Wednesday, August 27

Brianna Torvalson likely knew her killer: friend

Case of slain prostitute grows cold


August 27, 2008

One of the last people to see Brianna Torvalson alive is convinced she knew her own killer.

“Bri wouldn’t go with anybody unless she knew them,” Amber Gow told Sun Media today. “She was really paranoid.”

Torvalson, 21, was a heavy crack cocaine user and often resorted to prostitution to pay for her habit.

Her body was discovered on Feb. 21 near an acreage driveway in Strathcona County, near Township Road 534 and Range Road 220. Police have never revealed the exact cause of her death.

Gow, who’s been clean and sober for more than a year, used to party with Torvalson when she was an active drug user.

She lost contact with Torvalson when she cleaned up, but ran into her in Beverly less than two weeks before her body was found.

“She was going into a store at 118 Avenue and 47 Street,” Gow recalled. “We just chatted for a few minutes. She seemed less scruffy than when we partied together.”

However, Gow was surprised to see Torvalson in Beverly. Her usual haunt was the Fort Road area around 66 Street.

“It bothers me to think that she was there, so close to (Strathcona County, where her body was found),” Gow said.

Gow said that crack made Torvalson extremely paranoid. “If we were partying and there were two guys there with us, she’d be hiding in the bathtub.”

That’s why Gow can’t imagine Torvalson working on the street and getting into a car with a total stranger – even if she was high.

“When she was working,” she said, “she’d only go with guys she knew.”

But Gow says they had plenty of acquaintances who were capable of violence.

“We knew a lot of shady people. They’d jack people and do home invasions just to get money for more crack.”

However, Gow said, Torvalson would sometimes rip off strangers, promising would-be johns that she’d buy crack for them, only to disappear with their money.

Torvalson’s killing faded quickly from the spotlight. Her body was found just as the Thomas Svekla double murder trial was getting underway.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately, wondering what’s happening with the case, but I haven’t heard or seen anything in the media,” said Gow.

Svekla was convicted of killing Theresa Innes, but acquitted of the 2004 killing Rachel Quinney, whose mutilated body had been dumped in a field less than 3 km from where Torvalson’s was found.

Quinney, 19, was also a crack addict who resorted to prostitution. She, too, reportedly hung out in the Fort Road area.

Torvalson’s killing is being probed by Project KARE, an RCMP-led team investigating some 70 deaths and disappearances in Edmonton and northern Alberta of people who led high-risk lifestyles.

An RCMP spokesman could not be reached for comment today.

Human bones discovered in 'dumping ground'

Robin Collum
The Edmonton Journal

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Human bones have been found in a field east of Edmonton, the fourth body discovered in or around Strathcona County this year.

On Monday afternoon, a farmer was cutting a crop when he saw what looked like human bones at the edge of a field.

He immediately called the RCMP, who examined the remains and confirmed that they're human.

"It was skeletal remains," said RCMP spokesman Const. Wally Henry.

"It was close to a tree line and partially in a field.

"I don't know how spread out the remains were."

The remains were still at the scene, near range road 225 north of township road 542, on Tuesday afternoon.

RCMP won't be able to confirm the victim's age or gender until the medical examiner has looked at the bones, but Henry said investigators are working on the assumption that the bones are from an adult.

An autopsy has not yet been scheduled.

In February, the body of sex-trade worker Brianna Torvalson, 21, was found near Range Road 220 and Township Road 534.

In May, the bodies of two men were found near Lamont. On June 5, the body of a still unidentified native or Asian woman was found south of Sherwood Park.

Project Kare, the RCMP task force investigating the deaths or disappearances of people with high-risk lifestyles, is in charge of nine other female bodies found in the area since 1988.

So far, Project Kare isn't involved in this case, although investigators have been told about the latest body.

"As our normal course of action, PK has been advised of the fact that human remains have been found, but due the fact that details (aren't known) about the remains, they are not taking an active role in the investigation at this time," Henry said.

"We're not going to jump to any conclusions."

Still, area residents are feeling a sense of unpleasant deja vu.

"It's nerve-racking," said Deryle Tucker, who lives just east of where Monday's bones were found.

"We're just the dumping ground.

"When (Thomas) Svekla was captured, we were hoping that that was the end of it all."

In July, Svekla was convicted of murdering Theresa Innes, whose body was found in Fort Saskatchewan.

During the same trial, Svekla was acquitted on charges in the death of Rachel Quinney, whose body was found in Strathcona County.

