Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2

New Episodes at CBC Music

New Episodes at CBC Music

Need more Strombo Show? Head over to our page on CBC Music for new episodes, playlists and video extras.

CBC Music Past Shows



Aboriginal Youth End Their Remarkable 1,600km Walk & Arrive On Parliament Hill
March 25, 2013
submit to reddit


A group of young aboriginal people ended a remarkable 1,600 kilometre walk, when they arrived on Parliament Hill today.

The group - six youths and a guide from the James Bay Cree community of Whapmagoostui, Quebec - set out in January in support of the Idle No More movement.

Through cold, and wind, and snow, with temperatures as low as -50C, they walked and snowshoed to Ottawa - camping out and picking up support as they went.

They called the walk "The Journey of Nishiyuu," which means "The Journey of the People" in Cree.

Along the way, other members of Cree and Algonquin communities joined the walk bring the total number of people in the group to nearly 400.

Thousands of people were on Parliament Hill today to welcome the walkers, who are calling for change in how aboriginal people are treated in Canada.

They say the walk was a way to show the federal government that First Nations are united and determined to preserve their language, culture, traditions and treaty rights.

aboriginal-youth-end-their-remarkable-1,600-km-walk-and-arrive-on-parliament-hill-feature2.jpg 18-year-old David Kawapit (left) is one of the original seven walkers.

"It feels really good, but at the same time I'm really sad that it's ending," he said as the group reached Chelsea, Quebec, about a three-hour walk from Ottawa. "Because a lot of us shared a lot good times here, sad times, but we all stuck together."

Kawapit says the walk has helped some people deal with personal struggles, including depression and suicidal thoughts.

"It feels really good that a lot of people are paying attention to what's going on, and that a lot of these guys that are walking with us are helping themselves on this journey.

"But this journey's really shown me a lot - how much I can help people. And it's really given me a better understanding of life. I've made a lot of friends here, so there's no way I'm going to leave them."

The walkers have received support from many First Nations communities they went through on their trip.

Theoren Awashish joined the group about half way, but had to stop for a week after he got seriously ill. But after he received medical treatment, he was back out there.

"Because I miss them, because they are brothers and sisters," Awashish said.

aboriginal-youth-end-their-remarkable-1,600-km-walk-and-arrive-on-parliament-hill-feature3.jpg Lisa Commanda joined the group last Thursday when it arrived at the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin reserve in western Quebec.

"It's just been a truly amazing experience. I'll tell you, words cannot describe the feeling that I'm feeling, that the group is feeling, that the walkers are feeling," Commanda said.

In the House of Commons, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt acknowledged the courage of the young people, and said he would meet with them.

"The Journey of Nishiyuu" Facebook group has more than 32,700 members.

For more, check out the post on entitled "Forget Panda Diplomacy; It's the Journey Nishiyuu That Deserves Our Full Attention"

Related stories

Aboriginal Youth On Epic 1,500km Walk To Parliament Hill; Expected To Arrive In Days

Guest Interview: Shawn Atleo

Wab Kinew Suprised Our Audience With A Flash Mob Round Dance


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.