Warning: This article includes distressing details.
The father of a Metis woman whose remains were discovered last year organized a Saskatoon walk in her memory to call attention missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) on Sunday.
Megan Gallagher, 30, had been missing since Sept. 19, 2020.
Brian Gallagher, her father, said people with missing loved ones go through a “special kind of hell.”
He’s committed to raising awareness about the issue. In the past, he organized walks asking people to come forward with information about Megan Gallagher’s disappearance.
He said although his daughter was found, his message remains the same: the silence is killing us. And he encouraged people with information about those missing to come forward.
“It might be one little piece of a thread that you may think is insignificant, but it might make all the world of a difference to some families that are living this,” Brian Gallagher said.
Megan Gallagher was last seen at a friend’s house in Saskatoon on Sept. 19, 2020.
Her remains were found almost a year ago while police combed the South Saskatchewan River near St. Louis, a community located about 100 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
Several people have been charged in relation to her death.
In what Brian Gallagher described as a heartwarming turnout, dozens marched a few kilometres from Joe Gallagher Field in Saskatoon to River Landing.
While Brian Gallagher spoke with reporters, songwriter Donny Parenteau played in the background. The River Landing courtyard took a different tone with some people dancing the jig.
Brian Gallagher said it lifts his spirits to have people support their family and called the opportunity to build community amazing.
At River Landing, many wore shirts plastered with Megan’s face with “Missing” bolded beside it.
Brian’s shirt said: “Murdered but not forgotten.”
“There should be nobody having to put their daughter’s picture on a T-shirt,” he said. “One of the hardest things for me to get used to is still seeing my daughter’s face on a poster.”
Megan Gallagher’s death has been a life sentence for Brian Gallagher and his family, he said. But he considers himself fortunate because he knows what happened to her, while others are still searching for their loved ones.
Krista Fox, a MMIWG advocate, brought posters of about a half-dozen other people who are or were missing to the event.
Fox joined Megan’s sister, Lindsey Bishop, in a journey across Canada to bring awareness to MMIWG.
That call for awareness recently became more potent. Fox said her 14-year-old grandson was the victim of a homicide in December.
“It’s so heartbreaking, just within the last week we had a body found in North Battleford … I have mothers waiting to hear if that’s their loved one,” she said.
She said she brings the posters with her to advocate across Canada and as a reminder that missing people are not just statistics.