Walkers begin trek to TRC event in Halifax
Residential school memories flooded back for Patrick Etherington Sr. at the beginning of his latest walk.
Ethering and a group of youth are walking 2,200 kilometres to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada national event in Halifax, N.S. Oct. 26-29.
“We went to Kirkland Lake and a lot of memories came up in regards to survivors of residential school, including me, that went to (Kirkland Lake Collegiate and Vocational Institute),” said Etherington, one of seven walkers who set out July 29. “So this is the kind of effect that is happening with this walk.”
Although the school no longer exists, the residential school survivor from Moose Cree First Nation said the building was still there.
“The young people that are with me saw the effects of the memories,” Etherington said. “It was very emotional for me.”
Three youth from Attawapiskat, one youth from Peawanuck and one youth from Moose Cree are walking with Etherington and Frances Whiskeychan.
“Some of the young people also felt some healing, especially one young person,” he said.
Etherington, Whiskeychan, Patrick Etherington Jr., Christopher Paulmartin and Jorge Hookimaw’llillerre completed a 31-day 1,600-kilometre walk last year to the TRC’s first national gathering in Winnipeg.
“Now, walking in your own territory brings up quite a bit more,” Etherington said. “So that is what we are trying to share.”
While the walkers received accommodations Aug. 1 in Matachewan First Nation, they had to sleep outside one night so far on their journey.
“We slept outside, and it’s hard when you’re walking,” Etherington said.
Whiskeychan said the hot sun has been difficult so far during the walk.
“It’s been 30 (Celsius) for the last three days,” Whiskeychan said. “So I’m just getting scorched.”
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