Jessica McDiarmid is a Canadian journalist who has worked across North America and Africa, writing for publications such as the Toronto Star, the Associated Press, Maisonneuve, Canadian Business and the Harvard ReviewHighway of Tears is her first book. She lives in British Columbia.

Highway of Tears

Cover by Kym Gouchie: 

Kym Gouchie is a singer-songwriter and visual artist from the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, also known as Prince George, British Columbia. A mother of four and grandmother of nine, Kym is an arts and culture advisor and advocate for Indigenous people. She is a spokeswoman and member of the Aboriginal School District Elders and Knowledge Keepers Committee in the Prince George region.

For decades, Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the Highway of Tears, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis.

Journalist Jessica McDiarmid meticulously investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference has created a climate where Indigenous women and girls are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims–mothers and fathers, siblings and friends–McDiarmid provides an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and unflagging fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada–now estimated to number up to 4,000–contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in the country.

Highway of Tears is a piercing exploration of our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and testament to their families and communities’ unwavering determination to find it.