“There is a crisis of violence in our communities,” says Connie Walker, an award-winning Cree journalist from Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan. In her podcasts Stolen and Missing & Murdered, Walker investigates cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
In Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s (Season 2), Walker unearths how her family’s story fits into one of Canada’s darkest chapters: the residential school system.
Q&A with journalist Wudan Yan.
Last May, Walker came upon a story about her late father she’d never heard before. One night back in the late 1970s while he was working as an officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he pulled over a suspected drunk driver. He walked up to the vehicle and came face-to-face with a ghost from his past—a residential school priest. What happened on the road that night set in motion an investigation that would send Walker deep into her own past, trying to uncover the secrets of her family and the legacy of trauma passed down through the generations.
In Stolen: The Search for Jermain (Season One) podcast, Walker investigates the disappearance of a twenty-three-year-old Indigenous mother named Jermain Charlo who left a bar in Missoula, Montana in 2018, and was never seen again. After two years and thousands of hours of investigative work, police believe they are close to solving the mystery of what happened to her. Stolen, a podcast by investigative journalist Connie Walker on Gimlet Media, goes inside the investigation, tracking down leads and joining search parties through the dense mountains of the Flathead Reservation. As Walker unravels the mystery, her show examines what it means to be an Indigenous woman in America.
Connie Walker, an award-winning Cree journalist from Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan, is the former host of the CBC News podcast, Missing & Murdered. In Stolen (Season One), Walker travels to Montana to tell the story of Jermain Charlo who was last seen on the evening of June 16, 2018, in Missoula.
“With podcasting, you have the time and space to really dive in and connect the dots in a way that was really difficult to do when I was a news reporter,” Walker says. She hopes Stolen: The Search for Jermain will bring new attention to Charlo’s case, and shed light on the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in general.
In 2018, Walker’s podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo won the inaugural Best Serialized Story award at the Third Coast International Audio festival. The podcast was also featured in the Columbia Journalism Review, The Rolling Stone, Vulture, Teen Vogue, Chatelaine, and was named one of the Best Podcasts of 2018 by Apple Canada.
In 2017, Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? won the RTDNA’s Adrienne Clarkson Award and was nominated for a Webby Award. Walker and her colleagues at the CBC’s Indigenous Unit won multiple awards for their investigative work, including the 2016 Canadian Association of Journalists’ Don McGillivray Investigative Award, a Canadian Screen Award, and the prestigious Hillman Award for the Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls interactive website.
Wudan Yan, our Q&A moderator for the evening, is an independent journalist based in Seattle. She writes about science and society for The Atlantic, High Country News, MIT Technology Review, New York Magazine, the New York Times, and others. Learn more.