(Shannon Lough / The Northern View) Tamara’s Walk began on the morning of Sept. 21 in Prince Rupert, and will end this week in Smithers for the National Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Families and friends will share stories off loss with five commissioners who will hear from Indigenous people across the country. The commissioners will look for the patterns and underlying factors behind so much violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

VIDEO: Walking the Highway of Tears for a woman who went missing 12 years ago from Prince Rupert

Gladys Radek walks with family and friends from Prince Rupert to Smithers starting Sept. 21

Gladys Radek has been walking epic distances ever since her niece disappeared on Highway 16 east of Prince Rupert.

Sept. 21 marks the 12 year anniversary of when Tamara Lynn Chipman went missing, last seen hitchhiking on the highway across from the industrial park entrance. At 8 a.m., from the same location, Radek and more than 20 other families and friends joined her in a walk that will end in Smithers for the National Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“This walk is for the family. For my family, for Tamara and for the missing and murdered women across Canada. I’ve discovered there’s thousands of other Tamaras out there,” Radek said.

Highway 16, from Prince Rupert to Prince George, is known as the Highway of Tears for more than 19 women, and men, who have been murdered or gone missing over the years. Tamara was 22 years old and a mother to her two-year-old son when she disappeared.

She won’t be walking the 150 kilometre distance alone. Family members from the northern area will be joining her, as well as elders and activists coming from Vancouver and some of the original walkers who have been with her since the beginning.

Tamara’s father, Tom and her now teenage son, also participated in part of the walk. The night before their departure, Tom, family and friends placed a “memory stone” on the side of the hill next to where Tamara was last seen.

“It’s pretty emotional. It’s been 12 years. Every time we do one of these walks it brings back memories again of course. It’s kind of hard to deal with in a way but it does make you feel a little bit better seeing all the people and all the support that we’re getting from family and friends and a lot of people came as far as Vancouver,” Tom said, who will be at the inquiry in Smithers.

In 2006, Radek’s cousin organized a walk from Prince Rupert to Prince George, which set the template for her walks across the country. She has co-organized walks through the organizations Walk4Justice and Tears4Justice, including a national trek from Vancouver to Ottawa, Vancouver to Prince Rupert, Kamloops to Winnipeg and Nova Scotia to Prince Rupert in 2013.

“It brings a little bit of healing and it brings other family members together and helps us to walk and feel the spirits of the women. It gives us hope and it makes our family realize we are truly not alone,” Radek said.

Arnie Sankey is one of the volunteers from Prince Rupert who has been supporting Radek’s efforts in previous walks, and this year’s walk. He helped coordinate a send off feast Wednesday night at the Nisga’a Hall.

“Tamara went missing 12 years ago, which happens to be my birthday. I drive by to and from there every day — the last place she was seen, across industrial park. It hit home so I started volunteering then,” Sankey said.

Before the group started walking down the highway, they sang happy birthday to Sankey, thanking him for all his volunteer efforts.

Volunteers in vehicles will support the walkers, who expected to reach their final destination in Smithers in time for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls community hearings on Sept. 26-28.

 

A memorial stone was placed next to where Tamara Lynn Chapman was last seen next to the industrial park entrance along Highway 16 east of Prince Rupert. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Just Posted

Former resident wins filmmaking award

Veronika Kurz will be able to make her film with $15,000 cash and in-kind services, up to $100,000

Terrace River Kings win CIHL regular season

The boys held a strong enough lead in points to claim the banner after a 15-2 win Saturday

Terrace residents discuss poverty at provincial engagement meeting

80 people were there as well as the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Shames Mountain named one of the world’s Top 10 ski resorts

The UK magazine listed Shames alongside Whistler and hills in Italy, Japan and Austria

Who wants to live here?

Northwest governments partner on marketing plan to attract workforce, residents

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Sentencing hearing begins for ex-BC Liberals employee in ‘quick wins’ scandal

Former communications director Brian Bonney pleaded guilty last October

Sunwing vacation passengers left at Abbotsford airport

YXX staffers receive praise for help to passengers; airline criticized

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kids chained in Calif. house of horrors; parents arrested

Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka

Most Read