'I had to say goodbye': Stories from the national MMIWG inquiry - APTN NewsAPTN News

‘I had to say goodbye’: Stories from the national MMIWG inquiry



Smithers,-B.C-in-the-morning-Sept-27-1000-x-560

John Murray
APTN National News
When Wet’suwet’en Chief Vivian Tom went to the scene of her daughter’s last moments RCMP officers would not let her across the barricade of yellow tape.

She became desperate, anxious, and defiant.

Finally, it became unbearable and she tore the tape aside and ran to her child, her baby.

“You know when they said I couldn’t cross that line to hold her, to hug her, to say goodbye to her, it broke my heart as a mother,” Tom told the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) at the public hearings in Smithers, B.C.

Tom’s daughter, left for dead alongside Hwy 16, better known as the Highway of Tears, was shrouded beneath a yellow tarp, hidden from the curious and prying eyes of passersby, and from her eyes.

All she wanted was that last moment with her daughter — to say goodbye.

Mounties wouldn’t allow it, so she took it upon herself to go to her daughter’s side.

As she paces back and forth, Tom said couldn’t hold back.

“I finally barged through that line. I went to her. I lifted that tarp. I crawled under the blanket, the tarp. I grabbed her. Hugged her in my arms. I said Destiny, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for what happened to you. I love you and miss you. I’m so sorry that you were alone when this happened.”

Read More: National Inquiry into MMIWG – Smithers, B.C. Hearings

Destiny Rae Tom was barely 22 years old when her life was torn away.

She also left behind a daughter who now so often wishes to be in her mother’s arms.

Tom said Cassidy Tom told her she wished she were dead so she can be with her mother.

“Cassidy was six years old when she talked about suicide,” said Tom.

Cassidy was barely a toddler when her mother was murdered.

The national MMIWG inquiry continues until Thursday.

Contact John here: jmurray@aptn.ca

 

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