It is the end of a very long road for Cameron and Charity West.
The two just finished a journey they embarked on around six months ago – to walk across the country raising awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) in Canada.
The final leg of their journey took them down the Highway of Tears from Prince Rupert to Prince George.
Today (Tuesday), Cameron and Charity were met with a full banquet hall celebrating the end of their walk, which was around 7,000 kilometers in total.
They said each of them went through six pairs of shoes on the walk.
When they arrived at the Red Dress monument on Highway 16 and Ferry yesterday, ending their walk, Charity said “we just fell to our knees and started crying. It was so powerful to get there as soon as my feet touched that ground.”
They said the fact that they are home and don’t have to walk anymore is still setting in.
“We are pretty proud of what we did for our next generations,” Cameron said.
Charity said the couple will still show up to local events and causes that call attention to MMIW in Prince George and across northern BC, and they are calling on others to do the same.
“It is no longer acceptable to sit here and pretend that you don’t know this is going on in your own backyard. It is time to engage in these uncomfortable conversations,” she said.
The day they arrived in Prince George, the remains of Chelsey Quaw, who had been missing for nearly a month, were located.
The Wests were at a news conference in Vanderhoof on Friday (November 3rd) that called for a stronger search effort for herself and Jay Raphael, who has been missing since February.
“It was really hard,” Charity said. “A huge part of our walk was prayer, we want to honour all of the people we have lost. It was our prayer that whole day, was for their family. Even at that news conference, it was beautiful to see so many people turn out for that.”
Charity added a notably absent group at that conference was anyone from the RCMP or law enforcement.
“It is a bitter sweet feeling to know her family does not have to continue to go on without closure, but we were praying for a better outcome.”
“It is our duty to do this, show up, and enforce policy change,” Charity said. “This affects all populations, nobody should be scared to let their kids walk out the door.”