-Chief Derek Henderson, Sagkeeng First Nation
By Don Norman
On Friday, March 23, more than 1000 people marched for change the day after the acquittal of Robert Cormier for the murder of Tina Fontaine.
The verdict was hard news for the family and friends of Tina Fontaine and the community of Sagkeeng from where she came. After the trial, Chief Derrek Henderson choked back tears as he addressed the media. “Justice was not served today,” said Henderson. “My community was not served today. Tina was loved by everybody. And that’s what Thelma (Tina’s Aunt) wants today. Love for Tina,” he continued. “I just hope that people who are watching, world-wide, will see what we have to deal with, every day. The system has failed our people.”
The next day, people gathered at the Law Courts building, and marched through downtown Winnipeg to the Forks. Tina’s aunt, Thelma Favel, spoke to the media at the event. “We did what we could,” she said. Through sobs, she continued, “please bring justice for my baby girl. I can’t express how much gratitude I have for each and everyone one of you. My heart is overflowing with love.”
The trial began on January 29 and ran to February 22, Tina was murdered in August of 2014. In December 2015, Winnipeg police charged Robert Cormier for her murder. Her case was largely seen as the impetus for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry.