Magazine article New Internationalist

The Scandal of Canada's 4,000 'Disposable' Women

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Scandal of Canada's 4,000 'Disposable' Women

Article excerpt



As Canadians from all walks of life gather on 21 June to celebrate the country's First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, one group of activists will embark on a 4,000-kilometre journey to draw attention to the fate of more than 4,000 missing and murdered aboriginal women, whose cases have been ignored by the mainstream media and the justice system.

Bernie Williams is one of the women who will be walking the highways of Canada, meeting along the way families of the missing and murdered women and then bringing their stories to the attention of the federal government when the group arrives in Ottawa on 19 September.

Williams was inspired in the 1980s by the advocacy work of women such as indigenous rights activist Hariet Nahanee and social justice campaigner Phillipa Ryan, who raised awareness of the plight of the indigenous community's most vulnerable women.

'They were brave, courageous women who gave me the tools to do this work. These women made noise about missing and murdered women in the downtown eastside but no-one listened. They started keeping data. We now believe there are more than 4,000 women missing or murdered across Canada.' Williams' mother and two sisters are among them, and she also has other relatives who have gone missing on the Highway of Tears, as a 734-kilometre stretch of road in northern British Columbia notorious for disappearances has been dubbed. Williams co-founded Walk4Justice with colleague Gladys Radek in 2008. …

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