James Taylor (Kind Lightning) of the Curve Lake First Nation will lead a healing walk from Swartz Bay ferry terminal to Mile 0 at Beacon Hill Park on Thursday (June 3), beginning at 5 a.m.
“I will be tying 215 orange ribbons along the Patricia Bay highway in honour of the children found buried beside Kamloops Residential School,” said Taylor, who has led many healing marathon walks. “It’s like walking them home.”
Taylor encourages anyone who wants to show support to drive by and honk their horns, or take part in the walk itself. “People need to see that this is a family – the men, the women and the little ones. Come out and walk, come out and talk, come out and ask me some questions.”
He has walked from Mile 0 to Ottawa on foot multiple times, an idea that originated for his sister in 2002, who was a cancer patient at the time.
“Her treatments were so aggressive; chemo in the morning and radiation in the afternoon, and we were going between hospitals,” said Taylor, adding the first few walks he led were symbolic of what cancer patients go through.
Now, Taylor walks to bring awareness to missing Indigenous Peoples, to acknowledge survivors of residential schools, and for the ongoing process of Indigenous healing.
“This is the part where Canada can’t put their head in the sand anymore,” said Taylor, adding that the last residential school was closed only 25 years ago in 1996.
Taylor said that part of reconciliation is an openness to making mistakes and “asking the messy questions,” as Canadians continue to acknowledge and repair our colonial history.
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