LIVE: Community gathers for monumental totem pole raising along B.C.’s Highway of Tears

The totem pole is to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls

A totem pole honouring Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls will be raised along the Highway of Tears in northern B.C. Friday (Sept. 4).

The totem pole, which will be raised just off Highway 16 on Kitsumkalum territory, was carved by artist Mike Dangeli, who is of Nisga’a, Tsimshian, Tlingit and Tsetsaut heritage.

The idea to create a memorial came from Gladys Radek, a long-time advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women.

For years, Radek has completed awareness walks from Vancouver to Prince Rupert, after her niece Tamara Chipman disappeared near Prince Rupert in 2005.

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She told the Terrace Standard earlier this year that she always envisioned creating a memorial for families in the Northwest.

“This is kind of closing the circle for me from the walks,” she said. “I wanted a space where our families could go, to find a little bit of healing, a little bit of peace, and a little bit of honouring their loved ones.”

On Friday, a ceremony at a highway pullout will include blessing the 24-foot totem pole and other traditional speeches.

Watch the ceremony here, livestreamed by CFNR Network:

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Indigenous