The Journey of Nishiyuu, which means The Journey of the People in Cree, began in Whapmagoostui, Quebec. several weeks ago and came to an end on Monday. Seven walkers — six young people and a 49-year-old guide master — left their homes in January determined to walk all the way to the nation’s capital. The group finally arrived in Ottawa on Monday with blisters on their feet and hundreds of new walkers by their side, as supporters joined in from several communities along the way.
Police and volunteers estimated that the group was around 400 strong by the time it reached its destination. One of the original seven walkers, 18-year-old David Kawapit, said the journey has helped him cope with his depression and suicidal thoughts. “It feels really good, but at the same time I’m really sad that it’s ending,” he said on Sunday. “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. “
Thousands of supporters gathered on Parliament Hill to welcome the group on Monday. The Prime Minister was invited to greet the walkers just outside his office on Parliament Hill, but he chose to spend taxpayers’ money to fly to Toronto and have his picture taken with Panda bears from China. People continued to challenge Prime Minister Harper on his lack of commitment to resolving First Nations issues. He wouldn’t meet with their leaders after Chief Spence risked her life in a hunger strike and he won’t meet with their youth after they walked 1,600kms in the spirit of unity.
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Sooner or later Stephen Harper will understand that First Nations people will not stop when it comes to fighting for recognition of their rights. “This government always claims it’s doing more for First Nations than any other government, but in reality they’ve done more harm than good. The dedicated young people like the Nishiyuu Walkers are doing more for us than any government. ” states Grand Council Chief Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee.