In the wake of the news of the 215 children found at the Kamloops Residential School and the resulting thousands of graves that have been discovered since, Richelle Dubois decided to undertake a healing journey – a walk from Regina, Sask., where she calls home, to Kamloops.
Her more than 1,200 kilometre journey has taken her through Golden, where she and her party of seven walkers – which includes her son, husband, mother and mother-in-law to name a few – were greeted by the Métis Nation of the Columbia River.
“The Métis Society was very amazing and helpful, they’re inspiring for the hard work they do in your community,” said Dubois.
“We just felt we needed to do something to honour the children, and the children they’re still finding.
“We all have our own stories of tragedy and loss and our own healing stories and dealing with the effects of residential schools in our lives.”
Dubois and her group, known on their Facebook page as ‘a healing journey,’ are one of several groups that have come through Golden the last few days to walk on Kamloops.
Three feathers, made up of three walkers, also made a stop, as did Shayna Taypotat and her brother, Greg.
The Métis Society helped as best they could, providing food for their journeys, money for gas, and helped contribute for motel rooms for a safe place to rest.
The society has also brought the groups to the Bear and Bone for a meal, to help support a local Indigenous owned business.
The society has also prepared packages with the four medicines, sage, sweetgrass, tobacco and cedar, as well as a package to make bannock by adding lard and water.
“We each had a really nice chat, sharing stories,” said Davene Dunn, of the Métis Society.
“It’s a privilege for us to have them here.
“It’s not a small goal they’ve set out to accomplish, and they’ve really endured a lot, but it helps raise us all up and it’s a healing process I think for everybody.”
Dubois says so far on their trip, everyone has been supportive of their cause and open to conversation.
“The communities have been very supportive and open to us coming, here in Golden we got to the suspension bridge, they donated seven passes so we could make up the kilometres we lost in the construction zone,” said Dubois.
“Healing is going to be a life-long process, but it’s a start.”
She says the best thing that people can do is educated themselves on the Truth and Reconciliation Act, and learn history on where you live.
“Get to know your actual history,” she reiterated.
“Learn about what happened all across Turtle Island.”
Dubois and her group will be taking the shoes from the Golden vigil that was held in May to Kamloops, hanging shoes along the way.
Dubois, Three Feathers and Taypotat can all also be reached on Facebook for anyone who is looking to get involved and donate.
Dunn says the people of Golden can continue to show their support as they have, by being vocal and continuing to educate themselves.
“I would hope that people see this as a long-term investment and to not let this go after a week, because people need healing,” said Dunn.
“Just understanding, so that we can get rid of the trauma that has accompanied all generations.
“It’s something that’s happened in the past, and I don’t want people to feel guilt,but now we need to move forward to do something to repair that relationship.”