"I think some people who live in the city their whole lives and they come just barely out into the country, they think they're in the middle of nowhere when they're dumping these bodies," Tucker said.

"But in reality, these bodies are being found just very close to all kinds of people.

"You think you would finally stop finding these bodies, but there's a lot of land out here."

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Project KARE

Thursday, August 21

Don draws on life experience

August 21, 2008
It's Felicity Don's unrelenting drive for compelling images that keeps her drawing the colourful characters living in the Downtown Eastside.

"It's this artistic greed," she explained, standing amid her imposing pastel portraits inside the Interurban Gallery at East Hastings and Carrall Streets. "I love the clothing and I love the expressions."

Don, one of Vancouver's few courtroom artists, displays her series of portraits as part of this weekend's Fearless Festival, billed as a celebration of art, music and theatre centred in Pigeon Park.

For Don, the exhibition is another tie to a neighbourhood she's been an integral part of for the past two decades, sometimes in serendipitous ways.

Last year, media outlets across Canada called on the artist as she sat metres from serial killer Robert Pickton, convicted of murdering six women with ties to the Downtown Eastside. She sketched his every gesture for the duration of the trial.
"It makes it a little bit more frightening ... because I've been with people who've been there [with Pickton's victims]," she said.

Still, the high-profile job hasn't brought the same kind of community recognition as her time sketching at the Carnegie Centre.
There, Don and her easel are welcome as she offers to sketch those who are willing.
"It's been a hell of struggle, but it's more of an uninhibited way of working," she said.

For more information, visit or

Copyright © 2008, Canoe Inc. All rights reserved

First Nations women targets of violence

With the memory of Daleen Bosse still fresh in her memory, assistant professor of Social Work at the First Nations University of Canada Sharon Acoose worries about the trend of violence against First Nations women in Canada that is killing so many people.


Tyler Clarke/Journal Staff
Wednesday August 20, 2008

With the memory of Daleen Bosse still fresh in her memory, assistant professor of Social Work at the First Nations University of Canada Sharon Acoose worries about the trend of violence against First Nations women in Canada that is killing so many people.

"She was a very good student and very passionate," Acoose said of Bosse, whom she met while they both attended the Saskatchewan Indian Federation College, now the First Nations University of Canada. Acoose also grew up with one of the women related to the Robert Pickton serial killing.
"When you know them it really hurts," she said.

According to a report by Statistics Canada, Aboriginal women are three to five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence. Amnesty International campaigner Craig Benjamin said this pattern is directly related to racism, and the historically racist attitude of the Canadian government. Through the denial of status to Aboriginal women, the Aboriginal scoop, wherein First Nations children were taken in great numbers into the government's social services programs, and the residential school system, First Nations people have been marginalized.

On the Daleen Bosse case, Benjamin said that Bosse was treated as just another First Nations runaway, and that police forces assumed she left on her own accord, and would return on her own, like most runaways.
"My recollection is the family reported that intensive search for evidence was delayed too long," Benjamin said. According to the Amnesty International website, although Bosse's vehicle was found June 4 2004, a forensic examination was not carried out until April 2005.

With regards to the failure of police to act on disappearing First Nations women, Benjamin said "there are some men who have taken advantage of that," which helps explain the higher numbers of violence against First Nations women than others.
Acoose, who worked the streets as a prostitute a lot earlier in her life, has similar accounts of police inactivity.
"They are inactive because they just don't care," she firmly said.

Acoose said she was raped while working as a prostitute. When she went to the police to report the rape, the impression she said they gave her was that she was a prostitute, and as such deserved to be raped.

When her brother was shot, Acoose said police responded with the same level of apathy.

Acoose recognizes some police officers tried their best to help, specifically with the Bosse case. Regardless, she said more officers need to begin caring.
Racism underlies all these issues, according to director of Indian Social Work at the First Nations University of Canada Yvonne Howse, and education has a lot to do with it.
"Look at the high school, how many deal with First Nations people, and how many in elementary and high schools, universities. Not very much," Howse said.
"It's the attitude of the country that First Nations have been treated like second-class people in their own country."

She said the fact that history is not being taught from First Nations perspectives helps foster this Euro-dominated mindset.
General racism, such as friends getting together and making racist comments, is an offshoot of this, which results in a much larger problem problem.
"Comments are made of wagon burners or other obscene names… How many people will hold each other accountable?" Not until it's unacceptable will people hold each other accountable, she said.

