Warriors Walk Raises Awareness For Missing And Murdered Indigenous Men

A group of 20 people marched from Edmonton's Churchill Square to Borden Park for the third annual Warriors Walk. (Supplied)

A group of 20 people marched from Edmonton’s Churchill Square to Borden Park for the third annual Warriors Walk. (Supplied)

Every time somebody says they found bones, I always hope it’s him’

CBC News Posted: Jun 19, 2016

Evelyn Simpson hasn’t seen or heard from her son in eight years.

At this point, she thinks he’s dead.

“That’s the worst feeling, not knowing,” Simpson said. “Every time somebody says they found bones, I always hope it’s him so I can have a decent burial.”

‘Every time somebody says they found bones, I always hope it’s him so I can have a decent burial.’– Evelyn Simpson

What’s been almost as painful for the Edmonton woman, who is now 70 years old,  is the indifference she said she’s been met with as she tries to find out her son’s fate.

Jason Freedom Adam was visiting his mother in the city on the night of Oct. 21, 2007, when he disappeared.

He was 29 years old.

Adam had been living in Lac La Biche, but he liked to come and check up on Simpson. He knew people in Edmonton and went out for a bit that night.

Jason Freedom Adam

Jason Freedom Adam disappeared on October 21, 2007. (Supplied)

“‘I’ll be right back, he told me,’ ” Simpson said.

It wasn’t true.

When Adam didn’t return, Simpson contacted police. She said officers paid her a handful of visits in the weeks after she reported Adam missing. But then they stopped coming around.

Simpson said she can’t help but wonder if her son’s Indigenous heritage — he was from Fond Du Lac Denesuline First Nation in Saskatchewan — played a part.  Especially given the fact that she acknowledged he associated with people who might be described as living high-risk lifestyles.

But Simpson hasn’t given up her search for answers.

“I’m just looking, looking, looking,” Simpson said. “I’m going to keep looking til the day I die.”

That’s because Adam was Simpson’s son.

And that’s because Adam had sons of his own who have been growing up without a father.

‘There definitely needs to be more awareness’

To raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys, a group of 20 people marched from Edmonton’s Churchill Square to Borden Park on Fathers Day.

It was the third annual Warriors Walk.

Organizer April Eve Wiberg, the founder of the Stolen Sisters and Brothers Awareness Movement, noted the attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in recent years and recent months.

‘There definitely needs to be more awareness of the missing men and boys and the murdered.’– Eve Wiberg

“Our voice was strong enough that it did reach the heads of government that it had to and everyone’s paying attention now to this very serious issue,”  Wiberg said of the calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, finally being answered.

But she said more needs to be done about missing and murdered Indigenous men, which make up about 70 per cent of Indigenous murder victims.

Drummer

Indigenous men make up about 70 per cent of Indigenous murder victims. (Supplied)

Indigenous men, like Indigenous women, are still subject to denigrating prejudice that can be traced back to colonial policies, including the residential school system. Couple that with perceptions about traditional gender roles.

“There’s many stereotypes out there, and lots of victim blaming going on and we want to help stop that,” Wiberg said.

“There definitely needs to be more awareness of the missing men and boys and the murdered.

“Many of the ones that have been taken from us, their homicides remain unsolved and they and their families deserve justice and answers just like everybody else.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/warriors-walk-raises-awareness-for-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-men-1.3642893

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