VANCOUVER - The parents of an aboriginal girl found murdered last week in Kamloops, B.C., have joined the call for a national inquiry into murdered and missing First Nations women.
Matilda Fowler and Glen Wilson, the mother and father of 16-year-old CJ Fowler, joined Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and other aboriginal leaders in Vancouver on Wednesday to renew the demand for the government to look into such tragedies.
The girl's parents sobbed during a news conference as they spoke about losing their daughter.
"I'm going to find who did this. I want justice for my daughter and I don't want any more young girls going missing or murdered. Nobody deserves to lose a daughter," Matilda Fowler told the media.
Atleo said the girl's death has triggered an overwhelmingly painful reminder of similar tragedies in other First Nations communities across Canada, and they won't rest until their people have safety and security.
"First Nations have committed to ending violence against and among our peoples, we have called for a national public commission of inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and we will not rest until this is achieved," Atleo said in a news release.
Fowler told reporters the family is comforted by the support from their leaders "for continuing to take this message forward and to advocate on behalf of us and other families impacted by such tragedies."
First Nations Summit Chief Ed John said the death of CJ is a terrible tragedy and another horrific example of violence against aboriginal women.
Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip also extended his condolences to the girl's family and her many friends.
"Another family, another community suffers an inconsolable loss," he said.
Phillip said the growing issue of murdered and missing First Nations women across Canada is nothing short of a national disgrace.
The call for an independent inquiry has been made over the last several years. First Nations leaders say they want the inquiry to include a review of police policies and procedures in regard to searches, investigations and communications between police, officials and families.
The renewed demand comes as RCMP in Kamloops reveal that CJ Fowler was last seen early in the morning on Dec. 5, walking down a main street to catch a bus to her Terrace home.
Her body was found by a man walking his dog in an undeveloped area slated for residential use.
In November, provincial and territorial justice and aboriginal affairs ministers gathered in Winnipeg and concluded they were prepared to take action to reduce the number of First Nations women who are victims of violence every year.
However, the ministers didn't commit to lobbying the federal government for an inquiry.
Aboriginal groups estimate as many as 600 aboriginal women have disappeared or been killed over the last two decades.
(The Canadian Press, CKNW, CHNL)
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Age: 16 Last Seen: Aug. 9, 1974 near Lac La Hache. Body found Sept. 5, 1974 near 100 Mile House. Was believed to be hitchhiking. RCMP have determined through DNA testing that Bobby Jack Fowler was responsible for her death.
Gale Ann Weys
Age: 19 Last Seen: Oct. 19, 1973 in Clearwater. Body found April 6, 1974 along Yellowhead Highway. Believed hitchhiking to Kamloops.
Age: 19 Last Seen: Nov. 6, 1973 in Kamloops. Body found Nov. 7, 1973 in a city park. Believed to be hitchhiking at the time.
Age: 16 Last Seen: June 14, 1990, along Highway 16 in Smithers.
Age: 19 Last Seen: October 7, 1995 at a service station in Thornhill, B.C.
Age: 25 Last Seen: June 21, 2002 in Prince George. Believed to be hitchhiking on Highway 16.
Age: 22 Last Seen: Sept. 21, 2005 in Prince Rupert. Believed to be hitchhiking on Highway 16.
Age: 24 Last Seen: Aug. 26, 1989 in Prince Rupert. Body found Sept. 16, 1989 on Highway 16.
Age: 16 Last Seen: June 11, 1994, hitchhiking to a friend's home in Smithers. Body found April 1995, Smithers Airport.
Age: 15 Last Seen: Nov. 1994 in Prince George. Body found near Burns Lake.
Leah Alisha Germaine
Age: 15 Her body was found Dec. 9, 1994.
Cecilia Anne Nikal
Last Seen: 1989
Age: 14 Last Seen: Dec. 13, 1974 in Thornhill, B.C. Body found Apr. 6, 1975 near Terrace.
Aielah Saric Auger
Age: 14 Last Seen: Feb. 2, 2006 in Prince George. Body found Feb. 10, 2006 on Highway 16.
Age: 27 Last Seen: Oct. 25, 1969 in Williams Lake. Body found Oct. 26 1969.
Age: 18 Last Seen: July 1970 along Fort St. John/Hudson's Hope Highway. Body found Aug. 8, 1970 near Hudson's Hope. Last seen hitchhiking to a ranch.
Shelly Ann Bascu
Age: 16 Last Seen: May 3, 1983 near Hinton, Alberta. Seen walking along Highway 16.
Age: 12 Last Seen: May 6, 1978 near Nicola Lake. Body found in June 1995 north of Merritt.
Age: 33 Last Seen: May 8, 1981 in Salmon Arm. Body found May 9, 1981 near Kamloops. Believed to have been hitchhiking.