Howse said a recent example of this was the 2001 rape of a 12 year old First Nations girl in the Tisdale area, which Howse attended court for. She said she attended court because she "felt that young lady needed support and that people believe her."
On Sept. 30, 2001, it is alleged that three men picked up a 12 year old girl on the stops of a bar, gave her beer in their truck, and brought her into their truck. During the trail all but one of the three suspects were acquitted, a verdict Howse and many others disagreed with.

"I believe [the trail] should have never been over there, maybe in the city of Saskatoon," Howse said, as a lot of the people in the court proceedings knew each other. "Who knows what happened, but I think [the three suspects] should have been found guilty… I believe her."

Amnesty International's Craig Benjamin said that images of racism towards First Nations people are still prevalent in mainstream North American society. A video game from the early 80s called Custer's Revenge requires the player of the game to make their character rape a First Nations woman. This kind of thing, Benjamin said, is central to the dehumanization of First Nations women.
"Women's bodies are often a central part of that dehumanization," he said, adding that rape has long been a weapon of war, in that it humiliates the victim and makes the guilty party feel morally superior.
"Sexual abuse against Aboriginal women has a long history in our country… It's part of a much larger pattern."
"Racism is a horrible repressive behaviour, but it exists," Howse said. "There's no quick answer."
Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women's Circle Corporation president Judy Hughes said that some progress has been made with regards to awareness and understanding of First Nations culture, though a lot of work still has to be done.
"A lot of us experience [racism] on a daily basis… Racism seems to be fairly commonplace in Saskatchewan," she said, adding it's frequently the case that First Nations people are denied jobs by employers, and rental homes by landowners, based on their race.

Daleen Kay Bosse, 25 at the time of her disappearance, was a member of the Lloydminster-area Onion Lake First Nation. She was also an education student at the University of Saskatchewan with aspirations to become a teacher, as well as being a mother and wife. Douglas R. Hales, 30, of White Fox has been charged with her murder and offering an indignity to a body.

The Native Women's Association of Canada estimates that about 500 Native women have gone missing in the last 30 years in Canada, most of whom are still unaccounted for.
The Women's Circle Corporation, which serves all of Saskatchewan and helps First Nations women in various areas such as education, can be contacted at (306) 983-1228 or by e-mail at

© 2008 Nipawin Journal

Saturday, August 16

Missing Aboriginal Women Vigil

Search for the missing -- and for answers

Addressing the tragic issue of missing women entails a frank discussion about respect of individual rights and prevention of violence -- then turning words into action.

The Leader-Post

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The conference on missing women being held in Regina this weekend is more than a symptom of something wrong; it is a sign of something right: citizens banding together to educate themselves about this grim issue and try to do something about it.

The problem of social violence that makes members of our community into missing people is a complex one and one riddled with misconceptions -- the most harmful being that some women, in particular, court trouble by putting themselves in a dangerous situation, whatever than means. This is a classic example of "blaming the victim" rather than blaming the guilty -- that is, the perpetrator.

Regardless of their station in life, their race or their economic background, everybody has the right to a safe life.

And when those persons are reported missing, they also deserve a full and conscientious search.

That brings us to the second myth: that police are uninterested in missing persons cases. That is not so, as is dramatically illustrated by recent arrests in the cases of two missing Saskatchewan women, one from Fort Qu'Appelle and one from Saskatoon. Along with the recovery of human remains, these arrests bring a sad kind of closure to the families of the missing women.

One of the benefits of talking about this issue is that critics of the police are realizing how complex and time-consuming missing persons cases often are, how the list of suspects refuses to conform to stereotypes -- and how short of resources most police forces have been. When police investigators have the time and resources to focus intently on cases, the missing are generally found.

Also, despite what we see on TV, real-life police agencies are not crewed by psychics or miracle workers; real investigators need information from people who know something about disappearance. If marches and educational seminars raise our collective awareness of the missing persons issue in such as a way as to cause witnesses to give usable information to investigators, then they will have done important work.

Violence and missing persons ultimately stem from power imbalances: some people have physical power and want to bend other individuals to their will. The fact that reported violence stubbornly refuses to abate in our society illustrates how intractable a problem this is. It is as if every generation of Canadian women and men must be instructed anew on insisting upon their rights -- and on respecting those of others.

Talk alone isn't the answer to the problem of violence and missing persons in Canada and elsewhere. But talk that educates and raises consciousness is a necessary step toward solving, or at least reducing, it.

© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008

Saskatchewan missing persons

Hoping to make a difference

Heather Polischuk

Friday, August 15, 2008

CREDIT: Bryan Schlosser, Leader-Post
Participants in the Missing Women Conference gathered for the unveiling of a Bison Sentinel Memorial outside the First Nations University of Canada on Thursday.
Although Maria Campbell with Grandmothers for Justice has frequently stood up against injustice affecting aboriginal people in general, she admits she feels virtually powerless to combat a problem that is just as close to her heart: Violence against women.

"What happens I think is when we talk about that, I end up back in the middle of that violence and when I'm in the middle of that violence, I'm really vulnerable and I can't do anything," she said.

Campbell -- whose family and extended family includes six missing women, and who herself was a victim of violence -- addressed a group of people gathered at the First Nations University of Canada on Thursday, the opening day of the Missing Women Conference. Between now and Sunday, the conference will bring together family members of missing and murdered women from both Canada and Mexico, focusing in particular on indigenous women from the two countries.

"I think when we, together as two countries say, 'No more,' it's a much stronger stance, and I can see the people from Canada just being buoyed together by the people from Mexico and how in understanding that we share this, there can be a new strength and that's exciting," said conference co-chair Carla Blakley.

But she stressed this conference is not intended to be simply another opportunity for those concerned about violence against women to get together and discuss the problem that has led to hundreds of indigenous women in Canada going missing or being murdered.

"If it's just about talk about this issue, we have failed ...," Blakley said. "The goal is action. The goal is to make a difference, and that we don't just talk about this and theorize about why or what, but when we go back to our corners of the world on Monday, the world will look different."

One way to achieve that is through workshops that will be held on Sunday, at which time various groups -- including police, faith communities, activists, scholars and family members, among others -- will be asked to come up with some ideas on how to start making a change and confronting the racism and sexism Blakley said is at the root of these tragedies.

"We have to start bringing awareness about racism, and then how racism is intersected with sexism," she said. "When the two intersect, that's when we have brown-skinned women -- the bottom of the link -- things can happen to them and people don't really care, and they can blame them for it happening. And it is not acceptable in any vision of the world for that to happen."

Although Campbell admits it's hard for her and others to talk about, she said it's important that women begin to bring their victimization into the open in order to change things for future generations.

"I have no answers; I wish I did," she said. "I just know that we need to talk about misogyny because this was not a part of our way as aboriginal people and it was not a part of the way of white people ... If we don't talk about it, then we can't change it, we can't do anything about it. And we need to stop blaming each other as men and women and find a way to be able to get past that for our children."


Hear Maria Campbell talk more about issues facing women at

© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008

Arvide keeps fight alive

Kerry Benjoe

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Isobel Arvide, a journalist from Mexico City, urged those attending the Missing Indigenous Women conference on Friday to take action now before it's too late.

"You have to know who is killing these women and why they are being killed and why the people who kill them are not caught," said Arvide.

She said people have to open their eyes and stop turning their backs and thinking it's not their problem.

Arvide delivered a compelling message to the audience and urged all those to speak up and take a stand as she shared her personal story of activism.

Her journey for justice began 14 years ago when a close friend went missing in Juarez, Mexico, where hundreds of women have gone missing or disappeared according to Amnesty International.

She travelled to that city in hopes of finding her. What she discovered was that the situation was much larger than just one missing women.

Arvide, as a woman and a journalist, felt compelled to act and penned many articles that exposed the drug traffickers, corruption and violence.

In 2001 she wrote an article alleging links between state officials and organized crime. In 2006 she was sentenced to one year in jail and fined 200,000 pesos ($19,000 U.S.). The judge suspended the jail sentence and ruled that damage could be covered by the bail she had originally posted.

"Everything is so secure. You have a lot of security in these streets. You can walk the street. If you don't stop this (violence) everything is going to go down," said Arvide.

Although she can no longer be an investigative journalist and has five federal police officers assigned to her as personal body guards -- she has no regrets.

"I can look at mirror every morning and say, 'I am in peace with you.' I have to live with what I know how to do," said Arvide.

She has found ways to keep speaking up about the crime in the hopes of inspiring others into taking action.

Arvide has kept writing, authoring nine books, writing a column, participating in a radio program, and producing a television show. She pledges not give up her fight for justice. Although she lives with daily death threats, she said she will not leave Mexico.

"I believe you have to change things for the better," said Arvide.

She said it's important to shed light on the issue on violence against women and commends the conference organizers for creating a space for such dialogue.

"You have to tell society that things are happening. It's the only way to prevent them from happening again," said Arvide.

She said the issue of missing and murdered women is society's problem and has nothing to do with gender. Arvide advises Canadians to protect all that they have by taking a strong stance on crime.

