Chipewyan Prairie First Nation Members Finish Walk From Janvier, Memorial Held At Snye For Residential School Survivors

After seven days of walking, members of the Chipewyan Prairie Déne First Nation are finished with their journey from Janvier to Fort McMurray.

They started on Canada Day with the group, led by Chief Vern Janvier, doing so to honour all the victims of residential schools – those who made it home and those who didn’t.

In total, the walk was around 123 km long.

A Memorial of Gathering in Solidarity was held at the Snye, the walk’s ending point, right after the members arrived on Wednesday.

Arthur Noskey, Treaty 8 Grand Chief, was on hand to watch the group finish their walk.

He tells Mix News the amount of work they did to keep the conversation going is truly remarkable.

“This is an ongoing hurt that’s going to keep reoccurring but hopefully there’s healing with it at the end of the day.”

According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, they’ve been able to confirm the deaths of over 4,100 Indigenous children at schools across the country.

This includes 89 at Holy Angels which was located in Fort Chipewyan.

Over 1,300 unmarked graves have also been discussed in the past several weeks.

Plans are currently in place to search for unmarked graves at sites across Treaty 8. This includes Holy Angels.

Cultural Village set up at Snye Point Park // Shawn Crites – Harvard Media

Noskey says it’s frustrating that many survivors didn’t live long enough to see the past injustices be brought to the forefront.

He adds many, including his uncle Felix, had so many questions that never got answered.

“My uncle Felix used to say babies would cry in the night and then all of a sudden the babies didn’t cry anymore.”

Meanwhile, the Athabasca Tribal Council also held a small cultural village where residential school survivors could share their stories, while people could learn more about Indigenous history and culture.

-With files from Shawn Crites

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