Another group of First Nations heroes are on their way to Ottawa from the far north of Ontario. They are travelling by foot, one step at a time, over pavement and snow-covered landscape on their way here (Ottawa) to deliver a message to government officials. They are the “Omushkegowuk (People) Walkers” who are “Reclaiming our Steps, Past, Present and Future”. Danny Metatawabin, who was Chief Theresa Spence’s spokesperson while she fasted at Victoria Island, is leading the walkers and gives daily updates as to their progress. And to share with all following on Facebook the acts of kindness and generosity of the First Nations communities they come into contact with as the walkers slowly (30 km a day) make their way south. Danny is one of four original walkers, the other three are Brian Okimaw, Paul Mattinas and Remi Nakogee. All are mature men.
The walkers are true heroes. What else can we call them? They selflessly sacrifice of their time, giving up out of their lives the many days which have already passed since beginning the walk and the many more days the walkers will count before they enter the Nation’s Capital. At this point of their journey the walkers endure pain in their feet and legs brought on by the continuous lifting of heavy winter boots with each step they take, leaving that much less space before their destination appears on the horizon. They are weighted down with layers of heavy coats and thick sweaters, necessary to keep out the bitter cold following them all the hours of the day. But these men are focussed and determined to stay the course so they can arrive in Ottawa, standing proud and ready to deliver their important message to government leaders. The walkers are heroes but they need our monetary support and our prayers so they will not worry about accommodations or travel back home. Give them money and prayers if you can but either one or the other will be greatly appreciated by them. I’m sure!
The walkers pray each morning before taking the first steps of their daily 30 km quota. They pray silently, too, as they walk. Their prayers and meditations are heard by the trees along the roadside. The eagle and ravens and owls carry the prayers of the walkers to whomever it is, the walkers have directed their words to. The sound of the heartbeats of the walkers will forevermore be remembered by the hills and ravines the walkers came across on their life-altering journey. Let there be no doubt that the spirit of the land took note of their sacrifices and the walkers will hear an honour song composed special for them by the spirit of the season at a point in the future.
The walkers have no doubt benefitted spiritually since the beginning of their journey. The road cutting through the forests they travel through are trails from which the walkers can see, hear, smell and even taste what is alive in and around the trees of a forest surrounding them and even taste on their tongues the amazing scents emitting from all life therein. The walkers notice that the rabbit of winter reclaims his steps from the night before. The rabbit does not stray from the pathway he designed for himself, to do so would be dangerous and could bring great harm to him. He reclaims his steps and is healthy for doing so! On the waterways the walkers pass the beaver rests in his lodge, secure and confident that he will survive another winter. It is a time for the walkers, if they wish, to reflect on these things and then to offer words of contrition for any harm, we the human beings, have needlessly brought to the forest and to the animals and birds living there. For me, I can say how sorry I am for any tree I have ever cut down without good reason or any animal or bird who ever suffered or died because of my foolishness. If the walkers were to put tobacco onto the land for me I would be most grateful to them for doing so.
I will make a contribution to this cause. If it pleases you do so, the banking info is: RBC account, transit #05112, account #1010669
Migwech to all.
To follow their journey, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reclaiming-Our-Steps-Past-Present-Future/768816863131863