THUNDER BAY – Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is calling on the public for donations to support the Omushkegowuk Walkers who are trekking from their home communities to Ottawa to raise awareness of First Nation issues and are pressing the federal government to respect and honour the treaty relationship.
“It is with great strength and commitment that these walkers are continuing their pledge to bring an awareness of the chronic underfunding in our communities for basic human needs such as clean water, proper housing and healthcare needs,” said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy. “As leaders we feel their frustration in dealing with a government that doesn’t listen to our concerns and with the widening poverty gap between mainstream society and the First Nations, now is the time to listen and to act. Our thoughts and prayers are with them on every step of their trek to Ottawa.”
The mission called ‘Reclaiming Our Steps Past, Present and Future’ began January 4 when Danny Metatawabin and two other Attawapiskat residents, Brian Okimaw and Paul Mattinas, set out on the James Bay winter road towards Ottawa.
According to Metatawabin who was spokesperson during the Chief Theresa Spence fasting campaign last year said he was inspired by the young Cree walkers who completed a three-month walk called the ‘Journey of Nishiyuu’ from their community in Quebec to Ottawa last March.
However, it is the frustration that nothing has changed a year after the Chief Theresa Spence hunger fast, the Idle No More events across the country and the open expectation that something would change that sparked this walk. “A year went by and nothing really happened – there was no follow up or reports or engagement with the grassroots people,” Metatawabin said.
The walkers who have been joined by others average 30 kms a day and arrive in Cochrane yesterday meeting with Cochrane town council and enjoying a feast. They have another 900 km to go until they reach Ottawa. The walkers are seeking donations of wool socks and warm clothes and funds to help complete their journey.
For more information and schedule of the Walkers, please visit http://www.mushkegowuk.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reclaiming-Our-Steps-Past-Present-Future/768816863131863
And for donations please contact Vern Cheechoo at 705-268-1150 or 705-360-3858.