On route from Kitchener to Parliament Hill, a group known as the Healing Generations of Walkers were in Breslau September 1, heading east along Highway 7. They plan to travel to Ottawa by foot.
Participants set out that day from the Healing of Seven Generations office, planning to raise money for the organization that helps survivors of Canada’s residential school system.
Darcelle Carroll created the group and started the walk to Parliament to raise awareness of issues facing Indigenous people. The walk symbolizes a journey to provide healing in the wake of the recent discoveries of mass graves at residential schools. It also gives a voice to survivors.
“Were calling ourselves the Healing Generation of Walkers for survivors of the residential schools and the Sixties Scoop survivors like my dad and all the stolen voices. When the news broke of 215 unmarked graves (in Kamloops, BC) for the world, my dad was struggling with having survivor guilt, so I was crying, saying ‘what can I do?’ And I decided, ‘why not walk to Parliament?’” said Carroll at a stop along Highway 7 near Guelph.
“We have our route posted on our Facebook group and we’re working with the OPP and local police to show that they want the same thing and they’re in solidarity with us.
“We’re not the first set of walkers – there’s been eight groups so far and four others are starting in different provinces,” noted Carroll. “I personally wrote as many names as I can of the stolen voices, these are all children that were identified so far – I’m carrying on my front survivors who asked if I would carry their names with me so that they can be with us in spirit.”
Dione Ferguson, a close friend of Carroll’s, will be walking alongside her the whole way to Parliament.
“There’s not enough being shared in the media anymore, and that’s just wrong – we need to change it. We think it will take us about 17 days to get there from here. We’ll see,” said Ferguson.
“I didn’t get to express my roots; my dad was Native he passed away when I was young, so I didn’t really get to learn that side of me. When I learned about the 215 children I was absolutely appalled, and I needed to do something to bring out more awareness. It’s not talked enough about,” said James Young, a walker in the group going all the way to Parliament Hill from Kitchener.
“I can’t really expect too much, with the campaign trail and everything, but I would love to talk to anyone and use my voice to make our presence known and make sure they know that we’re not giving up,” added Young, who is Carroll’s husband.
“It’s time to unite together and have compassion, and have empathy for each other, that’s what were taught – we’re not after them for money, we just want our children to return home to their final resting ground,” said Carroll.
“I’m proud of my heritage, I’m proud of my culture, I’m proud of my community – when I posted that I wanted to write survivors’ names on my shirt, everyone was, like, ‘thank you for the recognition.’ I said ‘I wish there was more I could do for our community’ but just me putting their name on my shirt made them feel validated but they should feel validated by our own government.”