BY BILL PHILLIPS
For Brenda Wilson it’s always been a personal story.
Twenty-three years ago she became forever linked to the ongoing Canadian story of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Twenty-three years ago her sister Ramona was murdered along the Highway of Tears so Tuesday’s annual Women’s Memorial March is a time for remembrance and creating awareness.
“We’re bringing awareness to the missing and murdered all across Canada, but mostly representing northern British Columbia because there hasn’t been a lot of recognition here in northern B.C.,” she said before the march which started at the Prince George Courthouse and wound up at the Prince George Friendship Centre.
About 100 people took part in the march Tuesday afternoon. Brenda, who is a coordinator for the Highway of Tears Initiative, said they still don’t have firm numbers on the numbers of missing and murdered in northern B.C.
“That is something that we’re still working on,” she said. “This is such a delicate issue that we need to tread softly when we’re looking for information. Some of the families, in their own time, will come forward and let us know what happened to their loved ones.”
Ramona Wilson was murdered in Smithers in 1994. She was missing for 10 months before her body was found.
“We had the opportunity to bury her and putting her to rest,” said Brenda. “Many of our families don’t have that opportunity where they can bury their loved ones because some of them are still missing.”
The federal inquiry into missing and murdered women is welcome news, said Brenda, even though it has been a long time coming.
“It’s been 10 years,” she said. “All we can do is be grateful for the process and that it’s starting to happen … We’re still going to have to be very patient over the next few months.”
She added there have been successes over the past 10 years, pointing to the 32 recommendations stemming from the Carrier Sekani Family Services symposium. Another success has been the bus service that has just launched out west and will eventually link Prince George to Prince Rupert.
“We’re very happy with that,” she said, adding she was on the first bus earlier this year. “It was just a great feeling. It was so emotional and I was so delighted at the same time.”