice for her daughter.
"Nobody should have to feel afraid," she said.
She called on Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to educate each other so everyone can live in peace.
"We shouldn't have to be afraid of having that wellness call. The message today is we're going to come together as one and that's really important."
She said her heart goes out to families who are experiencing the same thing.
Sombre and peaceful march. Pipe carriers and medicine being walked through the street. <a href="https://t.co/l5CabWQn3B">pic.twitter.com/l5CabWQn3B</a>—@LoganPerley
Most attendees wore masks and physically distanced themselve from others. Moore's family wore masks with her name written across it. Moore's six-year-old daughter Gracie gave out cards with her mother's name, photo and a message written on them.
Nora Martin, a relative of Moore's, said Gracie told her she didn't want to die like her mother.
"There's no way on this earth that Chantel should have been shoot five, six times," Nora Martin said. "No way. She did not deserve that."
Amanda Myran, an organizer of Fredericton's healing walk, said people are understandably angry and sad over Moore and Levi's deaths.
"I think having two Indigenous people killed in Wabanaki territory within the span of eight days speaks to the fact that this is a crisis and it needs to be addressed as such," Myran said.
Jake Stewart, New Brunswick's minister of Aboriginal Affairs, offered condolences to Moore's family and the community of Metepenagiag.
"I'm deeply sorry that this has happened," Stewart said.
Stewart admitted systemic racism exists throughout government. He said the death of Levi has amplified the call for politicians and the public to act.
Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard and New Brunswick's Lt. Gov Brenda Murphy also offered condolences.
"I'm shocked, I'm dismayed, I'm saddened and I'm angry that this systemic injustice has happened," Murphy said.
Those who took part in the walk used sacred drums to soothe shared anguish and wore ceremonial skirts and shirts to honour First Nations colours and pride.
Imelda Perley, the former Elder-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick and instructor at the Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, said healing is crucial right now.
"Rather than showcasing anger, confusion, fear, I wanted us to unite in solidarity," Perley said Friday. "To pray and to call on our ancestors and allies to walk with us."
During the walk, women carried a bowl of water that was poured into the centre of a healing circle so Moore's family could witness the emotions being given back to Mother Earth.
"Our gift of water is to carry the emotions of all people who are feeling the pain," Perley said.
People have started to walk from city hall down Queen Street <a href="https://t.co/kS3dWzdb0z">pic.twitter.com/kS3dWzdb0z</a>—@garyakmoore
The healing walk should not be called or be seen as a protest, Perley said. The walk is Ikatomone, which translates to "Let's guard."
"Let's guard our spirits, our languages, our cultural ways of doing things. This is what I wanted to revitalize and remind the next generation that this is how we ask for justice."
With files from Information Morning Moncton, Logan Perley, Shane Magee, Hadeel Ibrahim, Gary Moore