A new program is going to pay for information that helps lead to the finding of missing Indigenous people.
The new Pey Key Way Ta Hin program, Michif for "bring me home," was announced by the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) during their annual general assembly this weekend.
Through the program, $10,000 rewards will be given for information that helps locate missing people in the hope that those who have lost loved ones may get their voices back.
"It's heartbreaking, but in so many cases the families know they aren't going to find their loved ones alive," says MMF president David Chartrand.
"The name of this program gives these lost loved ones their voices back and reminds us that they are still missing and want to come home."
Julyda Lagimodiere, the MMF minister of justice, says the program will be family-drive and inclusive, with the goal of finding missing and murdered Indigenous citizens. It will also support the families of all missing and murdered loved ones.
"What these families are searching for is closure - a chance to understand more about what happened to their loved ones and to lay them to rest where their family can visit them and grieve," says Lagimodiere. "My own grandson lost his life in an unsolved crime - my heart aches for every family who knows this pain."
This million-dollar program is an enhancement to a previously announced $200,000 support programs for families who are still searching for a missing person.
"No one should have to live for years wondering where their child or grandchild is -- it's just not right," says Anita Campbell, spokeswoman for Infinity Women Secretariat Inc.
Another $10,000 is being offered for leads and tips about the location of Marcus McKay. McKay was last seen 20 years ago on July 15, 2000, in a wooded, marshy area off Bison Rd near Mallard, Manitoba.
McKay was eight years old when he disappeared and has not been seen since.
The MMF is also sponsoring a billboard near his last known location to inform the public of the missing boy.
In 2020, the MMF announced an additional $10,000 for tips leading to the location of Jennifer Catcheway, in partnership with her family. This funding remains in place.
The MMF thanks the RCMP and other organizations assisting with the Pey Key Way Ta Hin program.
Anyone with information about McKay or Catcheway is asked to contact their nearest RCMP detatchemtn or local police service. Information can be shared anonymously through Manitoba Crime Stoppers both by phone and online.