For immediate release
January 31, 2020
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is remembering the late Crystal Andrews who died as a result of a homicide in 2015.
January 24, 2020, was a historic day in Manitoba as the first ever Court of Queen’s Bench Court was held in the community of God’s Lake Narrows, a First Nation situated 1037 kilometers Northeast of Winnipeg. The Honourable Justice Martin delivered a guilty verdict of the accused in the community.
“I have mixed emotions. I am happy there is justice for Crystal, but also filled with sadness and anger as I learned the details of the violent murder of my daughter through the court process. I ask that you all speak Crystal’s name and not give any recognition to the murderer. When the judge read the verdict and the accused was found guilty of second-degree murder, my heart was hurting so much, wishing that I could hold my daughter in my arms and the feeling of missing her was overwhelming. I have dreams of my daughter Crystal, her visits in my dreams bring me comfort,” stated Beverley Andrews, mother of Crystal Andrews.
“The death by homicide of Crystal Andrews has affected the entire community of God’s Lake Narrows. It was an important step to hold the verdict proceedings in the community as it gave God’s Lake Narrows citizens the opportunity to be included in the pursuit of justice for Crystal Andrews,” stated Grand Chief Settee. “It was equally important for the family of Crystal to participate in the process with the support of their extended family and community. No verdict will make up for the tragic loss of Crystal Andrews, but the opportunity for the family and community to participate in the criminal justice system together may help them on their healing journey.”
“We need to change systems to allow for community inclusion and involvement in the judicial process,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “I extend my deepest condolences to the Andrews family on the loss of Crystal.”
The issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), including 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is a priority of MKO. Since the establishment of the MMIWG Liaison Unit, the MKO has been instrumental in providing trauma-informed, culturally appropriate, and strength-based supports to those affected by MMIWG and in connecting them to additional resources.
“In honour of Crystal Andrews and the many other bright young women we have lost, we need to continue working to end the perpetual violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people,” said Grand Chief Settee. “Let us remember the caring and loving person that she was and how her family fought to seek justice for her. Let us continue to work together in implementing the Calls for Justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG. I urge everyone in Manitoba, including leaders, to take meaningful steps, efforts, and action to create a safer province for Indigenous, women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. We are all part of the solution and it is essential to work together to end the violence in our province.”