Missing MMIWG in year enders was an oversight

Even constant second guessing doesn’t always overcome inherent bias

I can hardly believe it has been almost a year since I first returned to Smithers. I find that as I get older, the days seem to last longer, but the months and years seem to go by much faster.

Perhaps it is because I don’t look forward so much. In trying to be “in the moment” — because in the end, it’s all we ever really have — I’m less conscious of the time just slipping away.

Aging also seems to be making me second-guess myself a lot more. You would think all the learning and experience would make you wiser and more confident, but the more I know, it seems, the less I really know.

Second-guessing, I think, is very important for a journalist. We would not be human if we did not have biases. I try, in everything I do and to the best of my ability, to examine as many angles as possible to try to keep inherent biases from creeping into my work.

Despite all that second-guessing, mistakes are inevitable. And over the course of 2019, I made some doozies.

But aside from outright mistakes, there are also oversights.

Read last week’s Barking at the Big Dog: It’s OK not to know

Prior to the publication of the Jan. 1 edition of The Interior News, I had a message from a reader saying they hoped Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls would be one of our top stories of 2019.

It was not, but it got me second guessing whether it should have been.

Certainly, it was a huge story nationally with the June 3 release of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The inquiry concluded that “persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

A supplementary report titled A Legal Analysis of Genocide concluded: “Canada’s past and current colonial policies, actions and inactions towards Indigenous Peoples is genocide.”

That, of course, was huge news, but was it huge local news?

Read more from Barking at the Big Dog:

Tiny living not getting any bigger (and that’s OK)

Forewarned does not necessarily mean immune

Of course, the answer is yes and no.

We didn’t really cover that story locally, at least not in print.

Nevertheless, Hwy 16 has been dubbed “The Highway of Tears” because of all the women and girls who have been murdered and gone missing along its route.

And Northwest B.C. has one of the highest percentages of Indigenous people of any region in the country.

MMIWG is perennially a big issue locally.

And we did cover a couple of related stories last year. On June 1, just two days before the MMIWG inquiry report came out, family, friends and supporters of Jessica Patrick gathered to place a memorial near the spot at Hudson Bay Lookout where her body was found in September 2018.

Also in June, people marched from Lake Kathlyn School to Yelich road where Ramona Wilson’s body was found 25 years ago.

On Sept. 15, the first anniversary of Patrick’s death, people marched through the streets of Smithers to the Smithers Cemetery to pay their respects at Patrick’s grave.

When I originally got the aforementioned message, my initial response was defensive, but in re-examining the year in review, I have to admit we got it wrong. If not one of our biggest news stories, MMIWG certainly should have ranked among our top community stories of the year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Chris, Tahltan collaborate on COVID-19 safety

Mine continues to operate with several new measures aimed at stopping spread of virus

Closures and cancellations in the Bulkley Valley due to COVID-19

Many places and businesses have closed or reduced their hours

School district #54 works on school plan

School district officials and teachers are this week communicating plans to resume… Continue reading

UPDATE: Man drowns crossing Skeena River

59-year old Prince Rupert victim pronounced dead at Mills Memorial

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

Most Read