Highway of Tears: Mapping Our Stolen Sisters

by Nai Louza


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Although I finished this visualisation a while ago, I’ve been gritting my teeth to write a blog post about because honestly, it just doesn’t feel right. This blog was going to outline the process I went through to create this visualisation and some of the technical tips and tricks I picked up along the way. But I feel that I am doing a disservice to the subject matter and I have chosen to instead devote this space to Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women.

During the peak of Highway of Tears case between 1989 and 2006, nine women went missing or were found murdered along Canada’s Highway 16. All but one were indigenous women. Although not all women who were involved in the Highway of Tears case were indigenous, indigenous women represent a high proportion of murder cases in Canada – They account for 3% of the population, and yet they represent 10% of all women’s murder cases.

Just before the new year, the government of Canada launched a long-awaited national inquiry to address the issue and gain insight into why indigenous women face such high rates of violence. Although international women’s day was a time to celebrate and honour the women in our lives, the reality is that many women are not honoured and are in fact crushed or extinguished much too frequently. I hope this visualisation highlights a situation that has affected the lives of a particularly marginalized community of women, and I urge readers to explore some of the links below.




Native Women’s Assocation of Canada – http://www.nwac.ca

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls – http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1448633299414/1448633350146

No More Stolen Sisters | Amnesty International Canada – http://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/campaigns/no-more-stolen-sisters

Aboriginal Multimedia Society – http://www.ammsa.com/content/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls