Highway of Tears

Highway of Tears

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

Book - 2019 | First Atria Books hardcover edition
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"An explosive examination of the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Highway 16, and a searing indictment of the society that failed them. For decades, women--overwhelmingly from Indigenous backgrounds--have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern B.C. The highway is called the Highway of Tears by locals, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis. In Highway of Tears, Jessica McDiarmid meticulously explores the effect these tragedies have had on communities in the region, and how systemic racism and indifference towards Indigenous lives have created a culture of "over-policing and under-protection," simultaneously hampering justice while endangering young Indigenous women. Highway of Tears will offer an intimate, first-hand look at the communities along Highway 16 and the families of the victims, as well as examine the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settler and Indigenous peoples that underlie life in the region. Finally, it will link these cases with others found across Canada--estimated to number over 1,200--contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in the country and of our ongoing failure to provide justice for the missing and murdered"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, [2019]
Edition: First Atria Books hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781501160288
Call Number: 362.88089 M1349h 2019
Characteristics: xiii, 331 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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ArapahoeJohanna Jan 07, 2021

Highway of Tears is a sprawling narrative about interconnected tragedies in indigenous communities in British Columbia. Over the last few decades, a large number of indigenous women have gone missing, often in connection with the highway. These disappearances are all unsolved. Though the individual cases may not be linked to a single perpetrator, together they show a disturbing pattern indicative of social, economic, and political harm and neglect.

I do think this book was trying to be too many things at once, but it's an admirable effort with an important message. Parts of the book are disorganized or repetitive, and the audiobook was difficult to follow at times. Those issues aside, McDiarmid does a fantastic job telling the stories the missing women and their families. These are people who were largely ignored by the police and the media, and when the cases were reported on, it was done with far less empathy and depth than they deserved. Racism, oppression, poverty, and neglect have all conspired to create a situation in which young women can disappear over and over again with little to no media coverage or police investigation. Highway of Tears invites us combat this indifference with empathy and passion.


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