Chief Vern Janvier has walked nearly 200 kilometres in a 500-kilometre journey to Parliament Hill to raise awareness of the residential school system’s impacts on Indigenous communities and protest the Indian Act.
He is walking with 12 community members and supporters. After starting his journey in Sudbury on July 18, he has already worn out a pair of shoes.
“My hope is to finish the walk,” said Janvier in a Wednesday interview from Mattawa, a town of 2,000 people in northeastern Ontario. “But it’s up to the journey. It’s not like you are taking a car, there are just a lot of factors that add to the experience.”
This is the second awareness walk he has done, after a 300-metre walk on Canada Day turned into a seven-day, 130 kilometre memorial walk from the Chipewyan Prairie Dené First Nation to Fort McMurray earlier this month.
This journey is on less familiar ground. The group chose Sudbury as a starting point because of the 500-kilometre distance from Ottawa. The goal is to consistently walk 20 kilometres daily along Highway 17, which connects the two cities. Janvier hasn’t set a firm date for when they will arrive in Ottawa.