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Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

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A searing account of the missing, and murdered, Indigenous women of Highway 16, and an indictment of the society that failed them. For decades, Indigenous women have gone missing, or been found murdered, along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the 'Highway of Tears', and it has come to symbolize a national crisis. Journa A searing account of the missing, and murdered, Indigenous women of Highway 16, and an indictment of the society that failed them. For decades, Indigenous women have gone missing, or been found murdered, along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the 'Highway of Tears', and it has come to symbolize a national crisis. Journalist, Jessica McDiarmid, investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference have created a climate where Indigenous women are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims--mothers and fathers, siblings and friends--McDiarmid offers an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and relentless fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada--now estimated to number up to 4,000--contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in this country. Highway of Tears is a powerful story about our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing, and murdered, Indigenous women, and a testament to their families and communities' unwavering determination to find it.


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A searing account of the missing, and murdered, Indigenous women of Highway 16, and an indictment of the society that failed them. For decades, Indigenous women have gone missing, or been found murdered, along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the 'Highway of Tears', and it has come to symbolize a national crisis. Journa A searing account of the missing, and murdered, Indigenous women of Highway 16, and an indictment of the society that failed them. For decades, Indigenous women have gone missing, or been found murdered, along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the 'Highway of Tears', and it has come to symbolize a national crisis. Journalist, Jessica McDiarmid, investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference have created a climate where Indigenous women are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims--mothers and fathers, siblings and friends--McDiarmid offers an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and relentless fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada--now estimated to number up to 4,000--contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in this country. Highway of Tears is a powerful story about our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing, and murdered, Indigenous women, and a testament to their families and communities' unwavering determination to find it.

30 review for Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jaidee

    3 "empathic, well-researched but much rewriting/reorganizing needed" stars !!! Runner Up-2019 READ WHERE i WISH I WAS EDITOR AWARD Thank you to Netgalley, the author and Atria Books for a copy of this e-book in exchange for my review. There are thousands of unsolved cases of missing and/or murdered aboriginal women and adolescent girls across Canada. This is a very dark stain on our country and needed to be addressed since Colonial times. I am aghast that our refugees are given a fair number of 3 "empathic, well-researched but much rewriting/reorganizing needed" stars !!! Runner Up-2019 READ WHERE i WISH I WAS EDITOR AWARD Thank you to Netgalley, the author and Atria Books for a copy of this e-book in exchange for my review. There are thousands of unsolved cases of missing and/or murdered aboriginal women and adolescent girls across Canada. This is a very dark stain on our country and needed to be addressed since Colonial times. I am aghast that our refugees are given a fair number of opportunities while our indigenous people have subpar healthcare, few addiction resources and a hypervigilance on taking the children away from caregivers. The poverty on some of the reservations is abysmal and there continues to be horrible victim blaming on these first nations. This book focuses on a number of women that have gone missing or murdered in Northern British Columbia. The author compassionately and empathetically tells many of the stories through the eyes of families and loved ones. There are wonderful photographs of both the women and families and my heart broke over and over again on their pain, their struggle and their grief. The author also in a balanced way examines the constraints and inadequacies of our RCMP, government agencies and social service organizations. There is some history and sociology thrown in to give a fuller picture of why Indigenous peoples continue to be impoverished, victimized and vilified. This book could have and should have been five stars except that much of the writing was middling, the stats could have been presented in tables and the flow from facts to narrative could have been more artfully and compellingly done. This detracted from the immense importance of this topic. The research and interviews are complete. The finished product is not. May these womens' souls be blessed and rest at peace.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jessica McDiarmid, and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. There is a stretch of road in Northern British Columbia that connects the communities of Prince Rupert and Prince George. Formally known as Highway 16, the road has become known as the Highway of Tears, as scores of women—many indigenous— have gone missing or been murdered along it over the years. While wel First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jessica McDiarmid, and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. There is a stretch of road in Northern British Columbia that connects the communities of Prince Rupert and Prince George. Formally known as Highway 16, the road has become known as the Highway of Tears, as scores of women—many indigenous— have gone missing or been murdered along it over the years. While well-known to locals, Jessica McDiarmid seeks to shed light on the issues here for the rest of the world, as Canada wrestles to address the thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women in the country, a group that has long been ignored. McDiarmid, a local of the town of Smithers, returned to her roots to explore the Highway of Tears and offer some of it victims the face they deserve. In telling the stories of these women’s pasts and the time leading up to their disappearances, McDermid seeks not to make them simple statistics, but victims with a voice who cannot speak up for themselves. With small Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachments, police efforts have not been what they should and cases are growing dust or going cold before any substantial leads can be developed. McDiarmid posits that there has been a difference in coverage and activity when the victim is caucasian, rather than indigenous, which might also tell the underlying narrative of what is (not) going on. While McDiarmid does not come out and say that there is a single killer on the loose, she offered examples about how there are surely connection crimes over the years, with culpability likely long-since passed. What can be done for the family and friends of these women whose lives were snuffed out too soon? The Federal Government created an inquiry, though even its commissioners have claimed that it is not being run in the traditional indigenous manner. McDiarmid has not answers and cannot assuage the pain families feel, but she has definitely shed light on this national embarrassment, as Canada tries to address all that has been going on. Highly recommended to those who enjoy true crime, as well as the reader interested in a unique piece within the larger non-fiction family. While I had heard of the Highway of Tears, I was not aware of the extent of the deaths. This book shed some much-needed light onto the topic and helped to educate me about the issue, as well as some of the victims. The book seeks less to offer blame for those in authority than it does to show that there are so many broken cogs in the wheel. Racial discrimination surely plays a role in the police investigating, but resources are stretched so thin and the number of cases continues to grow. These were not an isolated few deaths, as the body continue to go missing and pile up, but little is being done to stop the ongoing safety concerns in the region, many of which McDiarmid addresses in the book. With photos to support the stories she tells, the book heightens its impact with the curious reader. A series of mid-length chapters address numerous issues with the overall investigation, as well as biographical pieces on the families, all of which pulls the tale closer together. Powerfully written and delivered, the reader will surely want to know a great deal more, tapping into McDiarmid’s vast list of cited sources. This is not a book to be missed by those who want to know more, either to educate themselves or advocate those in positions of authority to take action. Kudos, Madam McDiarmid, for this wonderful piece. I will have to read a little more on the topic to get a handle. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This true crime book is the first by journalist Jessica McDiarmid. She tackles the sad, yet powerful topic of the many missing and murdered young aboriginal females who have disappeared through the years along the road that is called The Highway of Tears in Canada. It gives some good background on the road and on the young women who have disappeared.. Some were eventually found dead, others never were found at all, leaving the families in agony, always to wonder about their loved one. The pain i This true crime book is the first by journalist Jessica McDiarmid. She tackles the sad, yet powerful topic of the many missing and murdered young aboriginal females who have disappeared through the years along the road that is called The Highway of Tears in Canada. It gives some good background on the road and on the young women who have disappeared.. Some were eventually found dead, others never were found at all, leaving the families in agony, always to wonder about their loved one. The pain is only intensified when occasionally a young white female would go missing and the response would be so great to help the family search. It just exaggerated the size of the canyon of difference between what happened when an aboriginal family needed help after their child went missing, namely not much. No great outpouring of people and sympathy and funds for flyers and a reward. No helicopters or trained search dogs. Many mostly ignored for the first couple of days, turned away with excuses. This is a really good read with true crime, racial bias and injustice, and more. You can see that the author has really done a deep dive on the subject Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Jessica McDiarmid, and the publisher. First published on my BookZone blog viewable here: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...

