In Memory of Murdered Native Woman Tanya Brooks

Tanya Brooks remembered 5 years after unsolved murder

Marchers call for an end to violence against aboriginal women

CBC News Posted: May 09, 2014 4:31 PM

 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/tanya-brooks-remembered-5-years-after-unsolved-murder-1.2637809

A group marched on Halifax’s Gottingen Street Friday afternoon to mark the fifth anniversary of Tanya Brooks’s unsolved murder and to call for an end to violence against aboriginal women.

The police investigation has led to no arrests or charges five years after her death. Brooks’s body was found on the afternoon of May 11, 2009, in a trench along the west side of St. Patrick’s-Alexandra School.

ns-tanya-brooks

Tanya Brooks was found dead on May 11, 2009. Police continue to investigate her murder. (CBC)

Family friend Dorene Bernard led prayers for Brooks’s family and friends, and for the more than 1,000 missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada. Brooks was a Mi’kmaw woman.

“We come together today to honour and remember our sister in spirit,” she said.

There will be a candlelight vigil Saturday in Millbrook, where Brooks grew up. It begins at 6 p.m. at the seniors’ centre.

Halifax Regional Police Deputy Chief Bill Moore says investigators believe there are people who know what happened to Brooks and he urged them to come forward.

“My message to the family is that we will continue to investigate this and hope to bring you justice and healing,” he said.

Justice delayed

It’s been two years since someone murdered Tanya Jean Brooks. Why haven’t police found her killer?

By Jon Tattrie | May 10, 2011

 http://halifaxmag.com/cover/justice-delayed/

This article won the 2011 Atlantic Journalism Award (silver) in the Best Magazine Article category.It’s been two years since someone murdered Tanya Jean Brooks. Why haven’t police found her killer?

Connie Brooks sits in her living room in Millbrook First Nation surrounded by newspaper clippings about her daughter, Tanya Jean Brooks. She stores them in brown envelopes and takes them out one by one. The oldest is from 1989, the most recent from May 2010.

Memories of Tanya hover in the air as heavy as the cigarette smoke. Connie can see Tanya’s old house through her kitchen window. Bright, cheery art Tanya created for her mother decorates her home—a painted wooden box, a “Welcome” plaque, signed “Tan.” They are happy images. “Just like Tanya,” Connie says. “Happy as a bumblebee.”  The phone rings. Connie exhales, lets it go to voicemail.

It’s been almost two years since a teacher at St. Patrick’s-Alexandra in Halifax heard a phone ringing in the schoolyard and followed the tone to a basement window well. The call was coming from Connie. She hadn’t heard from her daughter since the previous day and was getting worried.

The teacher peered over the ledge and gasped in shock. Tanya’s body was lying at the bottom. The teacher called the police and the students were led away. Crime-scene tape surrounded the yard. Tanya’s body was removed that night. Police opened a homicide investigation but the killer—or killers—remain unknown and at large.

May 2011 marks a string of bitter anniversaries for Connie and on this spring afternoon she’s trying to find the strength to stand for her daughter again; to spark interest in a distant police force; to face down her daughter’s faceless killers.

May 8 is Mother’s Day. May 10 marks the two-year anniversary of Tanya’s death, May 11 of when she was found. May 28 would have been her 37th birthday.

“There’s a big void in there,” Connie fights back tears. “And the hardest is yet to come. Whenever they catch the murderers, we got to go to Halifax and see pictures and evidence, you know?”

Tanya was cremated and her remains are in Millbrook but the medical examiner had to keep her brain as evidence in case there is a trial. “She’s not complete,” Connie says. “She’s not resting. I don’t know what death is all about, but if I don’t have my complete daughter …” She trails off.

 

Tanya Brooks

Connie last spoke to Tanya in Halifax on May 10, 2009—Mother’s Day. Tanya, who had five children, was in good spirits, though she had been involved in a verbal altercation with a car full of young men that afternoon. Connie told her daughter to go to her brother’s home if the trouble grew. “I kept calling her and calling her, but she kept saying she had to let me go,” Connie remembers. “I said I love you and happy Mother’s Day.”

