Cherokee Morning Song

Saturday, June 14, 2014

National disgrace? Marlene Bird attacked, burned but not national news

 June 13, 2014

First Nations woman Marlene Bird will have both legs amputated

A YWCA director wants to know why a horrific attack June 1 on First Nations woman Marlene Bird in the northern Saskatchewan city of Prince Albert isn’t national news.
Marlene Bird
Marlene Bird, First Nations woman and victim of a vicious assault June 1 in Prince Albert, Sask. Photo: Handout.
Marlene Darlene Bird was assaulted and burned in an attack outside a community centre in the city of 35,000 that is home to a large aboriginal population. The aunt of the homeless woman says her niece has been upgraded to stable condition.
Lorna Thiessen said that Marlene Bird was to have her second leg amputated on Thursday because it was “burned to the bone.”
Thiessen said Bird is in a critical burn unit and has extensive burns all over her body and has had several skin grafts.
Marlene Bird, who is 47, was first taken to hospital in Prince Albert, then transferred to Saskatoon and then to Edmonton’s University of Alberta Hospital.
Prince Albert YWCA executive director Donna Brooks said it’s appalling that Bird’s story hasn’t received attention outside of Prince Albert.
“If this attack would have happened to a middle class woman in a suburban Toronto neighbourhood, I guarantee you it would have been on the national news, I guarantee you that,” she said.
“But, because it happened in Prince Albert, it happened to an aboriginal woman who is a part of the homeless community, because of all those factors I don’t think it received the media attention it should.”

Police continue to investigate and have asked anyone with video surveillance footage of the area where Marlene Bird was found to hand it over to them.
Marlene Bird is conscious and Thiessen said she has been speaking, but is heavily sedated most of the time.
“When she comes out, she’s going to need living accommodations, she’s going to need support for probably prosthetics, and probably maybe a scooter, or things in that line.”
She said Marlene Bird will also need a place to live and a support system around her.
YWCA staff is collecting letters of support and financial donations for Bird and her family, and has mailed the first batch to her in Edmonton.
“It’s very important to show her that she matters, that what has happened to her has saddened a lot of people in our community and that she is important and there are a lot of people who care about her,” Brooks said.
The Edmonton YWCA has also stepped up by helping Bird’s family during their stay in the Alberta city.
On June 6, more than 100 people marched through downtown Prince Albert in Bird’s honour and against violence. The march culminated in a prayer at the spot where Marlene Bird was found.
With file from the Canadian Press

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