Native activists concerned about the high number of missing or murdered women in Canada started a cross-country journey from Vancouver on Saturday to pressure provincial and federal governments to do more to keep women safe.

The group -- called Walk4Justice -- will make stops more than 20 cities on its way to present a petition on Parliament Hill in Ottawa by mid-September, said Gladys Radek, who is organizing the journey.

"We are walking it for the women," said Radek, whose niece Tamara Lynn Chipman vanished three years ago from Highway 16 near Prince George - a road dubbed The Highway of Tears because police say at least 18 women have gone missing there.

According to the group, more than 3,000 women and girls have disappeared or been killed in Canada in the past ten years -- most of them aboriginal.

That's far too many, said Bernie Williams, whose mother and two sisters were murdered in Vancouver's downtown eastside.

"We want to put a message out that this is not acceptable," said Williams.

"We've rallied and marched for years and years and we've had enough they're not hearing us," she said.

The provincial and federal governments need to launch a public inquiry into why so many women vanish or are killed, she said.

The march was launched today to coincide with National Aboriginal Day.

One of their first stops will be in Port Coquitlam, to the gates of the farm belonging to convicted serial killer Willie Pickton. Pickton was found guilty of killing of six women, and faces charges of murdering 20 more.

Walk4Justice will collect signatures on a petition to that effect and present the petition to the federal government in Ottawa, she said.

"We're not going to stand down until that happens and people understand that the murdered and missing are grandmothers, aunties, sisters," she said.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jina You