In Northern British Columbia the intergenerational effects of the residential school system are still alive and prominent in the communities along the Highway of Tears. the 720 km (450 mi) section of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. Highway 16 is northern British Columbia’s east-west corridor, extending from Prince George in the east to Prince Rupert in the west. There are numerous municipalities and twenty-three First Nations communities that border the Highway of Tears. The region is plagued with poverty and lack of public transportation, forcing its occupants to turn to hitchhiking as a form of transit. Police list the number of Highway 16 victims at nineteen, but estimates by aboriginal organizations range into the forties, largely because they include women who disappeared a greater distance from the highway.
The result of these women going missing can be traced back to over one-hundred years of government assimilation and cultural genocide. The result of broken families, communities and nations, all point back to the residential school system. Statistics Canada found that the national homicide rate for Indigenous women is at least seven times higher than for non-indigenous women. Discussed in the National Council of Welfare (2007) the history of colonization has burdened our nations with a continual passing down of various loads or degrees of post-traumatic stress. Generation after generation, Indigenous people wind up with this entire burden of their people as they exist today. Alcohol has been as a risk factor for violence., the connection between colonization, alcohol use and increased vulnerability can be seen in situations of missing and murdered aboriginal women. The residential school experience had a direct impact on the next generations of Aboriginal women, resulting in what is often referred to as the intergenerational effects or intergenerational trauma of residential schools.