WE’KOQMA’Q: On the one-year anniversary of the death of Cassidy Bernard, approximately 150 people stood along a stretch of Trans-Canada Highway 105 near the We’koqma’q First Nation.
Standing along the road for one-hour-and-12-minutes, one second each for the estimated 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and an extra 365 seconds for every day the family has waited for justice, last Thursday the group demanded one thing – answers.
The subsequent RCMP investigation into the 22-year-old’s death is ongoing, police have called the death suspicious but no new information has been released.
Cassidy’s mother, Mona Bernard, indicated its frustrating and difficult waiting for answers.
“It’s heartbreaking really, to have to go another day without knowing,” she said. It’s terrifying to know it’s a whole year and I don’t know. I get through, with the girls.”
One painful memory Mona continues to struggle with is the moment she found her daughter’s body.
Returning home from visiting family for a few days, something felt off to Mona when the door was still locked in the middle of the morning, the house was silent, and Cassidy hadn’t returned her calls or responded to text messages.
She discovered Cassidy’s cold body tucked in bed, propped up, with makeup on. Cassidy’s six-month old twin daughters were laying motionless in their crib but were ultimately unharmed.
Darian Cremo said the past year has been very traumatic, not just for the family but the whole community, as there is fear and she hoped the rally was able to build awareness and get answers surrounding the death of her first cousin.
“We’ve been patient for this long, and we just want answers – that’s all we want,” she said. “We just want answers so we can breathe right, it’s been a hectic year. All we can do is pray for answers and that’s all we do, everyday.
Donald Morrison, of Eskasoni First Nation, indicated he was supporting the cause because one of his daughters went missing in 2005, when she was just 17-years-old and it really hits his heart when there’s nothing being done about it.
“It really means a lot to me, to support the group, the cause. It’s not just for my daughter or Cassidy but it’s for all the women, men, children that have gone missing,” he said. “The families have heavy hearts still to this day after so many years – it really hurts.”