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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Walkers For Indigenous Women Now In Saskatchewan

Prince Albert | by Claire McCormack  

A local group walking from Cape Croker across the country is now in Saskatchewan.

Photo From Facebook  

A local group walking from Cape Croker across the country is now in Saskatchewan.

The group set out last December from the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation on the Bruce Peninsula to walk in memory of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

Last week they were stopped in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan where they've been working on RV repairs.

Each day the group walks, they honour a missing or murdered indigenous woman or girl. They make frequent Facebook video posts telling the story of each woman or girl being honoured.

Group member Branden Emmerson says they are headed to North Battleford where MMIW commissioner Michèle Audette is joining them for a few days until they reach Edmonton. Audette is one of five commissioners in the national inquiry.

Emmerson says while in the Thunder Bay area, walkers had trash and insults hurled at them. An unfortunately common experience among first nation people in that area.

"I've had beer bottles thrown at me," says Emmerson, adding "It's kind of what we expected, especially in that territory," He says and notes, thankfully no one has been hurt.

But it was fatal in the 2016 case of 34 year old Barbara Kentner who was hit in the abdomen by a trailer hitch that had been thrown from a vehicle while she walked down the road. She required surgery, but her sister Melissa has said the damage was eventually fatal. Barbara died in July 2017. 18 year old Brayden Bushby was charged with aggravated assault relating to the incident. The charge was later changed to second-degree murder.

Emmerson says while some of the things people have said to them can be disheartening, it has only made them more resolved to go on, "Our determination and our resolve has hardened. We've had people tell us to give up."

Emmerson says as a group, the Walkers are doing this together, "But the women who go missing, they have to walk the same terrain and they're in the same environment, but they're alone and they don't have anyone."

About 90 days of setbacks that have added up may have actually been a good thing, for their walk to the west, says Emmerson "If we didn't lose those three months, we'd be right in the heart of those wildfires right now."

Going forward, they'll be needing some filters for the RV and water purification systems when they get to more remote areas. You can find a list of items in the post below.

While they've had other walkers join them for periods of time along the way,  Emmerson says with some going back to school, they have too much of some supplies.

The group recently took the time to donate food, toiletries, clothes, shoes and towels to communities.

An Open Line talk show with Branden Emmerson on AM 560 CFOS aired on January 9th, 2018. You can listen to it HERE


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