As Brenda Osborne walks, she thinks about her daughter who went missing seven years ago.
Claudette Osborne-Tyo was 21 years old with four children when she went disappeared in Winnipeg.
“No leads. No tips,” Osborne said of her daughter’s case.
“We do what we can do to have that awareness.”
That awareness includes a 3,400-kilometre stretch from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert, B.C. as Osborne and her team of walkers itry to raise awareness and seek healing for missing and murdered loved ones.
Osborne is no stranger to the pain experienced by those among the walk, hosted by Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik. Her cousin Helen Betty Osborne was kidnapped and murdered in the Pas, Manitoba. The public investigation resulted in a formal apology from the Manitoba government back in 2000 which acknowledged the failure of the justice system.
Osborne’s cousin Felicia Solomon, from Norway House Cree Nation, went missing and her dismembered parts were found in the Red River.
In the wake of Osborne-Tyo’s disappearance, her mother who was working as a hairdresser couldn’t take the stress.
“She has four kids that she left behind. This is why we do the walk because we think of the little ones that are left behind,” Osborne explained.
While the walk serves as a healing process as people share similar stories and fight for justice, everyone is still struggling with the loss of loved ones.
“You still hurt every day. When you get up, from morning till night,” Osborne said.
Her fiancé Joseph Gauthier only knew Osborne-Tyo for a short time, but prays that one day the family will learn what happened to her.
“I just want the closure to happen so I’m just going to keep doing my strength, my walking, for this lady and child that is missing.”
It’s that hope that pushes Osborne to keep going.
“We’re trying to stop the violence from happening and we’re trying to have justice for our families.”
Althea Guiboche, founder of Got Bannock? in Winnipeg, works hard to fight for that justice. After experiencing being homeless with five children of her own, she has now become a voice for homeless in her community.
The creation of Got Bannock? is an effort to remind her community of the powerful village they used to be.
“We are not all these stereotypes. We are not drunks, we are not hookers, we are not gangsters, we are not just an inmate,” she said in Saskatoon, after walking from Clavet.
The group walks roughly 100 kilometres per day.
Guiboche wants communities across Canada to band together to demand more for missing and murdered people. As a volunteer boat driver who looks for bodies along the Red River, she believes the government needs to step up to the plate.
“The terrible part of this country is why are we looking for our own missing loved ones? Why are we dragging the (Red River) for bodies that police should be looking for? The difference the way that authorities handle from race to race says a lot,” she said.
She hasn’t lost someone but she said she feels it personally, always making sure people know where she is at all times of the day.
“I don’t want my daughters to grow up like that. We need to protect our future generations.”
The walkers will continue onto North Battleford on Tuesday after staying overnight at a hotel room donated by Senator Lillian Dyck.
-with files from News Talk Radio’s Francois Biber
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