Families of missing and murdered women, girls brave winter conditions during 150-km walk

Just before noon on Friday, family members of missing loved ones gathered in Saskatoon where they began their march through winter conditions to Prince Albert.

Nearly 100 northern Sask. families of MMIW want to offer statements to the National Inquiry

Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women will walk for around 60 hours to reach Prince Albert from Saskatoon. (Lise Ouangari/SRC)

Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls from across northern Saskatchewan are walking 150 kilometres in hopes of answers and government action.

Just before noon on Friday, family members of missing and murdered loved ones gathered in Saskatoon where they began their march through winter conditions, hosted by the Native Women's Association of Canada, toward Prince Albert.

"What we're walking for is our northern people," said Pernell Ballantyne, who originally came up with the idea for the walk in 2015 after his sister Monica Lee Burns was murdered in Prince Albert.

A few participants snapped a selfie during the 150 kilometre walk. (Lise Ouangari/SRC)

This year marks the second time the walk took place. The first was held in 2015.

Collectively participants hope to raise awareness that nearly 100 families haven't had the opportunity to offer statements in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Conrad Burns, one of the organizers, explained that many affected northern families couldn't attend the first National Inquiry statement offering due to time and travel expense restraints.

"There's a lot of loopholes in our current society that these families are falling into," said Burns. "So when a family member goes missing some of the family members feel like they're starting from scratch. They don't know who to turn to or who to talk to."

Organizers hope the National Inquiry in northern Saskatchewan will gather a second round of statements in response to their requests.

The walk will take approximately 60 hours to complete, according to Burns.

With Files from Lise Ouangari/SRC