Edmonton

Enoch Cree Nation marches against violence

Community workers on the Enoch Cree Nation west of Edmonton hope a march for peace will signal a turning point for residents.

March for peace held at Enoch Cree Nation

9 years ago
1:50
Hundreds walked to raise awareness about violence in First Nations communities. 1:50

Community workers on the Enoch Cree Nation west of Edmonton on Friday hope a march for peace will signal a turning point for residents.

Ceremonial drummers led the march, followed by over 200 community members and school children.

At the front of the march was Janice Papin. The remains of her niece Georgina were found on the infamous Robert Pickton pig farm in British Columbia.

Papin has been planning this march and working to build community support for nearly three years.

Ceremonial drummers led the march for peace. (CBC)

She hopes that events like this will help break the cycle of violence on reserves, helping to instigate real change.

"The drugs, the alcohol, that are taking over many communities," she said Friday, "and — we as Enoch Cree Nation — are taking our community back in a good way."

Joining Papin in the march was Shawn Bernard, who was a gang member for 20 years, but now says he has broken free of the violence that was once a constant force in his life.

Now he visits schools and communities to speak about his experiences, and the importance of making positive choices.

"I think this [march] could really help because it brings some awareness to people that maybe they could be held accountable as well, and make them think about what’s going on in their lives," he said.

Guidance counselor James Cardinal also participated in the march. He says that raising awareness about issues facing youth on reserves is a key step in making change.

"With our youth today, they’re mixed up in a lot of different gangs, domestic violence at home, broken homes — we deal with a lot of different issues... We’re trying to break the cycle now, for our students here."

"This is a start," he said, "definitely in a positive direction."

Organizers behind Friday’s march say they now hope the movement will spread to other reserves, building a movement that will help end violence on all Canadian reserves.

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