Feb 8, 2024
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The Tragedy of the Highway of Tears: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada

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The Highway of Tears it is a 724-kilometer (447 mi) stretch of Highway 16 in British Columbia, Canada, that has been the site of numerous disappearances and murders of mainly Indigenous women and girls since the 1970s. It is a horrific tragedy that has deeply impacted the lives of individuals, families, and communities. The Highway of Tears runs between Prince George and Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia.


Key facts about the Highway of Tears

  • The exact number of victims is unknown, but estimates range from 20 to 40, with the majority being Indigenous women and girls.
  • The investigation into these cases has been hampered by various factors, including lack of resources, inadequate police procedures, and systemic racism.
  • There have been ongoing calls for justice for the victims of the Highway of Tears, including demands for a national inquiry, improved public transportation options, and better protection for Indigenous women and girls.

The Highway of Tears is a stark reminder of the ongoing violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada and around the world. It is important to remember the victims and their families, and to continue to fight for justice and change.

Suggested reasons for the prolonged occurrence of the crimes and the slow progress in identifying perpetrators encompass factors such as economic deprivation, substance abuse, prevalent domestic violence, detachment from traditional customs, and the fragmentation of family structures due to the foster care system and the Canadian Indian residential school system. The absence of sufficient public transportation exacerbates the issue, particularly in northern regions where there is a scarcity of bus services connecting communities with urban centers.

Consequently, individuals, often lacking personal vehicles due to financial constraints, resort to hitchhiking as their primary means of transportation for essential purposes like visiting relatives, commuting to work or school, or accessing medical care. This reliance on hitchhiking exposes them to significant risks, compounded by the lack of viable alternatives provided by the British Columbia provincial government.

Resources for more information about the Highway of Tears

  • The Carrier Sekani Family Services: [https://highwayoftears.org/]
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia: [https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/highway-of-tears]
  • The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: [https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/]
Canada · North America

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