The unidentified victim of an alleged Winnipeg serial killer will be called Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe or Buffalo Woman.
At a vigil on Sunday for the four Indigenous women believed to be killed at the hands of an alleged serial killer, MLA Bernadette Smith explained that a group called Medicine Bear consulted in ceremony with community members to come up with the name.
Smith said they don’t want someone to be referred to as “unidentified,” adding that this woman is somebody’s loved one, and is part of their community.
“For us, a life is sacred and we have to honour that,” she said.
“When you go into ceremony and you’re seeking a name, Buffalo Woman is often the name you’re given until they find your name. So we wanted to honour that.”
The Winnipeg Police Service released a statement on Monday, saying they will refer to the victim as Buffalo Woman – Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe as a sign of respect and at the request of community advocates, knowledge keepers and elders.
Police added that officers will be meeting with family leadership and representatives and won’t provide further comments until these meetings have taken place.
Last week, police announced four Indigenous women – Rebecca Contois, Marcedes Myran, Morgan Beatrice Harris, and Buffalo Woman – were killed by an alleged serial killer.
The women are believed to have been killed between March and May of 2022.
Jeremy Anthony Michael Skibicki is facing four charges of first-degree murder. His lawyer said his client maintains his innocence.
None of the charges against Skibicki have been proven in court.
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