Manitoba Chief Defends DNA Collection

The head of northern Manitoba chiefs supports an RCMP plan to collect DNA samples from every man and boy between the ages of 15 and 66 in Garden Hill First Nation, as part of the police investigation into the death last May of 11-year-old Teresa Robinson.

Sheila North Wilson, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), met with RCMP in Winnipeg to discuss the DNA collection, among other issues on Thursday.

“We talked about how unusual this step is by the RCMP for this investigation. This doesn’t happen very often, this kind of massive DNA collection and testing,” she said after the meeting.

“I think the community’s been calling for something to happen, and for the investigation to move.”

The people of Garden Hill First Nation want answers, said North Wilson, and they want closure.

“If that means an inconvenience … I think they’re willing to do that,” she said.

About 2,000 samples are to be collected as part of the investigation into the murder of Teresa Robinson. 

Garden Hill chief Arnold Flett said he believed most people have complied with the RCMP’s request for a sample.

RCMP said they are asking men and boys to give a sample voluntarily but Corey Shefman, a human rights lawyer in Winnipeg, has a different interpretation.

The past president of the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties said the RCMP’s request is far from voluntary and is an example of the systemic racism First Nations people face.

“Particularly if you’re an indigenous person, if a police officer shows up at your door and says, ‘We’d like you to voluntarily give us some of your DNA,’ if you were to say no, the next thing to come out of their mouths is not going to be ‘OK, thanks, have a nice day.’ It’s going to be, ‘Why don’t you want to give us your DNA? Are you hiding something?'” he said.

By refusing the test, Shefman said, people risk becoming a suspect. 

North Wilson defended the RCMP’s tactic as a means to an important end for the community. Garden Hill residents don’t feel safe because Robinson’s killer hasn’t been caught, she said.


To wit:

Parallel to the findings of the 2014 Overview in which most homicide victims had a previous relationship with the offender, the 2013 and 2014 RCMP data reveals that the offender was known to the victim in 100% of the solved homicides of Aboriginal women in RCMP jurisdictions, and in 93% of cases of solved homicides of non-Aboriginal women. Violence within family relationships is a key factor in homicides of women, and has prompted the RCMP to focus intervention and prevention efforts on familial and spousal violence.


  • dance…dancetotheradio

    But, we haven’t spent fifty million dollars on an inquiry.

    • BillyHW

      What ever are they going to do when they find out it wasn’t a white man?

      • dance…dancetotheradio

        Call the Loan Arranger?

  • Exile1981

    The rcmp will never destroy the records and this will be abused it’s unconsionable.

    • barryjr

      Just a start, look for all citizens to be a file on a national DNA registry soon.

      • Exile1981

        I thought on this overnight and I think this is such a major issue that it needs a much longer response.

        First off it’s never been confirmed by the RCMP but the fact they have the attackers DNA and are going after only men’s DNA confirms the suspicion that the little girl was sexually assaulted prior to her death.

        Now we know the RCMP have no leads other wise they wouldn’t be casting such a wide net. We also know that in 90% of these cases that the attacker was someone close to the child. So the easiest thing to do would be to compare the girls DNA with the attackers sample found on her. That would tell you if they were genetically related and how closely. From there you would know if it was a father, grand father or sibling which would then allow you to get a warrant for testing those individuals. This is a lot less expensive than gathering and testing the DNA of 2000 people.

        We know from history that the RCMP have a bad track record of not destroying records they are legally bound to destroy. So the RCMP will not destroy the DNA records and from now on they will just use this to solve every crime on the reservation that happens. While I agree fighting crime is a good goal there are lots of cases where DNA alone will give you a false suspect and just because someones DNA was found at a crime scene does not mean they were present at the crime.

        If the men of this reservation do not stand up now then they will find a majority of them being arrested for every open crime on the books over the next year as the RCMP play with their new DNA database.

        Now who doesn’t want to see the murderer of a 11 year old girl caught and punished; and that is exactly how they will push for this by appealing to peoples sense of justice for a child. It’s no different than the lefties bale cry of “think of the children” they scream when they want gun control, or transgender bathrooms in schools or every other squashing of our rights. I’m tired of it….. very tired of it. Why do we have to give up rights and make our children less free and less safe just so they can have their way?

        • Alain

          Well stated.

  • DMB

    FOOLS! The natives living on the reserves are nothing more then property of chiefs and they have become enslaved by the federal government with the never ending financial dependency they depend on for their survival. They stay no to any developmental opportunities such as resource, pipeline development, housing development including for their own people except for the elite chiefs and those on the tribal council. This is intended to keep the natives impoverished so they can easily control them. Now they will have their liberties infringed on by having the police collect their DNA samples which will not be destroyed. Those living on the reserves are doomed to permanent poverty and enslavement.

    • Justin St.Denis

      Yup! The native reserve evolves into a moder-day slave compound. This is fucking FEUDAL, but it is all being facilitated by Shiny Pony returning “cover” to tribal elites to continue to rip off and enslave their own.

  • kkruger71

    Still remember when they did this in an area of Toronto around 2000. They didn’t even test the DNA of donations, just started stalking those that refused to sacrifice their civil rights. Yes, it lead to a conviction, but still stand against this tactic. The “if you have nothing to hide…” argument is meaningless an can be used for any type of search and seizure.
    And screw Shefman for making this about race, he should be fighting this on the rights issue alone.

  • disqusW6sf

    “By refusing the test, Shefman said, people risk becoming a suspect.”
    I agree.