They gathered from First Nations communities along the Highway of Tears, the road leading from Prince George to Prince Rupert in central British Columbia.†They beat drums as they marched and carried pictures of their missing and murdered loved ones, all Aboriginal women who had disappeared without a trace.
Her voice choking with emotion, one woman sobbed, “My little girl said, ‘Donít worry. Iíll be home.’ And she blew me a kiss, and she said, ‘I love you.’ That was the last time I seen my little girl.”
The year was 2006, and the families were marching to Prince George to demand justice for their lost family members. In the five years since, though more women have disappeared, not one case has been solved. In September 2011, Wally Opal, head of the B.C. Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, traveled the highway, meeting with communities whose daughters, sisters and aunts were among the victims. The terrible question hangs over their losses: Would the RCMP have acted swifter and more diligently had the women been white?
Karen Whonnock, of B.C’s Moricetown band, told the inquiry that RCMP officers stop vehicles to check on seat belts or look for illegally caught fish, but they never stop vehicles when an Aboriginal woman goes missing. A CBC news story quotes her: “It really states…illegal fish is a higher priority than a native life.”
Photo from marbla123 via Flickr Creative Commons
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