Along northern Canada’s Highway 16, a yellow billboard reads GIRLS, DON’T HITCHHIKE. KILLER ON THE LOOSE. The highway is a 450-mile stretch of dirt and asphalt, known as the Highway of Tears. It is here that countless women and girls—most of them Indigenous—have vanished since 1969. Highway of Tears explores the true story of what has happened along this troubled road. Journalist Jessica McDiarmid reassembles the lives of the victims—who they were, where they came from, who loved them, and what led them to the highway—and takes us into their families’ determined fight for the truth.
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.
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.