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ORANGE DAISY PROJECT

Workbook Contributor

BERNADETTE SMITH

Recent recipient of the Order of Manitoba, Bernadette is a mother, grandmother, wife, and teacher. Bernadette's sister Claudette Osborne-Tyo went missing in July of 2008. Since that time, Bernadette has been tirelessly searching for answers about her sister, and supporting others who are in a similar situation.

In September of 2014, Bernadette organized a group, Drag the Red, to drag the Red River, searching for evidence to support police in their work to find missing persons. As Bernadette was quoted as saying in a Globe and Mail article on September 10, 2014, “If we can find [remains] and give a family the comfort of maybe bringing their loved one home, then that’s something. It’s a double-edged sword. You hope you don’t find anything, but you also hope you can find some answers.” 

Bernadette is regularly contacted by media to share her story, and her perspective on the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, as she has become very much involved in helping other families to cope. Bernadette helped develop a missing persons and persons at risk toolkit in partnership with Winnipeg organization Ki Ni Kanichihk, which means “those who lead”. This toolkit is an invaluable resource for the loved ones of women who go missing, offering guidance from a readily-customizable Missing Persons Poster, to communications logs with law enforcement, and more. 

On December 9, 2013, Bernadette spoke in Parliament at the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women. She recently produced her eighth annual No Stone Unturned all day concert, to raise awareness for the case of missing and murdered Indigenous women. She has held vigils. She has spoken at many events. Bernadette is one of the strongest voices for action for the missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Bernadette is also Head Researcher for Taken, a television series for APTN and CBC that seeks to find answers in the cases of Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Orange Daisy Project is honoured to have her participation in this project.