  4. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    This book is sooo disorganized

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    The Highway of Tears is a 735 kilometer stretch of lonely road between the coastal town of Prince Rupert and Prince George, in British Columbia's sparsely populated northeast, where countless numbers of women and girls have been found murdered or have simply vanished. The overwhelming majority of these victims is Indigenous. Investigative journalist Jessica McDiarmid lays out the evidence to implicate Canadian settler history and contemporary Canadian political, legal and cultural structures in The Highway of Tears is a 735 kilometer stretch of lonely road between the coastal town of Prince Rupert and Prince George, in British Columbia's sparsely populated northeast, where countless numbers of women and girls have been found murdered or have simply vanished. The overwhelming majority of these victims is Indigenous. Investigative journalist Jessica McDiarmid lays out the evidence to implicate Canadian settler history and contemporary Canadian political, legal and cultural structures in the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women. Interspersing the stories of several of these young women and their families with the many, failed attempts over the years to investigate the disappearances and deaths — some half-hearted to the point of not even mattering, to serious, concerted multi-jurisdictional efforts — McDiarmid humanizes the statistics and makes the crisis immediate and infuriating. The systemic racism against Canada's First Nations should sound a familiar note to those who study and respond to systemic racism in the United States. What was new to me was understanding how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) works - it's essentially a paramilitary force that contracts with local municipalities to serve a public safety role, and was created to control Indigenous populations. Understanding that the police force in the United States was created to support slave owners and control Black people enslaved by whites, and suddenly it all sinks sickeningly in and feels depressingly familiar. One woman notes in Highway of Tears "But it's Canada!" Considering that both nations were colonized by the same groups of people and the aboriginal populations were decimated in the same way — through smallpox and genocide — the fact of being Canadian or American matters naught. The legacy of colonization remains the same: Indigenous driven off their land, forced, literally, to assimilate or left to languish in poverty. The result is a human rights crisis. Although Highway of Tears focuses on the murders and disappearances along one stretch of highway in British Columbia (and shows a bit of a parallel investigation in Vancouver that led to the arrest and conviction in the mid-2000s of a serial killer who preyed upon sex workers and addicts in a rough section of the city, many of whom were Indigenous), McDiarmid points out the crisis throughout Canada: thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women, staggeringly beyond their representative proportion of the population. She details an attempt in 2006 to unite law enforcement and myriad community, cultural and human rights organizations to address the nationwide issue, and concrete, actionable steps were laid out after a well-attended and received symposium. But years later, little had been done and the disappearances and murders continued. some clearly the work of a serial killer, others crimes of opportunity. Only through the perseverance of Indigenous families, local organizations and a few dedicated private and RCMP investigators have these cases remained alive, some bodies found, a few murders solved, and a nation made aware of the injustice all around them. As an investigative journalist, McDiarmid achieves where so writers of true crime fail: she keeps our focus on the women and girls, their families and the legacy of their loss, not on a lurid fascination with their killers. She is relentless in her indictment of the Canadian government and media, holding them accountable as the perpetrators of crimes of humanity against First Nations' peoples across its vast and unknowable provinces. This is a heartbreaking but essential read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley I don’t know when I first heard about The Highway of Tears (Highway 16 in BC, from Prince George to Prince Rupert). Most likely when I was reading about women dying on the border between the US and Mexico (there are parallels). I also know that it is more of sign than an abnormality both in the US and Canada. While I have read a few books on the subject, Jessica McDiarmid’s book is one of the best. McDiarmid covers not only some of the cases that make up the Highway Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley I don’t know when I first heard about The Highway of Tears (Highway 16 in BC, from Prince George to Prince Rupert). Most likely when I was reading about women dying on the border between the US and Mexico (there are parallels). I also know that it is more of sign than an abnormality both in the US and Canada. While I have read a few books on the subject, Jessica McDiarmid’s book is one of the best. McDiarmid covers not only some of the cases that make up the Highway of Tears, what is more important, she spends time placing the murders in context and showing the families as more than just victims, and how such families are really not disposable no matter what society thinks. McDiarmid also presents the viewpoint of police as well as the reasons for the far less than cordial relationships between the Indigenous Community and police. She also details the various community efforts to get answers. But if you are picking up this book, you know that the story isn’t a happy one. It is to McDiarmid’s credit that she not only presents the victims as real people whose absence greatly affects those around. The taking one life impacts a community and that is detailed. More importantly, the history of the area in general and in terms of Indigenous populations as well as their treatment at the hands of the government. She also refers to other cases, such as the Pickton murders and the Gilbert Paul Jordan murders. The Highway of Tears isn’t quite as unique as you may hope it to be. The report that came out at the end of the summer was not referred to in this digital ARC, not surprising given the time frame. In part, the book does also challenge us to do better – not only terms of Canada and the Indigenous Women there but also those in the United States because there really isn’t that much difference unless it is that Canada situation is drawing more national and international attention. McDiarmid’s writing is engrossing and she carries the reader well. She lets the emotions of the people speak for themselves instead of trying gilding them with flowery phrases. It is the language that makes the details of the book far more chilling.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ElphaReads

    Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book! I'm a huge true crime nut, but that said I am definitely aware that there are a number of problematic issues that come with the genre. One of those is that many of the stories that really take off due to media scrutiny involve victims who are white women, whereas victims who are POC tend to be lost in the shuffle. One of the most tragic and egregious examples of this is the Highway of Tears in Canada, where over the years dozens of I Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book! I'm a huge true crime nut, but that said I am definitely aware that there are a number of problematic issues that come with the genre. One of those is that many of the stories that really take off due to media scrutiny involve victims who are white women, whereas victims who are POC tend to be lost in the shuffle. One of the most tragic and egregious examples of this is the Highway of Tears in Canada, where over the years dozens of Indigenous Women have gone missing and/or wound up murdered. It's a story that has so many components, players, victims, and systemic problems, that I've wanted to dig into it but haven't been able to find many centralized or consolidated sources of information. So when I found out about HIGHWAY OF TEARS by Jessica McDiarmid, I knew that I absolutely needed to read it. For decades, Indigenous Women along Highway 16 in British Columbia, Canada have gone missing, and in many cases have turned up dead. Very little headway has been made in the investigations, and as more women disappear and die, very little changes. More attention has been brought to this horrific travesty in recent years, and HIGHWAY OF TEARS is a book that tries to bring together not only the stories of the victims, but also tries to show how social injustice for Indigenous populations in Canada has made these women more vulnerable, and more invisible. This is a gut-wrenching read, but it's also incredibly necessary that attention be put on this horrible ongoing trend. What I appreciated most about this book is that McDiarmid does her very best to give a huge swath of the victims a lot of time on the page, letting us get to know them, the hardships that they faced in life, and the lives and people that were left behind after their disappearances and/or murders. Far too often have these women been lumped together as a group, which in turn dehumanizes them and makes them more of an idea than actual people, but McDiarmid is very careful to give them each a voice. I also really, really appreciated that McDiarmid doesn't shy away from the social injustices that First Nations face in Canada, and how a Canadian society, government, and criminal justice system DEEPLY entrenched in racism has created conditions that has made these populations incredibly vulnerable. She also shows a direct line from past colonial efforts (like those horrific Residential Schools) to the effects that are still present from passed down trauma and persecution. Powerful and incredibly upsetting stuff. And finally, she also compares and contrasts other women who disappeared during this time, but got far more attention and effort put towards the investigations because they were white. HIGHWAY OF TEARS is a must read. It's well written, it's a story that needs to be told, and it shines a light on an ongoing and terrible injustice.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine (Queen of Books)

    Highway of Tears was published last fall, and it was about time. This book is about the Indigenous women and girls who went missing, and murdered, along Highway 16 in Canada. Many of these cases remain unsolved. It is hard to believe that there haven't been a dozen books published on this. But it's also not... The author, though not Indigenous herself, details the circumstances that put Native women at higher risk for tragedy, and that often led to unsuccessful investigations into what happened Highway of Tears was published last fall, and it was about time. This book is about the Indigenous women and girls who went missing, and murdered, along Highway 16 in Canada. Many of these cases remain unsolved. It is hard to believe that there haven't been a dozen books published on this. But it's also not... The author, though not Indigenous herself, details the circumstances that put Native women at higher risk for tragedy, and that often led to unsuccessful investigations into what happened to them. CW for colonialism, racism, poverty, child abuse, sexual assault, alcoholism, drug addiction, residential schools, domestic violence, and children being taken away from their parents. This isn't a whodunit or a true crime thriller, rather, it's investigative journalism. It's my hope that this and podcasts such as Missing and Murdered are only the beginning. Many of these women are still missing -- and more women continue to go missing. It should not be the Native families' responsibility to convince us to care. (This wasn't a perfect book, nor should it be considered the authority on this issue. Five stars for what it does, with the understanding that further investigation and coverage absolutely is needed.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    Huge thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for gifting me a copy of this book. This was such a heartbreaking read. I had to step away and take breaks while reading, therefore it took longer than it normally would for me to read a book of this size. Women and girls began disappearing along Highway 16 back in the 1990s, and now, decades later, the estimated number of connected cases is now up to 4,000. 4,000 missing or murdered women and teenage girls. Let that sink in. I wouldn’t even call what th Huge thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for gifting me a copy of this book. This was such a heartbreaking read. I had to step away and take breaks while reading, therefore it took longer than it normally would for me to read a book of this size. Women and girls began disappearing along Highway 16 back in the 1990s, and now, decades later, the estimated number of connected cases is now up to 4,000. 4,000 missing or murdered women and teenage girls. Let that sink in. I wouldn’t even call what the police did an “investigation”. These women and their families were completely failed by those sworn to protect them. I am the mother of two daughters. I have sisters. And I cannot fathom one of my vulnerable loved ones disappearing, never to be looked for, never given much of a thought. I can’t imagine the police not taking me seriously when I demand they search for my daughter or my sister. These families had no one to count on but themselves. I think it is absolutely disgusting the way these missing and murdered women were treated. Leads weren’t followed, tips weren’t followed up on or were tossed aside and deemed irrelevant. They refused to say the cases were connected. This was a true act of racism — the fact that many of these women came from less than favorable backgrounds (drugs, prostitution, bad family life) caused the police to throw their hands up and claim they had just run away or that this was just the kind of thing that happens to someone when they live that type of lifestyle. McDiarmid is a fantastic investigative journalist. She dug deep into these stories and made me feel so much sadness for the victims and their families. Reading this book felt like watching an episode of 20/20, with the perfect mix of hard facts and a storyline. I loved that she gave us specific examples of victims so that we could put names (and faces, in fact — the book contains photos of each of the women written about) to these cases and truly grasp what their families had to go through. Some of these women have never been found. This book is very statistic heavy, so do keep that in mind when reading. I didn’t expect as many statistics, but including them assisted in painting a clear picture of the systemic racism and discrimination against Indigenous people in that area of Canada. The statistics were also helpful in piecing together just how badly these families were failed by everyone in the Canadian justice system. This was an eye-opening read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes true crime or nonfiction.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Library Ladies

    (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com ) Thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of this book! I’m a true crime aficionado to the bone, and I have been for as long as I can remember. But I do recognize that there are problematic issues within this genre that should definitely be acknowledged and worked on. One of those issues is that the stories that usually get paid the most attention to involve pretty white women victims, and other victims, especially POC, are not as widely acknowled (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com ) Thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of this book! I’m a true crime aficionado to the bone, and I have been for as long as I can remember. But I do recognize that there are problematic issues within this genre that should definitely be acknowledged and worked on. One of those issues is that the stories that usually get paid the most attention to involve pretty white women victims, and other victims, especially POC, are not as widely acknowledged. One of the most egregious examples of this is the case of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia, Canada. Highway 16 is a highway that runs a number of miles, and a number of Indigenous women have either disappeared altogether near it, or have been found murdered in the vicinity. Almost all of the cases have gone cold and unsolved, and the victims have been deprived of justice. In “Highway of Tears”, Jessica McDiarmid jumps into a deep and emotional investigation of the crimes, but also of the stories of the women who have been victimized and cast aside, and the life that they were leading before. And boy oh boy, this is one of the most emotionally wrenching true crime books I’ve ever read. The most important aspect of this book I mentioned above. McDiarmid is very conscientious to give backgrounds and back stories to a large number of the victims, whose disappearances and murders have been happening since the 1970s and up through today. Instead of just being a number of names and a group of lumped in all together, as if their violent ends were their only defining traits, we get comprehensive stories about the various lives that these women led, and the people who were left behind to mourn their loss. I had known about the story of Alberta Williams because of the podcast “Missing and Murdered”, but as each profile and backstory was explored my heart grew heavier and heavier. She makes all of them personalized individuals, and by seeing the trauma that some experienced in life and all of their families experienced in death just shows how unjust it is that not only did they meet these horrible ends, but they haven’t gotten answers or justice. McDiarmid doesn’t pull any punches when she talks about how the victimization of these women, and in turn their families, is a direct result of a racist system that doesn’t value these women because of their race, their place in society, and their gender. She also does a very good job of showing how the system perpetuates multiple social injustices towards the First Nations population, and how in turn these injustices create an environment where this kind of victimization is far more prevalent compared to other populations in Canada. She also pulls in colonial practices throughout Canadian history, and the direct line that these practices have to modern fallouts for Indigenous groups. From residential schools to alcoholism to poverty to many more, McDiarmid makes it VERY clear that many of these practices have consequences that are still felt today. And on top of all of that, she juxtaposes the differences in approach, attention, and outcomes between the Indigenous women who are missing and murdered, and a few cases where the victims are white women. Suffice to say, Missing White Woman Syndrome plays a huge role, and while the missing and murdered Indigenous women fade into the background, white women get lots of media attention, and lots of resources are poured into the investigations surrounding them. It’s all very upsetting, but all too true. On top of all of this, McDiarmid has a writing style that will suck you in, and will set the scene so that you feel like you are there. I had a very hard time putting this book down, even though the topic was very upsetting and hard to read about. But McDiarmid insists that you do so, because the story is far too important and has gone unacknowledged by too many for too long. I want this to become the next “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark”. I want this to be read and I want these womens’ stories to be heard and I want them to be seen as who they were. There is no closure with this story. Justice hasn’t been served. But one can only hope that if more people learn about this and speak up, perhaps more will be done. “Highway of Tears” is a must read. One of the year’s best.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    "A penetrating and deeply moving account of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls of Highway 16, and a searing indictment of the society that failed them." I don't really have anything to add. Read this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan Ethier

