Families of missing Kitigan Zibi teens hope roundtable will lead to national inquiry


Left: Maisy Odjick Right: Shannon Alexander

By Lucy Scholey | Metro

It has been more than seven years since Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander went missing.

The teens, aged 16 and 17 respectively, left Alexander’s house in Kitigan Zibi near Maniwaki, Que. without their belongings – including wallets – on Sept. 5, 2008.

Their families still do not know if they are alive or dead.

“It’s disheartening knowing that we don’t have answers,” said Maria Jacko, Odjick’s aunt. “What more can be done right now?”

Jacko is at least hoping that a roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women in Ottawa on Friday will help launch an inquiry into what she calls a “national crisis.”

The national roundtable will bring together delegates from federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Native Womens’ Association of Canada.

“I think it’s a good start,” Jacko said. “I’m hoping that the government will see this and see this as an initiation as some sort.”

In May, RCMP released a report that found 1,181 police recorded incidents of missing or murdered aboriginal women between 1980 and 2012.

Also on Friday, Carleton University will hold a peoples’ gathering on the same topic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. That talk will include elders, families of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls and health supporters.

Anyone can attend and registration is free.

There will be a closed gathering of family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls the previous night, on Feb. 26.

– With files from Torstar