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Nishiyuu Youth Arrive in Ottawa after 1,600 Kilometre Journey, call for unity as part of Idle No More movement

by Andy Crosby

Hundreds rally on Portage Bridge to greet Nishiyuu Youth. Photo: Andy Crosby
Hundreds rally on Portage Bridge to greet Nishiyuu Youth. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth Approach Victoria Island. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth Approach Victoria Island. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth and Supporters on Victoria Island. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth and Supporters on Victoria Island. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth and Supporters on Victoria Island. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth and Supporters on Victoria Island. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth welcomed to Algonquin Territory. Photo: Andy Crosby
Nishiyuu Youth welcomed to Algonquin Territory. Photo: Andy Crosby

Indigenous youth trekking to Ottawa from northern Quebec arrived by the hundreds on Monday, March 25. In mid January, six Cree youth from Whapmagoostui began a 1,600 kilometre “Quest of Wisjinichu-Nishiyuu”, a “Quest for Unity” as part of the burgeoning Idle No More movement.

The group’s ranks swelled to nearly 400 with many Cree and Algonquin youth joining along the way, according to the CBC.

The purpose of the Nishiyuu Youth’s journey was to “establish and unite our historical allies and restore our traditional trade routes with the Algonquin, Mohawk, and other First Nations,” according to the group’s website. “The time for Unity is now.”

“The Cree people have always been fierce warriors; they have always been the gatekeepers of the North. They have had many battles and disputes over the territory, and to this day we have never surrendered our land to no nation, not now, not ever.”

The walkers incredible feat in frigid temperatures inspired tens of thousands of people, with over 33,000 current group members on Facebook.

The group set out from the community of Chelsea early Monday morning and arrived on Victoria Island for a ceremony before departing for an afternoon rally which drew thousands to Parliament Hill.

“To all our First Nations brothers & sisters and friends from across Canada we welcome you to unsurrendered Algonquin land – Home of the Anishinabeg,” read one banner.

A guide was overheard telling supporters that the group arrived to Victoria Island a little behind schedule due to their insistence on cleaning spotless their host location in Chelsea where community members spent three days preparing food for their guests.

Inspired by the Idle No More movement and Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike on Victoria Island, the Cree youth contemplated ways to join the struggle. David Kawapit told APTN News that he had a vision involving a wolf and a bear, the wolf symbolizing Indigenous peoples and the bear symbolizing the government.

“A wolf alone can be easily killed by it, but with its brothers and sisters everywhere, it can call upon them and it can take down the bear with ease,” said Kawapit. “That is what became the unity part of this. We all need to stand together.”


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Topics: Indigenous

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