Investigative journalist McDiarmid shines a powerful light on an ongoing tragedy. For decades, Canadian law enforcement and the country’s legal system has ineffectually dealt with thousands of cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women ... This ongoing national crisis of violence against women is not unique to Canada, and is being scrutinized in the United States, too. McDiarmid’s exposé of racism and the lack of justice for indigenous women should be required reading for all.
... thoroughly researched. Through extensive interviews with the victims’ friends and families, McDiarmid provides an intimate account of each person—their personality, hobbies, aspirations—ensuring they’re viewed as three-dimensional individuals. McDiarmid also weaves in haunting statistics highlighting the injustice of each loss ... The statistics are sometimes jarringly inserted into the narrative, but this flaw is easily overlooked given the abundance of information about tragedies that have received little attention ... The women and girls lost on the Highway of Tears haven’t received the justice they deserve. But in telling their stories and shining a light on the justice system and society that have failed them, McDiarmid hopes that change will finally happen—beginning with us.
... a riveting account of the terror visited on a community when their children go missing, made even more horrific by helplessness felt when polite society and the media ignore them, and law enforcement barely seems to muster a token effort to find them. Not all law enforcement, of course, and the author gives credit where credit is deserved, highlighting the diligent efforts of some, such as RCMP detective Garry Kerr.
McDiarmid’s touching, poignant account intricately details the backgrounds of many of the victims, and their families and loved ones. She deftly explains the continuous circle of blatant racism, depression, hopelessness, poverty, and addiction faced by the women, brought on by lack of opportunity and, frankly, by lack of care from the government ... McDiarmid also shares stories of those fighting for justice. A powerful must-read.
McDiarmid profiles several of the murdered women and gives voice to their grieving families. She also reveals how the lack of infrastructure and services along the highway meant that many women had to rely on hitchhiking in order to travel to work and home, which made them vulnerable to unpublicized dangers.
A powerful account ... The author...uses the highway as a microcosm to shine a light on the racism against Indigenous people that stretches across Canada. The numbers are startling ... The author, writing with deeply felt emotion, makes it abundantly clear that this racism persists today. If there is a weakness in her book, it is the sometimes-rough transitions among the several narrative elements—the personal stories, the indictments of law enforcement and the press, and the tumultuous history of the Indigenous people. Nonetheless, McDiarmid brings to light a little-known story that deserves more attention ... A difficult but essential read.
Canadian journalist McDiarmid debuts with a heart-wrenching account of the more than 1,200 indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or were found murdered along Highway 16 ... This moving, well-sourced book is essential reading for anyone who cares about social injustice.