Laughter and tears were prominent features of Three Feathers’ walk from Saskatchewan and Alberta to Kamloops, a walk which included being welcomed by members of the Adams Lake Band at Pierre’s Point near Salmon Arm.
Iva Geddes-McNab, 73, walked with Carlene Hotomoni, accompanied by their pilot car driver, Heather Geddes, to the Kamloops Indian Residential School in honour of the 215 children whose remains were confirmed at the grounds at the end of May this year.
Geddes-McNab, who attended federal day school, said Aug. 7 that her purpose and hope for the walk was to bring awareness about the children as well as promote healing for people.
“I would like our people to find someone they trust to speak to, to talk to, to get at all those hidden emotions, everything that happened to them. That’s how I learned to deal with everything that happened to me,” she said, referring to counselling she’s done over 20 years.
“I believe if we keep holding on to that childhood trauma, we’re not going to be well. Let other people carry it with us, set it free.”
She doesn’t want people to forget what happened in the residential schools, but she would like them to forgive.
“We don’t have to hang onto it forever. There’s a brand new door opening for us and it’s so big that we can all fit in there together and all come out on the happy side and all just accept each other.”
The trio was provided lunch and dinner at Pierre’s Point on Aug. 7, coordinated by Coun. Joyce Kenoras of the Adams Lake Band.
At the lunch, Geddes-McNab and Hotomoni spoke of healing from trauma and of the laughter and tears they’ve shared on the walk. Ralph McBryan of the Adams Lake Band expressed his admiration for the women and their walk.
Iva and Heather are mother and daughter. George Gordon First Nation is home for them, where George Gordon Residential School once stood, closing in 1996. Hotomoni is from Carry the Kettle Nation.
Other First Nations walkers are heading to Kamloops and are expected to pass through the region in the next week.
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