Content Warning: This article contains content about missing Indigenous kin, which may be triggering. Please read with care.
A 53-year-old Grandmother from Treaty 6 has begun a year-long journey by foot across Canada in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW).
Krista Fox and her team began their walk from lək̓ʷəŋən territory in what has been briefly known as, Victoria, B.C. on Feb. 18, with the plan to reach the Beothuk territory, in what has been briefly known as St. John’s, Newfoundland by December, according to a press release.
Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA are disproportionately targeted with violent crimes because of a genocide based on sexism and racism, a fact backed by both numerous reports and government inquiries, and by the lived experiences of Indigenous people.
“Our goal is to bring awareness to the severity of this human rights crisis that is surrounding MMIW and to generate more resources to find these women. Ultimately, we hope to see the numbers of MMIW decrease and for Indigenous women to repossess their rightful power and respect,” reads a statement from Fox’s team.
Elders and guest speaker Minister Loretta King from Metis Nation–Saskatchewan were invited to support the ceremonial send-off on Friday.
Fox is from North Battleford, Sask. For years, she has worked to raise awareness of and put an end to the disappearance and murders of Indigenous women and girls. Her advocacy includes organizing a yearly event in Saskatchewan to honour a family friend who went missing in 2018.
“Since Ashley Morin’s disappearance, Krista has been the spokesperson for the Morin family, which has included speaking to the media, organizing searches and spearheading annual 100-kilometre-long awareness walks from North Battleford to Saskatoon in Ashley’s honour,” reads Fox’s press release.
Organizers have calculated that $11.75 will be needed for each kilometre that Fox and her team walk. They have collected donated supplies, and held auctions to raise money, but they are also seeking direct financial support. As of publication, they had raised more than $24,000 of their $100,000 goal. Their GoFundMe page encourages donations big and small.
“Sponsor as many kilometres as you can. If that’s just one, that is OK, that is getting us one kilometre closer to our goal,” it reads.
Honour their names
According to a report from the RCMP, 1,017 Indigenous women and girls were murdered between 1980 and 2012, which is a homicide rate roughly 4.5 times higher than other women in Canada. Another 164 women were identified as missing in that time period. The Native Women’s Association of Canada has noted that the actual numbers are likely higher, and it is advocating for a formal database.
Fox uses social media to try and put a human face and voice to the hard statistics. In 2021 she asked Indigenous families to send her the names of their loved ones who’d gone missing, where she then read their names aloud in a series of videos she posted on TikTok.
“Just to remind people these are humans … I don’t like statistics,” she said.
“Please listen to the names of these loved ones.”
Kinship Note: Eden Fineday, a member of the IndigiNews team, has donated time to support Fox’s team with media communications.
If you are feeling distressed, please know that support is available. You can access emotional and crisis services within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society aims to provide a “non-judgmental approach to listening and problem-solving.” The crisis line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-588-8717 or go to kuu-uscrisisline.com. KUU-US means “people” in Nuu-chah-nulth.