Aboriginal group walking to Pickton farm, and then to Prince Rupert to highlight missing women

Aboriginal human-rights activist Gladys Radek and more than three dozen other supporters of missing women are marching today to the site of the  former Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam.

Robert William Pickton  has  been  convicted of murdering six Downtown Eastside women and is charged with 20 more killings.

The marchers  left the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre this morning as part of the Walk4Justice  and headed east along Hastings Street.

After reaching the Pickton farm, the journey will continue to Prince Rupert via Prince George to bring attention to the missing women on the road dubbed the Highway of Tears, which runs between the two B.C. communities. The walk is designed to draw attention to the group's calls for a public inquiry.

Radek's niece Tamara Lynn Chipman went missing while hitchhiking east of Prince Rupert in 2005. In 2008, Radek led a 4,000-kilometre Walk4Justice to Parliament Hill,  also to press  for a public inquiry into the missing women.

Radek told the Straight by phone that her group is raising money to finance this year's walk to Prince Rupert.

"We are in dire need of donations," she said.  "If they can send them to the Union of  B.C. Indian Chiefs, ask for Don Bain.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the UBCIC and Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, regional chief of the Assembly of First Nation, spoke to the marchers today. Vancouver councillor Ellen Woodsworth, who participated part of today's walk, told the Straight by phone that the police cleared two lanes to make room for the march.

Woodsworth said she has been "very moved" by the efforts of  young aboriginal people to stand up for their community.  "I was around when red power started in Vancouver," she said.  "It’s just like it’s blossoming again. It’s very impressive.”

On May 27, Atleo announced that he is running for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. The winner will be elected in Calgary on July 22.

For more information on the Walk4Justice, contact 604-299-0969.