Helen Betty Osborne, a Cree Aboriginal, was born in Norway House, Manitoba. In 1971, she joined a government programme in which families were paid to home Native students; she was sent to live with a Caucasian family, the Bensons, in The Pas, Manitoba, when she was 19-years-old. She attended Margaret Barbour Collegiate nearby to study to become a teacher and settled in within the community and made numerous friends. Sadly, her hopes of becoming a teacher were stolen from her on 13 November, 1971. She had spent the evening with her friends at a local cafe before deciding she would go downtown with her friends for a few drinks. At around midnight, her friends returned home without Helen. It’s unknown what happened to her between 12am and 2:30am, but at approximately 2:30am, Helen was abducted and brutally murdered - she had been raped, severely beaten and stabbed over 50 times with a screwdriver. Her naked body was discovered the following day by a local teenager. The case remained unsolved until 16 years later when four Caucasian men from the Pas, Dwayne Archie Johnston, James Robert Paul Houghton, Lee Scott Colgan and Norman Bernard Manger, were implicated on her brutal murder. Regardless of the evidence against them, only Johnston was convicted - Houghton was acquitted, Colgan received immunity for testifying against Houghton and Johnston, and Manger was never charged. Due to the circumstances surrounding her death and the shoddy investigation, the case became the subject of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry - they discovered that the injustice was the direct result of racism, sexism, and indifference.
The rest of your life is a long time and whether you know it or not it’s being shaped right now. You can choose to blame your circumstances on fate or bad luck or bad choices or you can fight back. Things aren’t always going to be fair in the real world, that’s just the way it is but for the most part you get what you give. Let me ask you all a question. What’s worse not getting everything you wished for or getting it but finding out it’s not enough? The rest of your life is being shaped right now with the dreams you chase, the choices you make and the person you decide to be. The rest of your life is a long time and the rest of your life starts right now.