Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Suspicious Death of Indigenous Woman Raised in Nova Scotia Legislature

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Suspicious Death of Indigenous Woman Raised in Nova Scotia Legislature

Article excerpt

Mi'kmaq woman's death raised at N.S. legislature


HALIFAX - The unsettling issues surrounding the long list of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada were drawn into sharp focus Thursday at the Nova Scotia legislature.

Relatives of Cassidy Bernard, a 22-year-old mother of infant twins, delivered heartfelt statements to remind the province about the Mi'kmaq woman's mysterious death in October, a crime that remains unsolved.

"Our lives are precious and our lives matter," said Annie Bernard-Daisley, one of Bernard's cousins. "For far too long, since colonization, our women have been hunted. When I say hunted, they have been murdered and gone missing without a trace."

Bernard's body was found by police in We'koqma'q First Nation on Oct. 24. Her twin girls, five-and-a-half months old, were found dehydrated in a crib next to their mother.

The We'koqma'q band council is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

On Thursday, Bernard's relatives also met briefly with Premier Stephen McNeil and other members of the legislature.

"We come to you today to show you what (missing and murdered Indigenous women) look like, and who is left behind to suffer with tremendous grief," Bernard-Daisley said as two of Bernard's sisters, Tyra and Renee, held a large portrait of the young, brown-haired woman.

"We come to you today to beg and plead that all our levels of government come together to create change, create movement and not to wait until another daughter is stolen."

She said Indigenous chiefs should meet with local police and the provincial Justice Department to ensure immediate action is taken when Indigenous women are reported missing.

As well, Bernard-Daisley called for cold cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women to be reopened, and she asked for policing resources to be expanded for all First Nations communities. …

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