    Extremely well-written, completely devastating, and entirely appalled at this country's willingness to continue to ignore this issue even though thousands of women are missing or murdered and continue to go missing or be murdered today. Although I had read of the RCMP dropping the ball on this issue before, I still find it shocking how willing policing authorities are to delay an investigation due to blame being placed on the victim, and how little families knew of their loved one's investigatio Extremely well-written, completely devastating, and entirely appalled at this country's willingness to continue to ignore this issue even though thousands of women are missing or murdered and continue to go missing or be murdered today. Although I had read of the RCMP dropping the ball on this issue before, I still find it shocking how willing policing authorities are to delay an investigation due to blame being placed on the victim, and how little families knew of their loved one's investigations. This book truly made me sick and left me feeling almost helpless, but at the same time, thankful that McDiarmid was able to share these families' stories and draw awareness to this very alive and ongoing social justice issue not just in British Columbia, but across Canada. I was also shocked to find out how poorly executed and organized the National Inquiry was, how broad the goals were and how dissatisfied families were with the entire process. I was also unaware that the Liberal government denied funding for an extension of the hearings when requested. Super disappointing, I'm not surprised, but honestly shocked at just how dire this issue is, and how little the government cares.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karla Strand

    I appreciated this investigation by journalist Jessica McDiarmid about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women along Highway 16 in British Columbia, dubbed the Highway of Tears. There's a lot of information included and presented in a well-organized, readable manner.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Carbery

    Talking about Highway of Tears is challenging. This is more than true crime. This is more than a nightmare. This is an outright call to action. McDiarmid's journalism is excellent. She is unflinching in her dissection of crime. Each section about an individual woman is crafted beautifully, touching on life, death and legacy. Poverty and circumstance are never permitted to color how each subject is presented - this book has no victim blaming. More than that, however, McDiarmid recognizes the fa Talking about Highway of Tears is challenging. This is more than true crime. This is more than a nightmare. This is an outright call to action. McDiarmid's journalism is excellent. She is unflinching in her dissection of crime. Each section about an individual woman is crafted beautifully, touching on life, death and legacy. Poverty and circumstance are never permitted to color how each subject is presented - this book has no victim blaming. More than that, however, McDiarmid recognizes the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women as victims as well. Every child left motherless, parent left with an empty bed, and brother or sister laying awake matters. Friends matter. It is this all encompassing view of victimhood that makes Highway of Tears such a crucial piece for 2019. The vast majority of the missing and murdered victims are Indigenous. The issue of race and police neglect is discussed fervently because, as it seems to me, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were failing left and right. (However I will exclude actual angel and sweet, sweet prince Ray Michalko). Citizens were not protected due to the color of their skin. It is a fact of this case that needs to be addressed. So is Highway of Tears compulsively readable? No. It is not. It is incredibly painful to read. It is heartbreaking and upsetting. Sisterhood matters more. Each and everyone of us has a duty to care about this issue. As McDiarmid writes on page 7, "The police haven't solved these cases, but there are multiple perpetrators. There are those who committed these crimes, and there are those of us who stood by as it happened, and happened again, and happened again." Read this book, talk about this book, and share this book. The more attention and pressure this atrocity receives the more resources can be put forth to protecting these women and girls.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    This is an important book for anyone who wants to understand the crisis of #MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) in general and the tragic history of the Highway of Tears in particular. Although it's not a perfect work, it offers a very useful introduction to the crimes, the victims and their families, and the deeply flawed system that has failed to respond adequately to these murders and the issues that made them possible.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    This was a powerful, motivating and heartbreaking exposé of the disregard given to the lives of Indigenous girls and women in Canada. Over 1,000 women have gone missing or whose murdered bodies have been found along one highway in a 30 year time span, and a vast majority of the crimes remain unsolved still. McDiarmid does a wonderful job of portraying the victims as they were: loved ones, sisters, and friends, and bringing to light the misjustice they’ve been served. “Infamously (Prime Minister) This was a powerful, motivating and heartbreaking exposé of the disregard given to the lives of Indigenous girls and women in Canada. Over 1,000 women have gone missing or whose murdered bodies have been found along one highway in a 30 year time span, and a vast majority of the crimes remain unsolved still. McDiarmid does a wonderful job of portraying the victims as they were: loved ones, sisters, and friends, and bringing to light the misjustice they’ve been served. “Infamously (Prime Minister) Harper said that the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women “isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest.” McDiarmid is doing her best to bring this issue to light so that it can, deservedly, be on the radar of those who are able to bring about change. This is a story that deserves to be read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Arkans -

