Imagine it's a normal, autumn evening. You finish your homework and then you kiss your mom goodnight.
You wake up the next morning after sleeping in. Curious to discover why you weren't woken up for school, You enter your mom's room to find an empty bed, sheets untouched.
At the time, you convince yourself that mom has just gone to run errands. Her car is gone. Her wallet is in the kitchen, but her cellphone is missing. The kitchen door is open slightly.
Off to school, beading a mental wampum as you imagine the story of her disappearance. It can't be anything too serious. She could be anywhere. She could be with anyone.
She is not a number. She is not number 825.
Rushing home that night, the yard is covered in snow. No footprints. Your mom still isn't home. You quietly enter the house and curl up in the centre of her bed, your phone clenched between your hands, hoping she will call at any moment. The cold wind whistles through the hollow bones of the manitous outside. It's cold. You hope she is in a warm place. This must all be a misunderstanding.
You call your dad on the riggs, he can barely hear you but tries his best to be reassuring. She might be with family and got delayed. You're almost grown up, you can take care of yourself.
You call her phone and her aunt's phone -- your mom's phone is dead and your aunt's goes straight to voicemail.
It starts to get really dark outside. You can hear the coyotes and the Rez dogs hunting. The house is starting to get cold and you're getting hungry.
You decide to wait for your mom before making dinner. She would wait for you. In fact, all you have is each other with dad gone to work on the oilfields. The blankets that cover the windows billow forward with a large gust of wind. It's cold out there.
You return to your mother's bed and curl up under the covers and eventually fall asleep.
Hours pass, you can sense it's getting light out. No sign of mom. You begin to cry. She would never leave you. All you have in the world is each other.
Mom wasn't like the other girls the RCMP keeps warning you about: slutty looking, strung out on dope and looking for trouble. She was a public nurse, making house calls.
Without a car, you have no way of getting around. You walk to the end of the driveway to hitch a ride along the highway. You watch the snow blow swiftly past the toes of your boots.
You hope you make it to your aunt's. Praying all along.
Weeks, then months pass. When the realization hits that mom isn't coming home, your dad gives you your mom's pipe.
Can you imagine if this was you? Is this what it is going to take for mainstream Canada to understand that we have an epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women?
In mainstream society, the dual social evils of sexism and racism can be most strongly felt by the way people ignore the plight of missing and missing Indigenous women.
If it were you, would you be curled up in your mother's bed, waiting?
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Krystalline Kraus is an intrepid explorer and reporter from Toronto Canada. A veteran activist and journalist for rabble.ca, she needs no aviator goggles, gas mask or red cape but proceeds fearlessly into the democratic fray.
Photo: flickr/Thien V
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