On August 17, 2014, the body of fifteen-year old runaway Tina Fontaine was found in Winnipeg’s Red River. A tragedy for Tina’s family and community on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve, her murder also became a symbol for the racial and gender discrimination which Canada has never properly addressed. Indigenous women in Canada are four times as likely to be murdered or go missing than other Canadian women, and these cases are often left unsolved. But the unusual police detective in charge of Fontaine’s case was determined to find her killer.
Joanna Jolly chronicles Fontaine’s troubled life, from her childhood with her father and great-aunt on the reserve, to her harrowing descent into drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and death. And Jolly tells the incredible story of the meticulous police investigation and headline-grabbing trial that followed the discovery of her body.
Tina Fontaine is not just a statistic. And Red River Girl is not only a riveting true crime story, but a portrait of a community, an expose of inequality in a country we think of as a liberal haven, and a celebration of the indigenous women, community leaders and activists who are fighting back.