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New street name added in Timmins to honour Indigenous mother’s memory


May 5 is National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people.

To raise awareness about the significance of the day, a gathering of about 50 members of Fort Albany First Nation, Timmins officials and invited guests formed at the Vipond Road and Moneta Avenue intersection to honour the memory of Bernadette Sutherland.

Sutherland was the mother of 11 children who left an unhealthy domestic relationship in Fort Albany First Nation to find a better life for her and her children in Timmins.

But she was killed in 1986. It’s a harsh reality her children have endured, but now they seek closure.

“It brought so much, you know, so much trauma … we're still healing -- it's still ongoing,” said Virgina Sutherland, Bernadette’s daughter.

“In terms of closure, this is just the start of closure for myself anyway.”

The road naming is a gesture by the City of Timmins and officials said it will help highlight the history of missing and murdered Indigenous persons and spark more action to reduce the statistics.

“We need to gather and support and meeting face-to-face really goes a big step to that connection, to the storytelling and supporting each other because there are so many relations across this land and it's really, really beautiful to see this,” said Deputy Chief Terry Metatawbin of Fort Albany First Nation.

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“You know, it's a reminder … for all levels of government to support, you know, continue to fund these initiatives because it's a long journey to healing … and my hope is with this initiative, for more initiatives to come,” Sutherland added.

Officials estimate Canada has 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit persons. Top Stories

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