St. Mary's First Nation holds ceremony to honour Chantel Moore

·2 min read
Martha Martin, mother of Chantel Moore, at a ceremony put on by the community at St. Mary's First Nation in honour of her daughter.  (Ed Hunter - image credit)
Martha Martin, mother of Chantel Moore, at a ceremony put on by the community at St. Mary's First Nation in honour of her daughter. (Ed Hunter - image credit)

Martha Martin was led into the community centre at St. Mary's First Nation by drummers. She wore a yellow skirt and her granddaughter, Gracie, followed in a yellow jingle dress. It's been a year since her daughter, Chantel Moore, was shot and killed by a police officer in Edmundston.

A pipe ceremony and death feast were put on by community members to commemorate the anniversary and honour Moore.

"We're here to celebrate who she was," said Lisa Perley-Dutcher, who organized the event.

Community members and others wore yellow shirts and dresses, a symbol they hope catches on.

"Now you will see the yellow dress representing Indigenous people who have been killed by law enforcement," said Perley-Dutcher.

Moore, of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, was 26 years old when she was shot and killed by a police officer during a wellness check.

A year later, there is still no word on whether the officer will be charged.

Martha Martin says she is still waiting on answers.

"The process of this year has been probably the hardest ever," she said, fighting back tears. "Trying to comfort a seven-year-old who's lost her mom, and trying to have my own grieving. But you know, it's not easy but we get up every morning and we do it and we continue to fight for my daughter and we will continue. And not only for her but other people as well."

Less than two weeks after Moore's death, Rodney Levi of Metepenagiag First Nation was shot and killed by RCMP. Members of Levi's family also came to the ceremony.

Ed Hunter
Ed Hunter

The deaths led to calls for an inquiry into systemic racism in the province. A public report is due by March 31, 2022.

But Martin said there is still a lot to be done to find justice for her daughter and others.

"Unfortunately, you know, we'll never have the full truth because we're missing the other person to tell the other side of the story," she said. "And the only thing we can pray for is that we get as close to the truth as possible."

But Martin isn't alone. Members of First Nations communities in the province have supported her and her granddaughter over the past year.

"They've gone above and beyond. They've all been there to support me. From the time that we heard the news of my daughter, they were there at our house. They were helping us. You know, they were absolutely amazing. And it shows, you know, in tragic moments that we can come together."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting