Written by Denise Deby.
Imagine walking 1700 km in winter because you believe in something.
— Tim Fontaine (@anishinaboy) February 24, 2014
Last week, a group of people arrived in Ottawa after a long journey. Omushkegowuk Walkers Danny Metatawabin, Brian Okimaw and Paul Mettina left Attawapiskat on January 4, and walked 1700 km—around 50 days—to reach Parliament Hill.
Their message: that Canada needs to honour its treaties with First Nations, and build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and with the earth that are based on respect.
The three men and about 20 other walkers who joined them along the way reached the Human Rights Monument and Parliament Hill on Monday, February 24, where elders and supporters greeted them. Lynda Kitchikeesic Juden gives an account of the walkers’ arrival on the “Reclaiming our Steps” Facebook page.
At their arrival, and on social media, people have been expressing their awe of and pride in what the walkers achieved. The long journey, through bitter temperatures and along the edges of highways, is a powerful statement of the determination to change attitudes about Indigenous peoples, and of the urgency of establishing “a balanced relationship on a Nation to Nation basis,” in Danny Metatawabin’s words.
You can read more about the Omushkegowuk Walkers and their “Walk for all People” at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reclaiming-Our-Steps-Past-Present-Future/768816863131863.
— Jaime Koebel (@JaimeJiggs) February 24, 2014
This spiritual journey, echoed by our ancestors is a calling for all of First Nation Peoples to be awakened and take action on matters that affects our existence- past, present and future. We cannot remain silent and/or be silenced no more. This is our time. Change is upon us and we are the change.” – from Reclaiming Our Steps Past, Present and Future