This past April, documentary photographer Sara Hylton travelled across Saskatchewan, where over 50 percent of missing or murdered women and girls are Indigenous—one of the highest proportions in the country. With help from Ntawnis Piapot, a local Cree journalist, Hylton met with community elders, victims’ families, and women willing to share their experiences. Hylton’s photos capture nearly thirty Indigenous people whose loved ones have disappeared or died.
In the months since Hylton launched her project, the families she spoke to have watched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which aims to identify systemic roots of violence against Indigenous people, struggle to recover from its bureaucratic and political missteps over the past year. Several of the inquiry’s high-level staff members, including one of the five commissioners, have resigned, and Indigenous families and advocates across the country are calling for a “hard reset.” The inquiry’s failures add a new dimension to Hylton’s photos, which seek to portray the suffering and the “resilience, sisterhood, and femininity” of communities that are waiting for answers and concrete change.