Only the most naïve observer could ever believe a change in government would see an end to the poisonous political machinations characterizing the 2022 tragic death of four indigenous women in Manitoba, presumably at the hands of a serial killer. Jeremy Skibicki, aged 35, awaits trial.The change in government occurred when Wab Kinew’s NDP party defeated the ruling Progressive Conservatives led by Premier Heather Stefanson on October 3 last year, in a campaign partly fought over a search for the remains of the four missing women.Skibicki was first arrested on May 18, 2022, and charged with the first-degree murder of Rebecca Contois, 24. Her partial remains were found in a garbage bin near a downtown Winnipeg apartment building. Police later discovered the rest of her remains in the Brady Road landfill on the southern outskirts of the city.On December 1, 2022, Winnipeg police also charged Skibicki with the premeditated murder of Morgan Harris, 39, Marcedes Myran, 26, and an unidentified woman given the name Buffalo Woman by indigenous “knowledge keepers.” Their bodies have never been recovered. The charges may be based on DNA evidence presumably found in his apartment, the locale to which he is said to have lured these homeless women with the promise of access to drugs.Police said Harris, Myran, and Contois were killed in May 2022, but no dates were given. The unidentified victim is thought to have been killed on or about March 15, 2022.Intense petitioning for a landfill search for their remains began after a December 6, 2022, statement by Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth stating his forensic experts had made the “very difficult decision” not to search the Prairie Green garbage dump just north of Winnipeg for the remains of two of the missing women, Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran.A later RCMP report supported this decision.According to these authorities, a positive search can’t be expected, given the passage of time since the women’s remains were deposited in the landfill, compounded by the overwhelming amount of material later deposited at the site, including 1,500 tonnes of animal remains.The garbage was later compacted with 9,000 tonnes of wet, heavy construction clay.They also said searching could also be dangerous to workers due to potentially poisonous gases released at the landfill by decomposing waste and asbestos.But the danger of searching for and near impossibility of finding the remains of these murdered women, seemingly more cherished in death than they were in life by all and sundry, did nothing to prevent this heartbreaking misfortune from going into political and emotional overdrive.This is because taking no for an answer has never been accepted by grieving family members and their supporters. Led by the children and other relatives of the missing women and funded by indigenous organizations, lobbying for a search included months of meetings with politicians, press conferences, sloganeering, road marches, landfill blockages, encampments on public land, and cries of racism.The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and other indigenous organizations supported this process by asking the federal government for money to conduct its own feasibility study. Marc Miller, former Minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, allocated $500,000 to the AMC on February 8, 2023 to examine the feasibility of a search for the two women’s bodies.As expected, the AMC, which both championed a landfill search from the get-go and controlled all its features, appointed a Landfill Search Feasibility Study Committee whose nine-member Landfill Search Feasibility Study Oversight Committee was composed solely of indigenous politicians, representatives of the two affected families, indigenous activists, and elders — hardly a disinterested body of people.Their May 2023 report warned that though there are risks due to exposure to toxic substances and that a search could take up to three years and cost a whopping $184 million with no guarantee of success, it was nevertheless feasible.The objectivity of the study’s technical subcommittee needs to be questioned. Though it employed two forensic experts, less than two pages of the report reviewed the results of many previous forensic searches of landfills.Though cited in the study’s report, the well-known 2019 Paulsen and Moran study was given short shrift and saw its warning “A search should not be initiated if more than 60 days had passed between the body entering the landfill and the search being initiated,” arbitrarily softened to read “Paulsen and Moran (2019) caution initiating a search when more than 60 days has passed between the body entering the landfill and the search being initiated.”Though the story of this tragedy has been widely reported by the media, almost none have pointed out that such a search for human remains should be both headed and conducted by impartial, highly trained forensic police officers. But that’s not happening in this case.In early July 2023, Marc Miller elevated the political rhetoric by claiming the Manitoba government’s decision not to support a search was “heartless” and callous.“Heartless Heather” signs were on full display from then to the October 3, 2023 election, supported by spurious charges of anti-indigenous racism, doubtlessly helping the NDP regain political power.As for the NDP, Rob Kinew, its indigenous leader and first aboriginal premier in Manitoba, has always fully supported a landfill search.On October 3, a day after the Manitoba NDP won its majority government, new federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree provided $740,000 in funding for a second feasibility study to show “how to conduct a search safely.”The AMC leadership said it would soon submit copies of the just completed report to the provincial government and Winnipeg.Following this announcement, Premier Kinew said a search of Prairie Green for the remains of the two indigenous women could begin possibly during the winter months.