In an act that can only be described as courageous and inspiring, a group of Quebec Cree First Nations young people from Hudson Bay are walking for Idle No More. They believe so strongly in their cause for unity, they are willing to walk 1,500 km (932 miles) to Ottawa in order to bring awareness to indigenous issues. The CBC reported that this may have been the starting idea, but that now, the journey has rapidly taken on a spiritual component.
Every day, the young people on the Journey of Nishiyuu are taking steps towards Ottawa. Since mid-January, a growing group of Cree youth has been walking in support of Idle No More. The original idea was to deepen their links to the culture and the environment. But as Melissa Natachequan found out, the walk is inspiring and healing many along the way.
Almost two months after they departed Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuaraapik, Que., in –40 C weather, the walkers have covered more than 1,000 kilometres and rallied about 100 people to join them from communities along the way.
“They’re very determined,” said Matthew Mukash, a spokesperson for the march, who stayed behind but keeps tabs on the walkers. “The second day, in the evening, it went down to –58 and they slept in their canvas-covered lodge. . . . They went on like that for a month.”
This week, the group crossed into Algonquin territory and received a raucous welcome from locals in Lac-Simon, Que., before being treated to a feast with the whole community. The CBC broadcast an interview with the walkers when they reached Algonquin territory in Lac Simon:
“The time to stand united is now,” wrote Whapmagoostui Chief Stanley George in a letter of support. “Our youths will reinforce the traditional bonds that existed between the Cree Nation and our historical allies by restoring the traditional trade routes that linked the Cree, Algonquin, Mohawk and other First Nations.”
The walkers expect to reach Parliament Hill on March 25, where they will be welcomed by New Democrat MP Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou), who will gather a party to greet them.
We at GodDiscussion salute the bravery of these people, are inspired by them, and wish them well on their journey. This writer lives near and works on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Cante wasteya nape ciyuza pe…I take your hands with a good heart.