Relatives of a homeless woman who recently died in Manitoba are locked in a battle over who should be allowed to claim her body.
Two groups of relatives, living respectively in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, have fought over funeral arrangements for Josephine Rachel Mercredi and could end up in could end up in court to solve the dispute, according to the Winnipeg Press. The 49-year-old woman died on April 21 after she was taken to hospital in Thomson, Man.
Authorities found Mercredi in a tent she had been sleeping in behind a Royal Canadian Legion.
Mercredi’s five children want to bring their mother’s remains directly back to their community — Fond du Lac, a Dene First Nation in northern Saskatchewan.
However, Mercredi’s siblings and mother, who live in Lac Brochet, Man., want to fly the woman’s body back to their own community for a wake before she is buried in Fond du Lac.
“All we want as a family is to release the body, take it to Thompson so her friends can say their goodbyes, bring the body back to Lac, where she was raised with the people in Lac Brochet, and say our last goodbyes and then have her taken to Fond-du-Lac and have the burial there,” Mercredi’s older sister, Lizette Denechezhe, told the Winnipeg Free Press.
Mercredi was born in The Pas, Man. and raised in Lac Brochet, which is a fly-in community more than 1,000 km northwest of Winnipeg. She then moved to Fond du Lac when she married.
Until the dispute is resolved, Mercredi’s body will remain at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Winnipeg.