    Highway of Tears is an important look at racial relations, their history, and impact on the current time. It provides the perfect balance of background information with current crime investigation so the reader can see the full scope of the issues. You will get to know the victims and their families so you can see and feel the impact of the crimes. There is quite a lot of information here that makes for a very interesting read. Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my ho Highway of Tears is an important look at racial relations, their history, and impact on the current time. It provides the perfect balance of background information with current crime investigation so the reader can see the full scope of the issues. You will get to know the victims and their families so you can see and feel the impact of the crimes. There is quite a lot of information here that makes for a very interesting read. Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mama Cass

    I had no idea that this kind of racism against the Indigenous people occurs in Canada, of all places. Mcdiarmid broke my heart and left me in tears and very angry. She writes about the thousands of Indigenous women and teenagers who have gone missing or found raped, tortured and murdered, along a stretch of highway in B.C. There's background on some of the victims and their families, the poverty and the apathetic attitude of the government. A definitive and well written must read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hoffman Brauman

    Dozens of Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing along highway 16 in British Columbia. McDiarmid looks at the both the murders and disappearances and digs into how race, class, and socio-economic status impacts these crimes and the attempts to solve them. There was a lot to think about in this one. If you like true crime with a social justice focus, this is a good choice.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Klassen

    A well-researched, emotional account of the dozens of women and girls lost to Northern B.C.'s Highway 16. While the author is not indigenous, I felt she gave ample space to the voices of parents and grandparents, siblings, and friends of the lost, beloved victims. The narration was hands-off, little focus on the reporter and her gathering of evidence, testimonies, and theories. She cast herself as an observer rather than a loud and confident investigator. She allowed those hurting from their los A well-researched, emotional account of the dozens of women and girls lost to Northern B.C.'s Highway 16. While the author is not indigenous, I felt she gave ample space to the voices of parents and grandparents, siblings, and friends of the lost, beloved victims. The narration was hands-off, little focus on the reporter and her gathering of evidence, testimonies, and theories. She cast herself as an observer rather than a loud and confident investigator. She allowed those hurting from their losses to speak their truths. You feel for these families and their broken hearts. She never places blame on victims themselves or family members, instead pointing out the racist colonial system at work and its direct correlation to the disrespect and dehumanization of indigenous people, women specifically. The police are not held as accountable as they should be. The individual investigators were overwhelmed, but what about the organization as a whole who allowed such a backlog to occur while devoting ample support for white victims of violent crime in BC? She only hints at this, doesn't quite call out the racism intrinsic to predominantly white executed law enforcement. Perhaps her aim was being non-polarizing and not pointing fingers. For me, the time is long past for that. A significant number of law enforcement leaders value indigenous life as lesser than white lives. The evidence is overwhelming when you compare the reactions of top officials to white victims of violent crime to indigenous victims of violent crime. The only other thing holding this book back from being a five star read was the disorganization. It is somewhat separated by the stories of the victims told one by one, but then chapters later, she would return to a particular story, unnecessarily repeating some already stated information and then dropping the tail of the story once again. If this had just been structured differently, the similarities would have been more startling and heart-breaking, the work of the tireless heroes more defined and spotlighted. But instead, Highway of Tears jumps around a bit erratically and the connections are lost. Highway of Tears is a competent, heart-wrenching investigation into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls cases of Prince George, Prince Rupert, and the surrounding isolated communities. All Canadians are culpable if we allow mistreatment and violence against indigenous women and girls to continue when ample improvement plans have been presented to us by McDiarmid, sourced from women's advocates, indigenous communities, and specially trained law enforcement officers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gare Billings

