Stephanie English undertook a pilgrimage from the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta to Calgary to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,  an issue that has devastated her family.

“October 21 will be two years since I buried my daughter but not all of her,” explained English. “Part of her is still buried in a Calgary landfill.”

Joey English passed away in 2016. The Calgary Police Service says her death wasn’t a homicide but parts of her body that had been chopped into pieces were found in a greenspace near the Centre Street Bridge.

Investigators scoured through a landfill for four months before calling off their search. Joshua Wiese was convicted of committing an indignity to human remains in connection with the investigation and, according to English, has completed his sentence. “He only served 18 months.”

English is not alone in her campaign. She is being accompanied on her journey by her mother Patsy, a Piikani elder, who has seen far too many of her loved ones die or disappear. “Something’s got to be done for the justice system,” said Patsy English. “Not only for us but for everyone who is going through the same turmoil that we’re going through.”

Staff from the Kainai School walked alongside Stephanie English for several kilometres and a school bus from Kainai Middle School briefly paused ahead of her, at a location north of Nanton, to allow the students to throw roses on her path. “To see a mother’s love this strong,” said Ramona Big Head, principal of Kainai High School, “To see her walking, to see her bringing to light what happened to her beautiful daughter, touches us all.”

English is expected to arrive in Calgary late Wednesday evening and plans to take part in Thursday morning’s Sisters in Spirit vigil at Olympic Plaza alongside her mother. The event begins at 11:30 a.m.

With files from CTV’s Kevin Green