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Highway of Tears

Long before the French and British sailed to Canada to cut down the wood and inhabit the land there were of course indigenous people living there. Europeans called these people Indians, modern-day Canadians use the respectful term First Nations but does respectful language also mean respectful treatments?

In this VPRO special we see Dutch reporter Emy Koopman travel to the town of Smithers, in British Columbia to talk to the families of indigenous girls who have been killed. In Canada, indigenous women are six times more likely to die violently than white women.

It is the summer of 2019, a time of a heartbreaking anniversary one of the girls from this community Ramona Wilson was found dead 25 years ago. Ramona’s case has still not been solved. But she is not alone, in British Columbia women and girls have been going missing since the 1970s. It is estimated that over 40 girls have disappeared, most of whom belonged to the indigenous population.

Is this the result of more than a hundred years of colonial policy? A practice that saw indigenous children snatched from their families to be placed in boarding schools.

Directed by: Hans Pool

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  1. # 1 women go missing no matter the race, you don’t see separate things done for asian heritages, or whites, or Iranian etc. In order to lesson incidents, everyone must not continue putting themselves in those positions to begin with. Nothing the government can do about that as it is a personal choice.

    #2 it said Christian…..it was not all “whites” it was the Catholic Churches

  2. “Is this the result of more than a hundred years of colonial policy? A practice that saw indigenous children snatched from their families to be placed in boarding schools.”

    Uh, no. Women, men, boys, girls disappear all over the world not just in rural Canada and it’s not a result of some colonial policy.

  3. 10:20 I wonder when this doc clip being shown in the context of another documentary was filmed. From the announcer’s timbre and the language he uses, I’d guess the late 1940s or 50s. What we’re being shown is a “demonstration village” of the Gitsan (?) First Nation for the benefit of TOURISTS. They claim it to be a matriarchial societal structure, then the chieftain says “our women are not protected.” Who is supposed to protect them? The kneejerk answer could be “their MEN are supposed to protect them” — even in a matriarchial society, there is still war and violence. However, I get the spooky feeling that she thinks the GOVERNMENT should protect the indigenous women — an ideology I believe is 180 degrees opposed to correct … their MEN are supposed to protect them!

    At 14:30 a weeping woman bewails the fact that no one is protecting them. What of your families? Don’t they have MEN in them? Your men are supposed to protect you. Don’t expect “society” at large to protect you, your own LOCAL society — bound to your families — is supposed to do that. The white society’s example of police forces doesn’t always work; but your family members will always protect you.

    • Sorry but that was a huge generalisation! Maybe in some make-believe world somewhere and decades ago yeah, you’d be right in that statement but definitely not in 2022 I’m sad to say.

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