Walking to stop violence

Men took to their feet Thursday to counter violence against aboriginal women and children.

Moving statement: Three First Nations bands hold a walk Thursday aimed at protecting women and children from violence.

Moving statement: Three First Nations bands hold a walk Thursday aimed at protecting women and children from violence.

Men took to their feet Thursday to counter violence against aboriginal women and children.

A walk was organized by the Adams Lake, Little Shuswap and Neskonlith bands to bring awareness to the issue of violence in First Nations communities and to promote action to stop it.

“Although we’re separate entities, they’re all communities who have similar things they have experienced with violence,” explained Craig Duckchief, a support worker for the Adams Lake band and one of the organizers of the walk.

While Duckchief points out that such violence is not exclusive to aboriginal communities, he says Statistics Canada shows that “aboriginal women are three times more likely to face violence in the community.”

Coordinating the walk for the Neskonlith band was Jeromy Byron, while Frank Antoine was the organizer for the Little Shuswap.

Duckchief said the walk was initially meant for aboriginal men, but then everyone who wanted to take part was welcomed.

Because the walk was a collaborative venture, some walkers started out under the blazing sun at the Little Shuswap Band hall behind the Tappen Co-op and walked south to Pierre’s Point, while others started at the Neskonlith Band health centre and walked north, meeting at Pierre’s Point.

More than 20 people participated in the walk, which was accompanied by an RCMP escort for highway safety. About 40 people came to the potluck dinner following the event.

Duckchief explains that the walk was inspired by the Moose Hide Campaign, an effort promoted by the BC Aboriginal Friendship Society.

He explains that one of the former directors was out hunting for moose with his daughter and they were talking about violence and the incidence of missing women.

They talked about having a symbol – a small square of moose hide on a pin, to help bring awareness to the  issue.

States the campaign website:

“This is a call to Aboriginal men in all communities across the country to spread the word, hold their own campaigns in the spirit of brotherhood, and to protect our sisters, aunties, grandmothers, mothers and daughters from violence.”