Connie spoke to Tanya in the afternoon and police estimate she died around 9 p.m. In the days after the murder, a man living near the school told a reporter he had seen a gang of men following a woman down an alley the night Tanya died.

Sgt. Kevin Smith is the officer in charge of homicide at Halifax Regional Police. “With respect to Tanya Brooks, there has not been a whole lot of progress made,” he says.

Smith won’t say how she died or if police have a theory as to who killed her or why or even where. The police learned about the alley witness on the evening news. “It certainly sounded like he had valid information, certainly possibly relevant given the time and location, however it’s not a game breaker,” Smith says.

The police hope a witness comes forward who will testify in court. “A witness to either her being involved in an altercation with somebody, a witness to somebody saying something as to what might have happened to her—that would certainly be a game breaker,” Smith says.

Until that happens, progress seems unlikely. “At this stage, [the investigation] is not really active,” says Smith. “Solid motive, with respect to Tanya, is still up in the air. Does it have something to do with the fact that she was a prostitute? We’re open to that. Is it a random situation? Who knows?”

The last detail—rumours that Tanya Brooks worked in the sex trade—dominated media accounts of her murder. But there is no suggestion she was working the day she died or that it had anything to do with her killing.

Katharine Irngau works for Sisters in Spirit, a Native Women’s Association of Canada program that calls attention to the hundreds of murdered or missing aboriginal women across the country. By grim coincidence, SIS was in Halifax days after the Mi’kmaq woman’s murder for a long-scheduled talk about the hidden horror. The audience could look out the window of the North End library and see the school where Brooks’s body was found.

In justice statistics, a solved crime is “cleared.” The national clearance rate for murdered women is about 78 per cent; for aboriginal women, 53 per cent, Irngau says. “Historically speaking, devaluation of aboriginal women has led to a slow response to investigations,” she says. “There’s a perception that aboriginal women have no ties, no community or culture, no education. The ties that keep families together are fractured and people assume that the fracture is to blame.”

Police and media can add to that devaluation by emphasizing a history of drug use or sex work. “That victim blaming happens right away,” Irngau says. It saps public outcry for justice, which in turn weakens police efforts to solve murders.

Tanya grew up in Millbrook before running away to Toronto at 16. She later returned to Nova Scotia and raised her four boys and a girl, who today range in age from 10 to 21. When she was 30, a friend produced a needle and tempted Tanya with a better high than alcohol. “They say that if one needle, you like the feeling, then you’re hooked—if you don’t like the feeling, then no,” Connie says. “I guess she liked the feeling.”

The next few years were dominated by the search for more of the drug, likely heroin, which led to Tanya’s apparent stint in the sex trade. According to friends and family, Tanya was clean in spring 2009, planning to enroll at NSCC to take a new direction with her life.

Back in Millbrook, Connie Brooks looks at her daughter’s photo in the brittle, yellowed 1989 edition of The Record, an Ontario newspaper. It’s a feature on street kids and the reporter talks to Tanya, who looks depressed and is upset about her “big mistake”—running away.

She shows the reporter some of her artwork and says she is trying to raise $88 to get home for Christmas. “I think my family wants me home. I think my [Indian] band wants me home. I think they are afraid I’ll be going home in a wooden casket,” Tanya told the reporter. “When I go home, I will go to school for my mother. I will find a job for my mother.”

Connie Brooks looks out her window. She prays that this year, justice will be done for her daughter, so she can finally bring Tanya home.

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

Unsolved murders

Halifax Regional Police list 51 unsolved murders on their books, dating back to Michael Resk, who was found shot dead inside a delivery truck at the corner of Roome and Acadia streets in December 1955. In some cases, the provincial department of justice steps in to offer a $150,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. The money stands for Tanya Jean Brooks. In Halifax, it also includes Jerell Wright (died 2009), Jonathan Reader (2005), Leon Adams (2005) and Danny Dibenedetto (2005).

