Sunday, September 21, 2014
Text Size

Young First Nations members greeted as heroes after 1,600-km trek from Hudson Bay

By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Wrapped in ceremonial white, hooded jackets, nearly 300 young people arrived Monday on Parliament Hill to cap off a marathon winter trek through the Canadian hinterland inspired by the Idle No More movement.

 

Hundreds more supporters filled the steps beneath the Peace Tower to greet the walkers as they made their way to the Parliament Buildings from nearby Victoria Island on the Ottawa River.

Amid the relentless pounding of ceremonial First Nations drummers and the chants and songs of marchers, dozens of speakers pleaded with the Harper government to alleviate the harsh living conditions on some reserves.

The group, known as the Nishiyuu Walkers, were celebrated as heroes as they were greeted with cheering and wild applause throughout the afternoon-long demonstration.

Their long walk began when David Kawapit Jr., a 17-year-old from the isolated community of Whapmagoostui in northern Quebec, decided to trudge the staggering 1,600 kilometres from the edge of Hudson Bay to Ottawa in support of better conditions for aboriginal people.

Kawapit repeatedly flashed his broad smile as he was surrounded by supporters in the march from Victoria Island.

Since the coldest days of January, when Kawapit and a half-dozen supporters embarked on their journey with snowshoes on their feet and their supplies in tow, their ranks slowly swelled to several hundred people.

Organizers said about 270 walkers in total completed the journey to Ottawa.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May jumped and cheered as the group ended their "awe-inspiring" trek.

She accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper — who opted to be in Toronto for the arrival of two giant pandas on loan from China — of ignoring the plight of Canada's aboriginal population.

"It says a lot that Stephen Harper isn't here, that he's greeting the pandas," said May. "It says a lot that we need to move heaven and earth to meet First Nations on a nation-to-nation basis with respect."

A Facebook group, called The Journey of Nishiyuu and boasting more than 33,500 members, also derided Harper for attending a panda photo-op instead of greeting the walkers.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt met with some of the young people who completed the trek, and he acknowledged their "determination and commitment," said the minister's spokesman.

"They met probably just over a half hour in total," Jason MacDonald said in an email. "He expressed a desire to engage youth in the key issues facing communities across the country. He also accepted an invite to their community this summer."

During question period in the House of Commons, New Democrat Romeo Saganash said First Nations members need something more concrete.

"It's too late for broken promises and paternalism," Saganash said.

Valcourt said the government wants to help First Nations develop the skills and expertise they need to make the most of their natural resources.

The trek to Ottawa was arduous for many of those who took part.

When they arrived last week on the First Nation reserve of Kitigan Zibi, about 130 kilometres north of Ottawa, nearly two dozen of the walkers needed treatment for foot injuries.

Three members of the group were later sent to hospital in nearby Maniwaki, Que., treated, and released.

 

 

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

JOBS

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON

Responsibilities

Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014

EVENTS

September 2014
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
imageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

 

Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins