Cree Idle No More walkers near end of 1,600 km trek to Ottawa
Group of seven left James Bay community in January
The long walk will soon be over for a group of youths from the James Bay Cree community of Whapmagoostui, Que., who expect to arrive in Ottawa Monday after trekking about 1,600 kilometres.
Six young people and a guide left the community in January, planning to snowshoe to Ottawa to show support for the Idle No More movement. They are calling the trek "The Journey of Nishiyuu," which means "The Journey of the People" in Cree.
More children and youth joined them from Cree and Algonquin communities in their path.
The group, now numbering close to 200, arrived at the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin reserve earlier this week.
On arrival in Kitigan Zibi, 22 of the walkers sought medical attention at the community’s clinic for foot injuries and three were sent to hospital in Maniwaki for further treatment.
The group has received warm welcomes in the communities where they have rested, and their Facebook group has more than 32,000 members.
David Kawapit, 18, of Whapmagoostui, said the support they've received on their journey has been phenomenal.
"We're all doing this for everyone," he said. "We're helping ourselves, we're helping our family and we're giving hope, really, for whoever is listening to what we are doing. It gives us inspiration and courage to keep on going."
The walkers are approaching the Ottawa-Gatineau region alongside Highway 105 southbound. They’re expected to arrive at Victoria Island Monday for a welcoming ceremony between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then walk to Parliament Hill.