    I am a true crime junkie and I had heard about the Highway of Tears through my favorite podcast My Favorite Murder and when I heard that a lot of the victims were indigenous women, I was immediately focused in on this case. I am Native American and I live by the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation along the border of Canada where a lot of women have also gone missing without any resolution or much done regarding finding out what happened. Highway of Tears is a harrowing look into the missing women alon I am a true crime junkie and I had heard about the Highway of Tears through my favorite podcast My Favorite Murder and when I heard that a lot of the victims were indigenous women, I was immediately focused in on this case. I am Native American and I live by the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation along the border of Canada where a lot of women have also gone missing without any resolution or much done regarding finding out what happened. Highway of Tears is a harrowing look into the missing women along the Highway of Tears that are indigenous, the racism that is lurking along this area, and the disheartening ignorance when it comes to the justice system. McDiarmid wastes no time diving into this story, painting a realistic and deep look into the area that these women have gone missing; making this story equally as interesting as McDiarmid gives a brief and effective history lesson on not only aboriginal women, but the land that lies along this highway and what has been haunting these families in the shadows. Compared to a lot of other true crime television shows and books I've read, what I love that Jessica McDiarmid did was not just focus on so much who the killers could be or necessarily the gory details of the crimes committed, but really focused on the victims and made their lives so vivid for the short time they were alive. It was emotionally heavy and at times really emotional to read as McDiarmid really focused on who they were as people rather than making them out to be just victims including interviews with their families and friends and focusing on not only the lives lost, but how these people coped by losing someone and the shattering of those around the missing and presumed dead. This is a beautifully written and really informative look into some of the social issues that we deal with today as a society regarding racial injustice, but the true crime aspect of this one was sensationally written as well and it is definitely the kind of book that will leave you emotionally hungover. Congratulations to Jessica McDiarmid for such a great book that brings light to an issue that has been going on for far too long. Special thanks to Atria Books for this copy in exchange for my honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm

    In continuing Native American Heritage Month in the US, this sounded like a sad and sadly needed read. Native and Indigenous women in both the US and Canada (and elsewhere I assume but I'm not as familiar) face horribly high rates of violence. There is unfortunately the "Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women" who represent the girls and women who have simply disappeared without a trace. Law enforcement does not make the effort to look for them. Activism to push law enforcement has made some prog In continuing Native American Heritage Month in the US, this sounded like a sad and sadly needed read. Native and Indigenous women in both the US and Canada (and elsewhere I assume but I'm not as familiar) face horribly high rates of violence. There is unfortunately the "Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women" who represent the girls and women who have simply disappeared without a trace. Law enforcement does not make the effort to look for them. Activism to push law enforcement has made some progress and some laws and movements have changed in both the US and Canada. But it is not nearly enough for the friends, families, etc. of the missing girls and women who continue to wait and often die without knowing what happened. It does not make the news, law enforcement and governments often don't care. I had never heard of the Highway of Tears so I curious to see what I would learn from this. Author McDiarmid tells us the stories of the girls and women who have gone missing on Highway 16, plus the stories of their families and aftermath of their disappearances. There's a very good chance you've never heard of them. I applaud the author for giving the missing a voice and to provide them with a venue to tell their stories, but I agree with the negative reviews. It felt like a jumbled series of anecdotes that might have made for a good newspaper or magazine multi-series longread, rather than a book. Books by journalists don't really work for me and that was the same here. That said, it is an extremely important topic that deserves more attention and should absolutely be addressed. As mentioned, I had never heard of the Highway of Tears and was unfamiliar with the history and background in Canada. Would suggest this as a library book, unless you need it for reference.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Keating

    This was an eye opening and sad book for me. I actually give it 3.5 stars because it lacked organization and seemed to jump around a lot. But the information on the bias and racism involved in these missing Indigenous girls was heartbreaking.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael Huntone

    This was really difficult to read- but a much needed eye opening. I was not as familiar with the difficulties indigenous people faced and still face in Canada, compared to here in the US, and was just as sad to see much of the same history of abuse we have perpetrated against these people here. Most disturbing of course is the little value the system and people seems to place on the life of indigenous women. What a blow McDiarmid strikes for them though- this is a book that strikes at the heart, This was really difficult to read- but a much needed eye opening. I was not as familiar with the difficulties indigenous people faced and still face in Canada, compared to here in the US, and was just as sad to see much of the same history of abuse we have perpetrated against these people here. Most disturbing of course is the little value the system and people seems to place on the life of indigenous women. What a blow McDiarmid strikes for them though- this is a book that strikes at the heart, imploring you to understand who these women were, the families they left behind and how their families have continued to struggle with their loss and the repeated indifference the Canadian justice system have shown them and their loved ones. Rather than paint a lurid picture of evil, as True Crime often does, McDiarmid embraced and lifted those torn by evil and indifference. So thankful to have my eyes opened by this wonderful and heart breaking work!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather Munao