Memorial walk held for Tanya Brooks

CBC News Posted: May 10, 2011

ns-li-brooks-620

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/memorial-walk-held-for-tanya-brooks-1.1061596

About a dozen people walked in a memorial Tuesday to Tanya Brooks, a 35-old year-old Mi’kmaq woman from Millbrook who was found slain in Halifax two years to the day.

Halifax Regional Police say no progress has been made in their investigation, and her family is pleading with the public for help.

“We lost our best friend…and it’s very hard for us,” said Stanley Brooks, Tanya’s brother.

He bowed his head, his long jet-black ponytail swinging over his shoulder, and sobbed quietly as he talked about his sister.

Stanley Brooks and a small group of mostly Mi’kmaq women sang traditional songs as they walked in the rain up Gottingen Street from the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre to the main Halifax Regional Police station.

Connie Brooks Adams, Tanya’s mother, said her daughter had a tough life, getting involved in drugs, alcohol and the sex trade. But she said that shouldn’t stop anyone from helping to find her daughter’s killer.

Brooks Adams said the police have no leads and she is getting little help.

“They’re not giving me no answers. They’re not phoning me and updating me. And it’s two years today,” Brooks Adams said.

Tanya Brooks last talked to her mother on Mother’s Day 2009. A teacher at St. Patrick’s-Alexandra School found her beaten, broken body dumped in a window well behind of the school on May 10, 2009.

A man living nearby said he had seen a gang of men following a woman down an alley the night Brooks was killed.

Stanley Brooks said things would be different if his sister had been a white woman.

“There should be a lot more police investigations. They should actually give a f–k about native women instead of just non-native women, white people,” he said. “We’re treated like garbage in our own land.”

Doreen Bernard, who calls herself a Mi’kmaq grassroots grandmother, is helping the family. She said Tanya’s story is not unique in Nova Scotia.

“There are other aboriginal women, Mi’kmaq women and young girls, that have been murdered and have gone missing,” she said.

Tanya’s mother still can’t believe her daughter is one of those statistics.

“It’s been awful. Not knowing is worse because I expect her to come in the door. I expect her to phone me. She don’t. I looked for her here today because I can’t believe she’s gone,” Brooks Adams said.

The Brooks family said Tanya was off drugs in 2009, and was planning to go back to school in order to get a good job so she could take care of her five children.

Tanya Jean Brooks, a Mi’kmaq woman in Halifax, was found murdered five years ago this weekend. Can we solve this?

Brooks
http://thecontextofthings.com/2014/05/10/tanya-jean-brooks-a-mikmaq-woman-in-halifax-was-found-murdered-five-years-ago-this-weekend-can-we-solve-this/

Drumming at Tanya Brooks memorial – Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre, Halifax

Uploaded on May 10, 2011

Women chant and drum at the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre in Halifax as part of a memorial service for Tanya Jean Brooks, a Mi’kmaq woman who was killed in Halifax two years ago. Her murder remains unsolved.

Jon Tattrie shot this video as part of ongoing coverage for Halifax Magazine – http://halifaxmag.com/2011/05/cover/justice-delayed/

Tanya Jean Brooks, an Aboriginal Canadian woman, was found murdered — in the window well of a church school, no less — on Monday, May 11, 2009. That’s five years ago tomorrow. The case still hasn’t been solved. There’s some detail on her timeline/whereabouts here, but essentially her whereabouts are unknown from 9pm Sunday until 2pm Monday, when her body was discovered. One interesting element is this: she had five children of her own, but in this funeral home announcement, there’s no reference made to any type of father/significant other.

This is a longer-form magazine article

http://halifaxmag.com/cover/justice-delayed/

written two years after her disappearance with a scant smattering of clues. For example:

Connie spoke to Tanya in the afternoon and police estimate she died around 9 p.m. In the days after the murder, a man living near the school told a reporter he had seen a gang of men following a woman down an alley the night Tanya died.