"If they can do it without punishment they will do it again and again and again," said Arvide.

"You have to have zero tolerance of all crimes. That's the only way."

She said things have gotten worse in Juarez because those perpetrating the crimes are not being punished.

"In my country it started with the women," said Arvide.

© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008

Mexican mothers share stories at conference on missing women

Heather Polischuk
Saskatchewan News Network

Saturday, August 16, 2008

REGINA -- Despite being separated geographically, Canada and Mexico share some terrible tragedies: Both countries are coping with the disappearances of numerous young women.

On Friday, two mothers from Mexico shared their stories during the Missing Indigenous Women Conference in Regina.

"We are united, no matter what the distance is," said Paula Flores to a thunderous round of applause from those gathered at the Conexus Arts Centre's convention hall.

Flores, who is from Juarez, Mexico, spoke through a translator as she relayed the story of the disappearance of her 17-year-old daughter, Maria. Maria was working at a factory with her father and sister when she disappeared in April 1998.

"When my daughter didn't return home, I knew something bad had happened," Flores said.

A body, later identified as Maria (although the methods used by authorities left the family in some doubt as to whether the body was actually Maria's), was found two weeks later. Flores later discovered her daughter had been kidnapped, raped and murdered.

Like Flores, fellow Juarez resident, Eva Arce, knows the pain of having a daughter suddenly go missing. Arce's daughter, Silvia, was 29 when she disappeared in March 1998 while selling cosmetic products and jewelry as a street vendor in Juarez.

"It's been a long struggle and we still don't know her whereabouts . . . ," Arce said, also through a translator. "I spent a long time searching for her. I went to bars, dance places, restaurants, and I couldn't find her."

Both mothers took on the role of amateur sleuths when police and other authorities were of little assistance. In Arce's case, information she came upon told her that the chief of police himself was directly involved in her daughter's disappearance, perhaps explaining the reluctance of the other police to do anything.


© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

Friday, August 15

26 missing lives

Change attitude to protect aboriginal women

Doug Cuthand
The StarPhoenix

Friday, August 15, 2008

The case of Dahleen Bosse Muskego, another missing aboriginal woman, has come to a tragic end. After a four-year search, her remains were found near Warman. A suspect has been arrested and the legal process has begun.

How many times have we heard this story repeated in the past few years? Sadly, this is all too common. Aboriginal women are treated as if they have little value. To many men, both non-aboriginal and aboriginal, the lives of these women are held cheap.

I knew Dahleen Bosse. I directed a documentary in 1998 that included her. The documentary, The Circle of Voices, was about a group of young people that wrote and mounted a play based on their personal experiences. The project was developed by the fledgling Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company.

Dahleen was one of about a dozen young people in it who were creative and focused on their future. She wanted to go to university to become a teacher, but marriage and a baby would delay that goal for a couple of years. She was a young woman from a good family who was starting out on her life's journey.

Sadly, she would become another missing aboriginal woman and her name would become a household word.

A report released by Amnesty International in 2004 brought the issue into stark reality. According to the report, aboriginal women aged 25 to 44 are five times more likely than other Canadians to die of violence. Over the past 30 years, more than 500 aboriginal women have gone missing in Canada.

The predators target those whom they perceive to be the weakest and most vulnerable. They believe that nobody will miss their victims. In some ways they are a product of a society that dismisses aboriginal women with the pejorative term, "squaw." This is our equivalent of using the "N" word to describe Afro-Americans. It's a derivative of the Cree word, iskwew, which means "a woman."

But our people, mainly the women, have been pushing back. There have been marches and vigils held for the missing women. Aboriginal women conducting a "Walk for Justice" left Vancouver on June 21 and will arrive in Ottawa on Sept. 12. They have scheduled a full day on Sept. 15 to present a petition and publicly address key issues.

Each summer in Saskatoon a vigil and walk is held for missing aboriginal women. A list of women missing or killed by violence, suicide or drug overdose is read aloud. This is a moving experience and brings the issue to a jarring reality.

Dahleen's mother, Pauline Muskego, and Gwenda Yusicappi, the mother of Amber Redman whose body was found this spring after she disappeared in 2005, deserve recognition for the fight they put up to have their daughters' cases remain in the public eye. In doing so, they and the other mothers involved raised the profile of the entire issue. Pauline Muskego put a face on the issue of missing women, and her pain has been shared over the past four years as she held an annual walk from her reserve in Onion Lake to Saskatoon.