    Highway of Tears is very well-researched: the facts of the girls’/women’s lives and disappearances, how treaty law and other historical developments brought us to this sad place, residential schools, statistics and stories on indigenous children in foster care, comments from victims’ families and detectives, the contrasts in cases of white girls/women, the sustained efforts of the families to create change... The effect of it all is very powerful and really presents MMIG/W as an urgent national Highway of Tears is very well-researched: the facts of the girls’/women’s lives and disappearances, how treaty law and other historical developments brought us to this sad place, residential schools, statistics and stories on indigenous children in foster care, comments from victims’ families and detectives, the contrasts in cases of white girls/women, the sustained efforts of the families to create change... The effect of it all is very powerful and really presents MMIG/W as an urgent national crisis and human rights violation. It’s just shocking how this can keep happening with NO leads and NO resolution, all in the same place, for decades! I do have some criticisms. First, I would have liked to see research beyond anecdotal demonstrating the inequality of effort/attention in solving cases. There was a very effective report used on media attention and portrayal of the white vs. First Nations victims, and a white grieving family mentioned how upset they were to not see posters of the MMIW/G the way their own daughter’s case had posters, but I think inequality is at the heart of the problem and deserved more research. My other criticism is the organization. The first section is roughly about different cases, and the second section is roughly about demanding change. In the first section, for many of the girls/women who went missing, the author would go into a digression explaining, for example, indigenous children in the foster care system or incarcerated because it was part of the girl’s background. But then later, in the section about change, there would be a whole section on indigenous kids in the system... again. The second section kept telling stories of MMIW/G, which should have come in the first section. This made the girls’ and women’s stories confusing to me trying to follow if there were differences in the cases or information. Overall, though, I hope people will read this book because it is great and we all need our eyes opened on this terrible matter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    rei

    overall an emotional & heart-breaking read. this issue has been a part of canada (& the u.s) for so many years. i can't even begin to imagine how the families of the missing individuals must feel (on top of all the systemic violence & generational trauma) since i listened to the novel on audiobook, it was difficult to follow the different storylines with numerous names mentioned throughout. however, i appreciated the author taking the time to thoroughly research the topic because there was a lot o overall an emotional & heart-breaking read. this issue has been a part of canada (& the u.s) for so many years. i can't even begin to imagine how the families of the missing individuals must feel (on top of all the systemic violence & generational trauma) since i listened to the novel on audiobook, it was difficult to follow the different storylines with numerous names mentioned throughout. however, i appreciated the author taking the time to thoroughly research the topic because there was a lot of information to go through.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Luke Spooner

    A really good book. Parts were pretty empowering, but overall I felt sad and frustrated, which is obviously the point.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kit

    I don't really have anything I can say about this book other than: it's important, and you should read it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hilda

    Having grown up along the highway of tears, this book was a must read for me. Every Canadian should read it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Schmimmerock

    Oh, wow. I don't know where to start. This book took me a while, but not for lack of interest. It's just a hard book. I don’t mean it’s difficult to grasp—McDiarmid has written an incredibly accessible account here, and riveting from start to finish—but it is anything but light and easy. It’s long and difficult, but absolutely necessary reading. This book focuses on the missing and murdered Indigenous women of the stretch of road between Prince George and Prince Rupert in Northern British Columbi Oh, wow. I don't know where to start. This book took me a while, but not for lack of interest. It's just a hard book. I don’t mean it’s difficult to grasp—McDiarmid has written an incredibly accessible account here, and riveting from start to finish—but it is anything but light and easy. It’s long and difficult, but absolutely necessary reading. This book focuses on the missing and murdered Indigenous women of the stretch of road between Prince George and Prince Rupert in Northern British Columbia. The Highway of Tears. I went into this knowing little about the Highway of Tears. I first heard about it on the podcast My Favorite Murder. It seemed impossible to me that hundreds of women could just die or disappear and not have more people talking about it, not have heard about it everywhere. Turns out it's not impossible at all. It's very real and very upsetting, and it's happening still. It's been going on for decades and I had no idea just how little was being done for the victims, for the families, and for the communities. McDiarmid's voice is steady. She doesn't embellish. She gives you the facts and makes it clear how seriously society and the faculties in place meant to help have so severely failed these women and their families. I'm so angry for them, and so angry at everything that has not changed since this started. It's making it difficult to review this, difficult to put my thoughts into words, to channel that anger and frustration. It's a fraction, if that, of what the families have experienced after decades without answers, decades of people just not caring because these are indigenous women and no one bats an eye when another one just drops off the face of the planet, only to show up again dead, if the families are lucky enough to get that closure at all. I understand that resources are limited and that no amount of investigating is enough for a family seeking answers, but there is still much to be done. The resources available aren't being properly allocated to these cases, and the more bodies that pile up, the more almost...normalized isn't the right word, but there is a certain amount of apathy that seems to follow when after a cursory look into another disappearance bears no new information. It's as if there is this mindset, on some level, behind the disappearances that says when an Indigenous woman disappears on Highway 16, it's "just another Aboriginal girl." She must have been doing something, drinking or hitchhiking or whatever, as if that excuses not looking for them, as if that justifies whatever happened. But I'm just ranting at this point. I want everyone to pick this book up, to read this, to stay angry for these women. McDiarmid put a ton of work into this, interviewing families to make their stories known and to learn about dead and missing, making the reader see them as more than just another name, another number, another missing girl. It's very compelling literature as a whole, even if it is so completely heartbreaking. Final thoughts, I guess. At the heart of this, it's good research, it’s good writing, and it is dang good journalism. The only reason it isn't a five-star read is that it could do with some reorganizing. There were moments where it could be a bit disorienting shifting from hard information, facts, etc. to narrative, or jarring changes in scene. It wasn't enough to take me out of the story, but it would benefit from a little more flow. Thank you very muchly to NetGalley, Jessica McDiarmid, and Atria Books for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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