10 years on, mother of Claudette Osborne marches forward in search of missing daughter
10th annual Manitoba march sees families walk from Norway House to Winnipeg to raise awareness for MMIWG cases
It's been nearly a decade since Claudette Osborne vanished, but even as the nightmare and uncertainty continues for family members, her mother has never given up hope that she will one day learn what happened to her daughter.
Brenda Osborne arrived on foot in Winnipeg Wednesday, flanked by her grandchildren and other families who marched into the city from Norway House — a nearly 800-kilometre journey — to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
"I'm trying to find my daughter," she said just off Highway 6 northwest of Winnipeg.
"Hopefully we're getting bigger and getting heard. We want justice for our families."
It's the 10th such march in Manitoba in 10 years led by Osborne and others with missing family members, including relatives of Tanya Nepinak, who was last seen leaving her home in Winnipeg in 2011.
"There's others, family members that go through this nightmare and this is why [they] continue [to] walk," said Osborne.
Her daughter Claudette Osborne, 21, was last seen on July 25, 2008 — just two weeks after giving birth to a baby girl.
She disappeared from the area of Selkirk Avenue and King Street in Winnipeg and her case remains open.
Claudette's family have taken part in several vigils over the years, and she is also the sister of Point Douglas NDP MLA Bernadette Smith.
Smith has been a vocal advocate for the MMIWG movement and helped found Drag the Red, a volunteer-based group that scours river bottoms in Winnipeg for evidence that might help police solve missing person cold cases.
Brenda Osborne still feels dismayed by her daughter's disappearance and the lack of information investigators have been able to dig up, but she also expressed concern over the police and justice systems and whether they are fairly serving Indigenous communities in missing persons cases.
"Our children are not garbage, we're not disposable, and this is why we continue fighting and hope to get justice for our families," said Osborne.
"We've met up with a lot of families that are suffering and are not heard.… We're all fighting for the same thing."
The marchers plan to join up with others walking from Ontario at the Manitoba Legislature Wednesday night for a ceremony.