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  • Kim Senklip Harvey

Tina Michelle Fontaine

Your Father was murdered when you were just 11, I can't imagine what that must have been like for you. I lost my Grandfather when I was 11 and I was heartbroken and I'm 32 now and just wrote a post about my Father and I can't imagine losing him. My spirit breaks for you, thinking about what you had to endure Tina, I'm in awe of your strength.

I'm not sure how or what to even write because this has been such an utter and complete failure on all of us. We created systems for you to be oppressed in and continue to maintain the status quo. The Canadian justice system is not built for everyone and we continue to uphold it. I'm so sorry and I will admit my complicity in continuing to sustain a system that is racist and built to deny you justice - and you have been denied justice.

Can I say Tina, I feel useless.

I tried to work within - I took an internship with the Ministry of Children and Family to help create safe spaces for our young people, I worked for the Representative for Children and Youth and tried to effect policy to better protect our young people and I couldn't.

There are children I met, who I know are sitting in their rooms right now, feeling so alone and I feel like I abandoned them. On one of my last trips to a rural area with the Rep's office, we were teaching children in care their rights under section 70 and under the UN Rights of the Child - I felt it was sort of helpful, but I could see that it was not enough. After all the fruit roll ups had been eaten and the juice boxes drank, at the airport I walked into a bathroom stall, punched the metal door shut, sat down and I wept.

I knew I couldn't do the job anymore, it was breaking me.

So I left and I feel like I left young people by themselves and I feel so guilty, it haunts me. I am trying to find justice for you and our people in my writing and work - it just feels so indulgent, futile and right now absurd.

I'm really at a loss. We have failed you. I'm deeply ashamed and I am going to work harder for you Tina. I will be more effective for you and for all of our sisters.

I hope you find the peace that you were so unjustly denied in this world as you rest next to your father. You and your loved ones are in my mind, heart and spirit during my ceremonies today and always with me.

In rage, shame and humility.

For Tina, 1999-2014.

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