Women’s resource worker calls for Highway of Tears monument to missing and murdered women
‘I think as a community we need to step up and help families with the burden of grief’
By Andrew Kurjata, CBC News Posted: Dec 06, 2017 4:58 PM PT Last Updated: Dec 06, 2017 5:01 PM PT
For 12 years, an annual walk has been organized in memory of Tamara Chipman and other women and girls who have gone missing or were murdered along Highway 16 in northwest B.C. (Briar Stewart/CBC)
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A women’s resource worker in Terrace, B.C. would like to see a permanent memorial built for the missing and murdered women and girls of the Skeena Valley, including the stretch of road known as the Highway of Tears.
Adrianne Davidson of the Terrace Women’s Resource Centre Society said the idea came to her after seeing a monument erected in Quesnel, B.C. to honour victims of violence in that city.
“Other places back east, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan have them,” Davidson said. “We don’t really have anything.”
In 2010, the Quesnel Women’s Memorial Monument was erected to recognize women there who were murdered, went missing or were victims of violence. It is one of dozens of memorials across the county. (Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre)
Terrace is located along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. The road is often referred to as the Highway of Tears because of the number of women, primarily Indigenous, who have gone missing or were murdered along or near it since 1970.
That, coupled with Terrace’s position as a hub for the region, makes it important for the city to recognize the women and families who have suffered because of violence, Davidson said.
“I think as a community we need to step up and help families with the burden of grief,” she said.
Davidson has held community meetings and is reaching out to families and survivors for input on what form such a monument might take.
Memorial to Missing and Murdered Women
In partnership with local community members, organizations and family, YVC (Youth Volunteer Corps under the guidance of Volunteer Terrace) would like a permanent memorial to murdered and missing women in Terrace and sunken memorial garden
Terrace is seen as a hub of activity, resources and services. Unfortunately, it is also known for its infamous “Highway of Tears”, highway 16. As you know, along this highway, many women have gone murdered and missing.
YVC would be asking for the partnership of the City of Terrace in order to realize this memorial in the next several years. We have attached similar memorial ideas found in Quesnel, BC, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. After talking to the community, there have been several possible ideas proposed: a totem pole, a stone carving, a woven basket etc. The money for the memorial would come from ongoing support, grant funding and other local community donations.
YVC proposes the memorial is in a highly visible area (ie: downtown area, City Hall, Millennium Trail) to create awareness for while honoring the missing and murdered women. With the support of local Indigenous groups and go ahead from the City, YVC would like the Memorial to be on City property.
YVC would also like a sunken garden to surround the memorial garden (see attached for mock up). We have commitments from the Leisure Department with the City of Terrace and local companies to help supply materials and expertise for creating a green space.
As First Nations and non-indigenous allies and volunteers, we feel that we am in the position to present this proposal. YVC has been working under the guidance of two aboriginal women, Nisgaa and Metis and working closely with Gladys Radek, local Aboriginal advocate and Aunt to Tamara Chipman, one of the missing women. We have connected with local First Nations communities, held a fundraiser, several committee meetings and have been receiving help from a
This issue is timely with the current National Inquiry to Murdered and Missing Women, and other current events like the Tina Fontaine case. We need to step up as allies, good members of society and community members and take notice. I believe this is one of another important steps moving toward Truth and Reconciliation.
This issue affects us all. As a community we feel the communal grief of these tragedies. It is time to stand together, to recognize and to honor our murdered and missing women.
To donate to this project please visit https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/36092