An innovative new app has been developed to provide support and resources for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The Taken Knowledge Keeper app allows users to create an album with details about their loved one, help conduct a search if a loved one goes missing and provides a missing-person action plan toolkit.
The interactive app was developed in tandem with the true-crime TV series Taken, which examines cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“As we proceed with Taken, we do everything delicately and did that with this as well,” said Rebecca Gibson, co-creator and head writer of Taken.
“The Taken Knowledge app is a place where loved ones can securely keep the information that they have about their loved one’s case and maybe get some tips and some resources if your loved one goes missing.”
Input from police, families
The app was created with input from victims’ families, advocacy organizations and law enforcement, who were asked what sort of tools would be helpful.
From there, Eagle Vision — the film and television production company based in Winnipeg that produces Taken — worked with Tactica Interactive, an award-winning interactive digital media service.
The app also boasts educational webisodes, quizzes, and self-care and healing resources. For instance, there are several tips about how to take care of oneself emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Launched on Sept. 8, the Taken Knowledge Keeper app is available for free from Apple’s App Store.
The app features a missing person action plan, a toolkit that describes steps to take if a family member goes missing, including tips on how to report a missing person, how to make a poster and working with the media.
The toolkit was developed by Bernadette Smith and her family. Smith is an Manitoba NDP MLA, whose sister Claudette Osborne-Tyo, 21, went missing in July 2008 from Winnipeg.
“We didn’t have anything and a lot of families after us didn’t have anything for a long time,” Smith said.
“A lot of families have access to smartphones so you can download that app, then it’s right on your phone and it’s accessible.”
The app was developed with support from the Digital Archives and Marginalized Communities project, housed at Mamawipawin, an Indigenous governance and research space at the University of Manitoba. Several U of M researchers contributed to the app.
Taken is now in its second season, which debuted with the case of 18-year-old Hillary Angel Wilson, an Indigenous woman who was found dead in the summer of 2009 in East St. Paul, outside Winnipeg.