Healing journey from Whitehorse to Kamloops reaches Prince George

Warriors walk for healing

A group walking from Whitehorse in honour of Indigenous children who died at residential schools, stopped in Prince George on their healing journey to Kamloops.

The group is called Warriors Walk for Healing Nations and began the long journey on June 26 – weeks after Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation revealed their findings of 215 unmarked graves at the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School.

They’ve now walked more than 1,800 kilometres and stopped in Prince George to meet with Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Chief Dolleen Logan and rest before continuing on toward Kamloops.

“What this group is doing is helping on this healing journey,” said Chief Logan when she met with the walkers Monday. “They are bringing everybody home in their own way.”

The walk began after James Henyu from the Tahltan First Nation in Telegraph Creek, B.C., had a vision motivating him to start the journey and bring awareness to the growing number of unmarked graves confirmed at residential school sites across the country – a number which is now in the thousands.

Henyu and two others, Jacqueline Shorty from the Northern Nations Alliance and Lorraine Netro from Vuntut Gwitchin Yukon, started the walk together in Whitehorse. It has now grown to 16 participants.

“Growing up around people who have seen these hard times I had to find a way to honour them,” said Henyu. “It came to me and I’m sure glad I stepped up to do it because it means a lot. At the beginning I never thought it would affect anybody this much, as it did.”

The group has travelled down the Alaska Highway where they witnessed the ceremonial demolition of the Lower Post Residential school and went through Stewart, Kitwanga over to Terrace and then onto Prince George – vising communities along the way.

“One of the things we are adamant about is that we want to raise awareness that we ensure that this truth that has come forward of the 215 children, and the growing numbers, that the truth is not swept under the rug,” said Shorty.

She said this walk has been a healing process not only for the participants but for community as well.

“Every community that we have visited has shared their personal stories and very painful stories so many truths are coming forward and we are ensuring those truths are not going to be swept away.”

Shorty says they hope to reach Kamloops sometime near Aug. 9 and hope to walk into the city along with all of their supporters.

“All of the chiefs that we have encountered and many of the councils have indicated that they want to join us there,” explained Shorty.

“What we envision when we arrive is we will walk in and have all of our people behind us all of the nations that have indicated they want to be there — we are going to have them walking with us. We will have quite a group of people coming in and that will be a telling of a truth in Canada of what has happened to our people.”

The group has more than 500 kilometers to go before they reach Kamloops.

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