“We’re going to make a serious good-faith effort on behalf of the families to show their loved one dignity and to support them achieving some semblance of justice,” the premier said in a recent interview this week with the Winnipeg Free Press.The NDP government has also determined what it will spend to search Prairie Green in consultation with indigenous leadership and the victims’ families who have been involved in the process, the premier said.Kinew refused to say how much the province has budgeted — only that it is far below the price tag discussed during the election campaign. This suggests funding may be contentious because the federal government has always said the province is solely legally responsible for the search.But the critical issue remains the feasibility of undertaking any excavation so long after the two named women were deposited in the landfill. If “A search should not be initiated if more than 60 days had passed between the body entering the landfill and the search being initiated,” according to impartial experts, what can be said about an excavation that requires “a minimum 6-month lead time,” according to the initial feasibility study? If the start date for the study were March 1 of this year, actual excavation would not begin before October 1. This would be 14 times the 60-day maximum, a guarantee surely, for recovering no human remains?If a useless search for human remains based solely on political and emotional pressure were not enough to discredit the political and passionate efforts of all those who zealously promoted it, what should be made of the parallel attempts by family of the allegedly murdered women to now involve the Manitoba Human Rights Commission?On January 11, Cambria Harris submitted a complaint on behalf of her mother Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and the unidentified woman known as Buffalo Woman accusing Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative party of discrimination, claiming officials violated the Human Rights Code when they ran election ads proclaiming their decision not to search the Prairie Green landfill.The claim, which Harris published on social media on January 15, highlights messaging used during the PC’s election campaign, employing phrases such as, “Stand firm against the unsafe $184 million landfill dig,” and “For health and safety reasons, the answer on the landfill dig just has to be no.”According to the claim, “The Progressive Conservative party, along with its leader [former premier Heather Stefanson, who stepped down as party leader on January 15], discriminated against Indigenous women, girls, (LGBTTQ+) people and their families based on their ancestry, gender identity, sexual orientation and sex by issuing public statements and signs with language that is demeaning and affronts the dignity of Indigenous women.”A second human rights grievance was also filed targeting the Province of Manitoba for “refusing to make the funds and resources available to search the Brady Road and Prairie Green landfills” for the remains of missing and murdered Indigenous people.Both complaints are predicated on allegations that provincial and party officials discriminated against indigenous people, an accusation coming straight out of the grievance foundations of critical race theory.A successful claim could yield a $25,000 windfall.How the current NDP government could be targeted for refusing to search the Prairie Green or Brady Road landfills (where the remains of Rebecca Contois were found under the rule of the PC government) when it is wholly committed to doing so boggles the mind.The complaint against the party cites section 18 of the Human Rights Code, which states, “No person shall publish, broadcast, circulate or publicly display, or cause to be published… any sign, symbol, notice or statement that discriminates or indicates intention to discriminate in respect of an activity or undertaking.”How such terminology could be termed a racist or discriminatory attack on indigenous women is incomprehensible.The charge of anti-indigenous racism has been propagandized using mantras like “we are not trash” by activists since Skibicki was charged with murder.It has no credibility because there are also thousands of missing white Canadians buried across the land whose remains are unknown or forgotten, buttressed by the fact that unlike cemeteries, the successful search of landfills for dead bodies is very low regardless of how long the remains have been buried.The human rights complaint alleges the ads stoked racial division and violence throughout the province and “set a precedent in Manitoba that it will not support searching for any Indigenous person who goes missing,” a falsehood shown by the successful search for Rebecca Contois in 2022.Harris said the advertisements were also a personal affront and offensive to all families of missing and murdered Indigenous people.“I saw (the ads) every single day and I was forced to stare at (them). It hurt. It’s distressing to, not only blast the families’ grief, but to politicize a national tragedy like that to gain political votes,” she said.Whether Cambria Harris feels hurt or not does not mean that the PC party attempted to hurt her or other indigenous people. And if anyone has politicized an issue whose twisted history has seen it repeated the first time as tragedy, the second as farce, it has been Ms. Harris and her supporters.Hymie Rubenstein is editor of REAL Indigenous Report and a retired professor of anthropology at the University of Manitoba.