Cross-Canada walk to raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women
VANCOUVER -- The disappearance of a family friend has inspired an Indigenous woman to walk across Canada to fundraise and raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Krista Fox says she spent many hours sitting at her kitchen table wondering how she could help when 31-year-old Ashley Morin, a member of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, disappeared from North Battleford, Sask. in July 2018. A year after Morin disappeared, the RCMP declared the disappearance a homicide, but Morin was never found.
Fox was a spokesperson for the family but still felt helpless.
“I just got this crazy idea that it’s time to make a bigger difference,” an emotional Fox told CTV Morning Live from her North Battleford home on Thursday.
“It’s time to connect with more families, to learn their struggles, to see if we’re all struggling through some of the same things,” said Fox.
Over the last decade, there have been 580 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Fox posted the idea of the cross-Canada walk on social media and said she has received an overwhelming amount of support.
Her cousin, Eden Patten, who was born on the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan but raised in Vancouver, was one of the first people to reach out to Fox.
“We experience a lot of loss in our communities. It’s hard to express the extent of the pain that we carry in a lot of our communities. It can be overwhelming,” said Patten.
Fox plans to make a special trip to the Highway of Tears in B.C. in February, before she starts her cross-Canada trek in Victoria.
The Highway of Tears refers to a 724-kilometre length of Yellowhead Highway 16, between Prince Rupert and Prince George, where many women, mostly Indigenous, have disappeared or been found murdered. The Canadian Encyclopedia says 23 First Nations border that stretch. Fox will spend a day walking the highway.
“I don’t look at stats. I want to know these people, I want to who they are, who they were, so I will start with a walk on the Highway of Tears on Feb. 18, which is my 54th birthday,” said Fox.
Her cross-Canada trek will stretch from Victoria to Newfoundland over 10 months. She’s encouraging people to reach out to her on her Facebook page, called “Krista’s Kilometres for MMIW.”
"Please, please once I’m out on that highway, I’m going to need you guys, each and every one of you. I need people to join and connect with me,” said a tearful Fox.
The goal of the walk is to raise $100,000 and awareness.