Growing up, Sterritt was steeped in the stories of her ancestors: grandparents who carried bentwood boxes of berries, hunted and trapped, and later fought for rights and title to that land. But as a vulnerable young woman, kicked out of the family home and living on the street, Sterritt inhabited places that, today, are infamous for being communities where women have gone missing or been murdered: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and, later on, Northern BC’s Highway of Tears. Sterritt faced darkness: she experienced violence from partners and strangers and saw friends and community members die or go missing. But she navigated the street, group homes, and SROs to finally find her place in journalism and academic excellence at university, relying entirely on her own strength, resilience, and creativity along with the support of her ancestors and community to find her way.
“She could have been me,” Sterritt acknowledges today, and her empathy for victims, survivors, and families drives her present-day investigations into the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women. In the end, Sterritt steps into a place of power, demanding accountability from the media and the public, exposing racism, and showing that there is much work to do on the path towards understanding the truth. But most importantly, she proves that the strength and brilliance of Indigenous women is unbroken, and that together, they can build lives of joy and abundance.