For immediate release
January 24, 2020

Treaty Five Territory, God’s Lake, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc (MKO) is honouring the late Crystal Andrews today who died as result of homicide in 2015.

Today is 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. Having the verdict delivered in the community has allowed for the family of Crystal to be present during the verdict and to be supported by the community.

Although this verdict will not make up for the heartbreaking, tragic loss of Crystal, her family feels some form of justice today. She is lovingly remembered by her family as a gentle, kind, and humble spirit. She had a deep love for her family and was a proud mother to two beautiful children. She was a devoted partner, sister, daughter, and granddaughter. She had a soft spot for animals and would provide care to the many animals in the community. Crystal graduated from high school and was the class valedictorian. She was ambitious and dreamed of going into medicine or social work.

The loss of Crystal has had a significant impact on her family and the community of God’s Lake First Nation.

“Today is historic. We need to change systems to allow for community inclusion and involvement in the judicial process,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “I want to express and extend my deepest condolences to the Andrews family on the loss of Crystal. I am hoping that the verdict will bring some justice and closure to the family as they find healing in their ongoing journey of grieving.”

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 honouring Crystal Andrews, we need to continue working on ending 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.”