Isn’t that an interesting name? Whiskeyjack. She won’t be using it much now that she was murdered on Friday night.

The 42 yr. old, short, aboriginal woman, raced into the hall of Main Rooms near Main & Powell St. just before midnight, screaming that she had been stabbed. She made it down the stairs to the street where she collapsed. Other tenants called 9-1-1 but Whiskeyjack died in hospital an hour later.

Whiskeyjack, according to Carnegie members, was a drug addict. She was stabbed just 2 1/2 blocks away from controversial projects for addicts that have drawn world attention to the Downtown Eastiside: the supervised drug injection site and the free heroin dispensing project. But whether she used these services is unknown.

Several patrons and staff at Carnegie Center knew Whiskeyjack, as she used to come around. She apparently picked up her mail there, as a regular recalls seeing the name “Whiskeyjack” on the list at the reception desk for people who use Carnegie as their mailing address.

Whiskeyjack was stabbed multiple times, according to the media. The rumor at Carnegie Center is that she was stabbed in the neck. Paramedics would have been close by as the Fire Hall is at the end of the block where she collapsed.

Whiskeyjack’s boyfriend is a suspect. The word on the street just after the murde was that he is hispanic, although that has not been confirmed.  [Police say there are many hispanic illegals on the Downtown Eastside selling drugs. Even the other drug dealers are fed up with these illegals. They tell them to scram because they are quick to draw “heat”.] 

The Main Rooms is a drug scene. About three years ago, just before Christmas, Downtown Eastsiders walking into the Univeristy of B.C. Learning Exchange next door to use the free public access computers saw evidence of this. They watched as half a dozen bodies were carried down onto the street from the Main Rooms. All had died from the same batch of drugs in the same room.

The Main Rooms, like numerous low-rent rooming houses on the Downtown Eastside, is owned by Betty Woo. Woo has a reputation amongst longtime Downtown Eastside residents for being a good landlord, believe it or not. She is occasionally around the Downtown Eastside with her husband Jimmy who sometimes carries a repair kit.

“It was like an episode of CSI,” a Carnegie regular repeatedly said of the scene on Saturday, the day after the murder. “People in white outfits were going into the Main Rooms and there were police vans and trucks.”

The forensic team was working the scene again on Sunday. “It was like CSI,” the Carnegie regular said again. “They were carrying out bags of evidence. There was a woman taking off her white suit. She was real beautiful, just like you’d see on CSI. She was putting on her glasses; I was trying not to stare at her. She was opening little drawers in the back of the police van just like in CSI.”

Watching the forensics team back on Sunday, this onlooker, a white guy, said twice that he was pleased to see that the police were not taking the attitude that Whiskeyjack’s life was cheap. Vancouver Police have been accused for years of displaying this attitude towards the lives of women in the Downtown Eastside underclass while a serial killer appeared to be targeting them, resulting in the current infamous Pickton trial. “They’re taking this real serious,” the onlooker said of Whiskeyjack’s murder. “They’re not treating this like, ‘Ahh, just another dead Indian druggie.’ ”

Whiskeyjack is a bird, a Canadian jay. It is unknown whether Marilyn Whiskeyjack was Cree but according to the Canadian Gage dictionary, “whiskeyjack” is adapted from a Cree word.

For an update on the Marilyn Whiskeyjack murder, see Downtown Eastside Enquirer

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