Monday, March 18, 2013

Cathryn Atkinson: Indigenous Youth on Epic Journey to Ottawa Deserve Attention and Respect

Photo: Ben Powless

David Kawapit Jr. is a name that everyone who cares about this country (Canada) deserves to know.

This young man, a 17-year-old Cree from the isolated community Whapmagoostui on Hudson Bay in northern Quebec, decided it would be a good idea to walk 1,600 kilometres to Ottawa in support of the Idle No More movement. Some of his friends joined him.

So with temperatures apparently hovering at around -50C, he and six others left home on Jan. 16, trekking on snowshoes and pulling their supplies, stopping at communities along the way to tell people that they wanted changes to how Indigenous people are treated in Canada.

They want to change the contempt with which they are treated, they want to end the blockage placed in front of them designed to quash their aspirations and heritage, they want to end the mentality of relegation that sees so many First Nations forced into to the lowest status imaginable by the political and cultural mainstream.

The gesture reflected the mood across the country in the middle of January, when Idle No More was in full flow with protests and media attention.

But there was little attention shown to these young people quietly walking through the forests.

Read the rest here.


No comments: