The second annual Spirit Walk will be held in downtown Courtenay this year, and organizers say many Canadians are becoming more aware of the impacts of residential schools.
The Spirit Walk began during the pandemic last year as a way to bring people out and learn in a comfortable way. Women’s representative of the MIKI’SIW Métis Association Myrna Logan says Indigenous history has become more prevalent over the last years, leading to changes within Canadian society.
“As always, education and awareness change people’s perspectives. It has become much more in the forefront, the history of the Indigenous people in Canada,” said Logan. “Although many people have heard stories, many people have studied about Aboriginal peoples in Australia rather than their own country.
“I think that is changing, how people look at Indigenous people and how they relate to them.”
Logan adds the stories have always been there but says they have been well covered.
“When you have been through traumatic events like the people that went to residential school, I’m not saying everyone had a traumatic event but there were many traumatic events,” said Logan. “When you’ve been through that kind of trauma with people of authority like that, you are afraid to speak out.
“The investigation into the unmarked graves and the discovery of them, I think that so many Canadians couldn’t even fathom that this really happened, that it just seems too surreal that this would have happened in our own country. Now there is no choice but to believe it.”
Logan says more education is needed to continue on the path toward reconciliation. She encourages others to go out and research on their own.
“It’s on other people, don’t ask Indigenous Individuals to educate you,” she said. “There are lots of books, there’s movies, there’s reports called The Survivors Speak.”
She asks that when people are supporting events, that they learn and be sure they are doing it in good faith.
Logan says she will be thinking about all Indigenous people and what it would have been like to be one of the children pulled from their culture.
The association says everyone is welcome to come between the hours of 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sept. 30. Participants are encouraged to wear orange to remember Indigenous children and families affected by residential schools.
Participants can register at the Simms Millenium Park at 50 – 5th St.