Six young men from the Cree community Whapmagoostui in northern Quebec have been snowshoeing and walking–along with a guide–an incredible 1,600 kilometers from their home on Hudson Bay to Ottawa in support of the Idle No More movement. They are scheduled to arrive today at noon ET at Victoria Island for a welcome ceremony before the last leg of their walk to Parliament Hill.
According to the Idle No More website:
So with temperatures apparently hovering at around -50C, he [David Kawapit Jr.] and six others left home on Jan. 16, trekking on snowshoes and pulling their supplies, stopping at communities along the way to tell people that they wanted changes to how Indigenous people are treated in Canada.
They want to change the contempt with which they are treated, they want to end the blockage placed in front of them designed to quash their aspirations and heritage, they want to end the mentality of relegation that sees so many First Nations forced into to the lowest status imaginable by the political and cultural mainstream.
The gesture reflected the mood across the country in the middle of January, when Idle No More was in full flow with protests and media attention.
Let me share from the official Journey of Nishiyuu website:
6 Youth under the age of 20 with two guides wish to walk to Ottawa and arrive in Parliament Hill. This is a strong message to prove to other First Nations across Canada that the Cree Nation of Quebec are not sellouts, but keepers of the Language, Culture, Tradition and more importantly; today, we still carry the sacred laws of our ancestors.
This Quest-Journey will establish and unite our historical allies and restore our traditional trade routes with the Algonquin, Mohawk and other First Nations. The time for Unity is now.
Through Unity and Harmony, the quest will revive the voices of our “Anskushiyouch”. Their voices will be heard once more. With their guidance and strength, the Truth to all the sacred teachings will be revived and we will become once more, a powerful United Nations across Turtle Island.
As they have been walking through communities, others have been joining them. There are now at least 200 walkers according to the CBC. The CBC is tracking tweets and photos from the walk using Scribblelive on this story: Cree youth on final leg of Idle No More trek to Ottawa (March 25, 2013).
Their official website nishiyuujourney.ca has more information including bios of the walkers, blog posts, media and a way to donate.