An important lesson in this sad story is the success that was achieved by the co-operation among the Saskatoon Police Service, the RCMP and the family. According to FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph, Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill went out to the Onion Lake reserve on at least two occasions to meet with the family and community to brief them on the progress of the investigation.

It's clear that our people need to co-operate with the police forces and rely on them to do their job. In the past, there has been tension and distrust between the two parties, with aboriginal people reluctant provide information to the police. Our people now have to use the police forces to address the internal violence in our community. Gang violence and spousal abuse should be treated with zero-tolerance.

Violence against women is an issue where no group can claim the moral high ground. It is wrong to view violence against aboriginal women as an outside phenomenon. It is not simple racism. Those elements exist, but it would be a mistake to see it as a simple us versus them.

Amnesty International also raised some key points about internal violence within the aboriginal community. For example, aboriginal women were three times more likely to be victims of spousal violence in 2003, and up to 75 per cent of survivors of sexual assault are young aboriginal women under 18 years old. A disturbing 50 per cent of victims are under age 15.

The reasons are complex. It amounts to racism on the part of some, but for aboriginal men, it is an issue of power and control.

It's time the men did some soul-searching and examined their attitudes toward women. Murder and violence against women is a product of the racism and sexism that exist beneath the surface of society. Women can march and demonstrate, but it is the men who must change.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

Thursday, August 14

Regina's 'North of Dewdney' project the focus of documentary.

Kerry Benjoe

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

REGINA -- Monica Fogel believes that drama and art have powers to provoke, enlighten, empower and inform.

Last year she created the play North of Dewdney with the Voices of Change Theatre Ensemble, which tackles the issue of missing, murdered and exploited aboriginal women. Although Fogel believes the play's message is important she thinks it's equally important to provide opportunities for youths to express themselves through the arts.

Matthew Hannah-Munns was only 12 years old when he first got involved with one of Fogel's projects called Beauty within the Beast. Ten years later he teamed up with Fogel again for the North of Dewdney project.

"(Fogel) basically got me into acting," said Fogel. "After that I just loved it so much that I went into it in high school and outside of (high school)."

Hannah-Munns said after that first project he saw a change in himself, which he credits to being on stage.

"You get a lot more self esteem for yourself, at least I did," he said. "It gave me the courage to get up in front of people and not be so worried about what they were thinking."

Not only did acting help him build his self esteem it also provided him with a positive outlet in which to express himself.

"Personally it helped if you were angry at something and if you went into play practice you could take out that anger in a constructive way," said Hannah-Munns.

He said getting involved in the theatre has also helped him understand social issues. He said prior to the North of Dewdney play he didn't know that much about the issue of missing and exploited women. He said taking on different roles and getting a message across to the audience is what he finds most interesting about acting.

"It doesn't really matter who you are, but what you get across and how you get it across," he said.

Hannah-Munns believes he would have eventually found his way to the theatre but meeting Fogel provided him with an early introduction to acting.

"The first time that I did take part I didn't feel pressured or anything. I didn't have that whole school situation where if I had started there I would be worried about peer pressure or whether or not I'm good," he explained.

He said another positive aspect of acting is meeting people and being a role model.

Fogel believes strongly that performing arts is a way to reach youths. She said working with youths like Hannah-Munns just reinforced what she already knew. Fogel said there is a real need for a performing arts school because project-based funding is very limiting.

Throughout her 10 years of working with youths she's worked with young people from all socio-economic backgrounds and the results have always been the same. Fogel said young people come out changed because they are able to develop the tools they need to express themselves.

The North of Dewdney project has been transformed into a documentary and will be aired Friday and Saturday during the International Indigenous Missing Women's Conference. Show times are Friday at 7 p.m. in the Luther College Auditorium and on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Room 215 at Luther College. Admission is free.

© Leader-Post 2008

Thursday, August 7

Winnipeg police seek young woman missing 2 weeks

CBC News
August 6, 2008

Police are asking for the public's help in locating a Winnipeg woman who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

Claudette Osborne, 21, was last seen in the area of Selkirk Avenue and Charles Street, in the city's North End neighbourhood, on July 24, and she is "known to frequent that area," police said.

Osborne, who also goes by the name Penny, is described as five feet seven inches tall, weighing about 145 pounds.

She has long, black hair and was last seen wearing black pin-striped pants and a black v-necked T-shirt with a ruffled collar.

Anyone with information on Osborne's whereabouts is asked to contact the police's missing persons unit at (204) 986-6050 or the police non-emergency line at (204) 986-6222.

Copyright © CBC 2008