Highway of Tears walk to wrap in Smithers, B.C., ahead of MMIW inquiry hearing

SMITHERS, B.C. — A group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls will walk along the so-called Highway of Tears today into a small British Columbia community where a national inquiry is set to hold hearings.

Gladys Radek organized the walk along the notorious stretch of Highway 16 where dozens have disappeared or been killed in honour of the 12th anniversary of the disappearance of her niece, Tamara Lynn Chipman.

She and other relatives of lost loved ones left Prince Rupert on Thursday and commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls are set to join them on the final part of the journey today.

They will walk into Smithers, B.C., where more than 40 people, including family members and survivors of violence, have signed up to speak during the hearings, which run from Tuesday through Thursday.

The inquiry has been dogged by controversy, including the resignation of commissioner Marilyn Poitras, and last week Chief Commissioner Marion Buller told a Senate committee that its work has been hampered by federal bureaucracy.

The commissioners are set to hold hearings in nine communities this fall, with stops in Winnipeg, Halifax, Edmonton, Yellowknife and Saskatoon, among others.

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