In this six-part series, Al Jazeera tells the stories of some of the indigenous women and girls who went missing or were killed along a notorious stretch of highway in British Columbia, Canada.
Warning: The following article contains content that may be offensive to some readers.
British Columbia, Canada – Brenda Wilson has devoted the past 27 years of her life to supporting the families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). It’s emotionally exhausting, but it’s become her life purpose.
It all started when her younger sister was found dead. Ramona Wilson was Gitxsan First Nation and just 16 years old.
She went missing on June 11, 1994 in Smithers, Northern British Columbia, after telling her mother that she was going out with a friend and might be attending a few local graduation parties that evening.
The next day, when her family discovered that she had not turned up to meet her friend and her boyfriend called to look for her, they felt something was terribly wrong. They went to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), but the RCMP apparently did not share their concerns.
“The RCMP did not help, I do not remember them searching,” said Brenda, on a freezing cold and gloomy day in Prince George, the largest city in northern British Columbia.
“We put up posters and had a lot of friends and family who were looking,” she recalls.
But Brenda did not join the search. She did not want to get her sister’s body, she explains.
“I always thought she was kidnapped, imprisoned, she could be beaten. Was she hungry or cold? I prayed she was ok. “