Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls
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“No one ever calls me about Chantelle,” said her mother, Vivian Bushie, while on the highway.

“I’m driving but if you don’t mind, I want to talk,” she said, explaining she was hooked up to bluetooth.

“I miss her.”

Besides being skilled at drawing, Chantelle Bushie, 16, was known as the numbers whiz in the family.

“She really liked to do math,” Vivian said, explaining it was never something she was good at herself.

“She was so smart.”

Even over the phone, it is obvious Bushie is holding back tears. Moments later, she says her daughter was sexually abused as a little girl.

When Chantelle got older, she didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere, Bushie says. “I know that she had a hard time making friends.”

And in the blink of an eye, things got worse. “She was starting to skip school and taking off from home. I would report her to the police,” Bushie said.

“I went to child welfare, and asked ‘what can you do to help?’ Then they told me if she was high-risk to herself, then they would get involved.”

Chantelle is listed on Canada’s Missing, a national public website that publishes information about missing children, persons and unidentified remains.

According to the website, she was last seen on Dec. 1, 2007, but there is no information on where in Grand Prairie, Alta. she was seen for the last time. Vivian says problems started months before Chantelle vanished, when she ran away.

“I know she was on the street and like, I asked the police for help at the time, but they said they couldn’t do anything unless she gets in trouble with the law,” she said.

The Grand Prairie RCMP is investigating Chantelle’s case, and will not provide information on it, other than that it’s an ongoing investigation.

The KARE unit, an RCMP entity that investigates and reviews files of murdered or missing vulnerable persons throughout Alberta, temporarily reviewed the file.

For Bushie, it was hopeful until KARE handed the case back to Grand Prairie RCMP. Investigators said Chantelle, who was a member of Alberta’s Dene Tha’ First Nation, did not fit the project’s mandate.

With her daughter gone, Bushie is raising Chantelle’s child, her granddaughter.

She supports the possibility of a federal inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous girls and women, and she says it’s become a priority to teach the young girl about dangers she will encounter as an aboriginal woman in the country.