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'This has been called a genocide': New book details the fight for missing, murdered Indigenous women, girls

Journalist Angela Sterritt decided to add her own story into an investigative book she was writing.

The decision, she said, was not taken lightly.

As a member of the Gitxsan Nation in B.C., Sterritt's own story of her upbringing emulates some of the themes she details in her new book, "Unbroken: My Fight for Survival, Hope, and Justice for Indigenous Women and Girls," which focuses on missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

As an award-winning journalist, Sterritt says her initial reaction was to keep her own story out of the book.

"One of the things my agents and my publisher constantly said was to 'put yourself in a story because this will help people to build compassion,'" Sterritt told CTV's Your Morning on Tuesday. "It's one thing to say, 'She lived (single-room occupancy housing), she navigated the streets, she navigated those difficult waters.' But it's another thing to shine a light on the entire picture from my point of view."

The book starts off with the names of dozens of missing and murdered Indigenous women, their killer (if known) and where they are from.

For Sterritt, the beginning of the book allows the reader to understand how many stories of Indigenous women there are.

"I think we need to honour Indigenous women and girls in all the complexity in all the full dimensional ways that they exist in this life," Sterritt said. "Often, we hear (about a) dead Indigenous teenager… (Not) who she was in her life? What nation was she from? What were her hobbies? Who were her family?"

By sharing the intimate details of the women's and girls' personal lives, Sterritt says she hopes it will showcase who they were as people, and the lack of media attention given to these types of stories.

One of the people Sterritt interviewed for the book is Gladys Radek, an aunt of Tamara Chipman, who has been missing since 2005. Chipman is believed to have disappeared from an area known as the Highway of Tears, which links Prince George and Prince Rupert in B.C.

In the book, Sterritt details Radek's fight for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women, and her drive for more attention on the issue.

"She marched to Ottawa a number of times to raise awareness," Sterritt said of Radek. "When I talked to her right before this book was published… she looked at me and said, 'Angela, we've been fighting for this for many, many years.' But the main point she wanted to raise with me was that finally this has been called a genocide."


To hear the full interview click the video at the top of this article. Top Stories

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