For immediate release
August 5, 2020
Treaty Five Territory, The Pas, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is remembering the late Kendara Ballantyne as her family is set to host a memorial walk marking one year since her body was located in The Pas. Kendara grew up in The Pas and was a member of the Mosakahiken Cree Nation. She was only 18 years old when she went missing and was later found deceased on August 6, 2019.
“On August 6 I will attend the walk for Kendara Ballantyne to express my condolences to Kendara’s family on the loss of their granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, and auntie. It’s been one year since Kendara was located deceased in The Pas. I stand in solidarity with Kendara’s family, who have experienced every family’s worse nightmare. This is a tragedy for the family and I pray that today’s walk will help them find some healing in their ongoing journey of grieving their loved one,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee.
Kendara’s sister Gloria Ballantyne-Packo provided the following statement:
“Kendara was small at only five feet tall but she was mighty! Her laugh was usually always funnier than the joke, she gave the absolute best hugs, she had the kindest heart, and she was incredibly giving even when she didn’t have anything monetary to give. She would give you the jacket she was wearing if that’s what you needed and she always thought of others before herself.
She was always there to lend a listening ear and give support to her friends if they were having a hard time. She just brought so much joy into so many people’s lives. When she was around you, you knew that she genuinely cared about you, loved you, and wanted the best for you.
Kendara loved kids, she enjoyed being around her friends and family. One of her favourite things to do was bake and she was so good at it too! She really liked walking around either with friends or just to spend time outside. Even though she had short legs she was still speedier than a lot of people.
She had dreams of graduating, living on her own and hosting people in her own place, seeing her nieces and nephews grow up, and travelling the world.
Kendara’s death was not an accident. We don’t want her to be just another statistic of the many missing and murdered to be ignored. Which is why today, August 6, we are hosting a Memorial Walk to show that we are not giving up. As long as there is no justice, we do not have peace.
Do you ever have a nightmare that you can’t seem to wake up from? This first year has been like that. It doesn’t seem real and its something we will never recover from. There is such a huge part of our family that is empty since she was taken from us.
We live in a systematically oppressive society where we feel like Indigenous lives don’t matter. We don’t want Kendara to be forgotten and we want justice to be served because she was taken from us so tragically. The walk is also to encourage other families to keep pursuing justice. For the other families, keep speaking out because your voices matter and the lives of your loved ones matter. We want to send our condolences to the other families that are going through this same thing and our thoughts and prayers go out to the ones that are still searching.”
MKO continues to focus on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) and Two Spirit/gender diverse people. We have a Liaison Unit for MMIWG, which has been instrumental in providing supports and connecting impacted families and survivors to additional resources in a culturally appropriate and safe manner.
“If anyone knows anything about Kendara’s passing, I urge you to come forward to the police and share what you know. Help bring some peace and justice to this young woman and her family,” stated Grand Chief Settee. “We must continue to work together in implementing the Calls to Justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG. I urge all leaders and Manitoba residents to do what they can to create a safer province for our Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit/gender diverse people. We are all part of the solution, let’s work together collectively.”
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]
Timeline of events for Remembering Kendara Memorial Walk
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Start location: In The Pas behind UCN @ 5:30 pm
Masks are encouraged to be worn. As per Covid-19 precautions there will also be masks and sanitizer available at beginning of walk.
(We will have a limited quantity of red roses to be handed out as a thank you for supporting our family)
1. Opening prayer (Cree & English): Ray Walsh and Daniel Ballantyne
2. Introduction from MKO Mobile Crisis Response Team Trevor Sinclair & River Johnson
3. Family Message: Lorraine Packo & Rhonda Clark
4. Acknowledgments & Memorial Bench: Gloria Ballantyne-Packo
5. Song: “Just be held” Julie Olson and Nathan Honke
6. Walk Proceeds (see route attached): Some family following in vehicles. If unable to walk you are welcome to follow in your vehicle.
7. Walk reaches Justice For Kendara graffiti under train bridge bypass
8. Prayer (Cree & English): Ray Walsh and Daniel Ballantyne
9. Moment of Silence
10. Proceed into Kinsmen Park
11. Song: “Jealous of the Angels” David and Stacey Kemmesies
a. Sandra Delaronde: Volunteer Co-Chair for MMIWG Coalition Manitoba
b. Paulene Ballantyne: Nisiiminan Safe Rides Coordinator
c. Christian Sinclair: Opaskwayak Cree Nation Onekanow (Chief)
d. Carrie Atkinson: Town of The Pas Councilor
e. Garrison Settee: MKO Grand Chief
f. Amanda Lathlin: MLA
13. Song: “Sweet bye and bye” Cree/English: Mike Jebb Jr.
14. Blessing of the BBQ: Doug Lambert
15. BBQ commences
16. Open mic for words or songs (reminder announcement about red ribbon replacement on bridge and memorial bench)
(Volunteers are encouraged to join in to replace red ribbons on the Bignell bridge)