I have many memories of long summers and winter holidays in my Mothers home community of Cross Lake Manitoba. It was the centre of my world before Hydro development forever changed the landscape and the people. My memories hold some of my greatest moments of joy and lifelong friendships. I always hold a connection to my family and the land and I am very protective of these memories of Cross Lake. Lorna Lynn Blacksmith and her family are from Cross Lake. It just rattled my being to know that such a young woman from my home had dissappeared from the streets of Winnipeg.
The media portrayed her as a sex trade worker – just another Aboriginal woman who was responsible for her own misfortune. Her community remembered her as a dedicated army cadet, strong and carefree young woman with dreams. With her family and community and many facebook friends, her picture was posted and reposted on facebook. We heard rumours that she was in Alberta. Community members went to Alberta to look for her. The Chief, Garrison Settee actively participated in efforts to find her and financially supported her family with the additional costs through this time. A facebook group was created, “Find Lorna Blacksmith” and each night, Cathy Merrick who is now Chief of Cross Lake would post a message of hope and conversation with Lorna. It was such a moving experience and an incredible example of how a community supports its members in stressful times. It was important to keep a public interest in finding Lorna Blacksmith, so I wanted to help the family and the community in doing this work.