There’s also this, which changes a lot of the context of the discussion:

Tanya grew up in Millbrook before running away to Toronto at 16. She later returned to Nova Scotia and raised her four boys and a girl, who today range in age from 10 to 21. When she was 30, a friend produced a needle and tempted Tanya with a better high than alcohol. “They say that if one needle, you like the feeling, then you’re hooked—if you don’t like the feeling, then no,” Connie says. “I guess she liked the feeling.”

The next few years were dominated by the search for more of the drug, likely heroin, which led to Tanya’s apparent stint in the sex trade. According to friends and family, Tanya was clean in spring 2009, planning to enroll at NSCC to take a new direction with her life.

There’s a series of unsolved murders tied to Halifax, dating back to 1955. Some are of Aboriginal women, and others are of locals:

It seems like what happened in the Tanya Jean Brooks case is this: initially, the case had a lot of steam because it was semi-sensational (mother of five found in a window well of a church school), but once the police uncovered more backstory around the drug use and sex trade and running away, the case gradually faded from active. There is a stigma around that — I know that sometimes when I research different things on Crimesider or other blogs, if I see a long history of drug abuse and running away, I’m less inclined to continue researching. It’s not necessarily that I view it as a “lost cause” but I also think that people who had time running in those circles can almost “disappear” more easily. It’s a shame that Tanya Brooks had those five children, and hopefully the culprits here — be it a gang of men or someone working alone — are found eventually.

Investigation continues in the murder of Tanya Jean Brooks

 

CTV Atlantic
Published Friday, May 9, 2014 6:46PM ADT

Saturday marks five years since the murder of Tanya Jean Brooks.

The body of the 36-year-old woman was found in a window well in a Halifax schoolyard.

The case has never been solved.

“I miss my daughter,” reads Connie Adams, from a poem she wrote for her daughter. “She meant the world to me; she was the brightest light that I’ll ever see.”

Brooks was the oldest of four children, with five children of her own.

“All that I want is justice, every day I’ll surely fight.”

Tanya Jean Brooks was murdered in May 2009.

A march was held as a tribute to Tanya, but also as a way of recognizing violence against Aboriginal women, and all women.

“I’m hoping that people take the message that we need to stop violence against women,” says Denise John, Friendship Centre Victim Services Navigator. “We need to educate our young women and our young men how to respect the women.”

The Deputy Chief of Halifax Regional Police addressed today’s crowd, encouraging those in the know, to do the right thing.

“Sometimes people, for different reasons, change their position they may have had in the past,” Deputy Chief Bill Moore explained. “That’s what we’re really trying to do now, is we’re reaching out to those individuals that may have information on this to contact us.”

The case is also part of the provinces major unsolved crimes program.

The justice department offers up to $150,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jacqueline Foster

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Local News and Events

Quebec's Truth Soldier

A Truth Soldier

Once Written

A Political Blog

geoengineeringcrimes

Crimes Against Mother Earth

White Lives Do Matter

Lets not be silent about the attacks on white peoples by black racists

THE CHRONONAUT REPORT

Your world...as I see it...

World War Three Reports

by A Truth Soldier

Rangitikei Enviromental Health Watch

Watching our environment ... our health ... and corporations ... exposing lies and corruption

Political Vel Craft

Veil Of Politics

COINTELPRO & the Truth About Organized Stalking & 21st Century Torture

“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face 
with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” J. Edgar Hoover on COINTELPRO

Humans vs Harper

Stephen Harper Election 2015 Politics Canada Conservative ABC Stop Harper

UZA - a people's courts court of conscience

a popular assembly in lawful defence of the 99%

O' Canada

Reflections on Canadian Culture From Below the Border

1EarthUnited

Uniting the world, One Love at a time. :D

skywatchMARL

SCIENCE. NOT FICTION. | BEWUSST.SEIN 2015

Justice for Germans

Exploring the little known, but true history of National Socialism, Hitler and WWII, what was really behind it, and seeking truth, justice and honour for the German people

A.C.T.I.V.E. TI Awareness Coalition and Registry

Stalking and Electronic Assault Advocacy

%d bloggers like this: