Native healing journey travels through N.S.
A group of First Nations artists and youth workers began the Nova Scotia leg of a cross-Canada healing journey Saturday that will see them walk 7,000 kilometres over eight months.
The Walk for Nations began in Newfoundland May 1. Saturday, the small group travelled from Eskasoni, N.S., to the Waycobah First Nation.
Organizer Mike Gladue said they are sharing stories to support native youth and survivors of abuse at residential schools.
"Myself, I'm a 25-year alcoholic, a 20-year cocaine and crack addict, and for 18 years I've been in and out of prisons in the west. My adopted brother and co-walker Ervin Chartrand, he comes from a gang lifestyle in Winnipeg. What we're doing is just sharing our stories, taking the teachings from the elders from the many different nations as we cross the country, and trying to preserve our culture and our ways of life," said Gladue.
"We look at it as, somebody had to come along and help these elders speak of the abuse that they held in for decades ... for them to share their stories with us, that's truly a blessing, and that gives us more drive for us to continue on this walk," said Gladue.
The walk is also raising funds and awareness for an urban youth safe house healing program called "Awasis Nekan Ote," meaning "Here the children come first" in the Cree language. The culturally-driven program will offer youth traditional teachings and hands-on skills training in various industries.
Gladue said the walk's next stops include Indian Brook, N.S., and then New Brunswick. He expects it will take until at least December to reach B.C. where the walk will end in Campbell River.