It’s been nearly eight months since Aboriginal teens Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander disappeared from Maniwaki last Sept. 5.
Suppressing tears and at times breaking down, Laurie Odjick told a press conference Thursday that from the beginning, not enough was done.
“I felt like a pea in the whole world.”
And now, Odjick is pleading with members of the public to help in a search.
With the help of Amnesty International, Search and Rescue Global 1 will be leading a massive search in Kitigan Zibi, Quebec on Saturday, May 2.
“As a family, we’ve had no support,” said Odjick. “It’s been a long and hard road for the family and we’re grateful for the help now.”
“We would like to see thousands of volunteers for the search,” said Maisy’s aunt, Maria Jacko. “There are two beautiful girl missing. We want to see justice for these girls.”
“Today, we’re talking about a search that should have been done when these two young women went missing,” said Ellen Gabriel, president of Quebec Native Women Inc.
Aboriginal women are the most marginalized group in Canada, said Gabriel.
Of the 513 murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada, three-quarters of the perpetrators have never been found, said Gabriel.
“Security and safety is a right for everybody,” said Gabriel, “regardless of race or gender.
“There is a double standard dealing with Aboriginal people. These people deserve better and society deserves better.”
Aboriginal police forces have limited resources when it comes to being able to respond to these situations, Gabriel said.
While Quebec police recently brought in a new investigator on the case, they need a specific squad to deal with missing persons and to investigate cold cases, said Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, president of the Murdered or Missing Persons‚ Families Association.
“Two teen girls don’t just disappear off the face of the earth,” said Odjick, who insists her daughter would have called to say she was OK.
“They had no money — just the clothes on their backs. I pray they are safe somewhere. I’m not going to stop fighting until I bring them home.”
Shannon Alexander is 18 years old, 5-9, 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Maisy Odjick is 16 years old, 6-feet, 125 pounds with brown hair and eyes and two piercings on her bottom lip and one on her left nostril.
A bus for volunteer searchers from Ottawa leaves for Kitigan Zibi from Amnesty International on Laurier Avenue at 7 a.m. on May 2. Volunteers must be 18. To register or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.