Indigenous woman from Saskatchewan has been walking to Kamloops for over a month | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Indigenous woman from Saskatchewan has been walking to Kamloops for over a month

Shayna Taypotat (left) with best friend Fallon Rhea on Shayna's "Walk to Healing For All" from her reserve in Saskatchewan to the Kamloops Residential School grounds.
Image Credit: Shayna Taypotat
August 03, 2021 - 7:00 PM

An Indigenous woman has been walking to the Kamloops Residential School grounds from her home in Saskatchewan for over a month on what she calls “A Walk to Healing For All”.

Shayna Taypotat left her Kahkewistahaw First Nation east of Regina on June 23 and has been walking for eight hours every day since. She is currently in Banff and on her third pair of shoes.

The 29-year-old says she is inspired to bring a message of hope and healing for all in the wake of the discoveries of children’s remains at residential schools across the country, and that she never gets tired.

“My body never gets tired but sometimes my mind does,” she said. “I pray as I walk. I pray for the healing of everyone, Indigenous, non-Indigenous, every culture and every person who has been affected by abuse. My people have been abused, stripped of their culture and murdered. Today the rippling effects can be seen throughout Canada, within every First Nation as well as urban communities. This rippling effect stops at me. I am the daughter of a residential school survivor. I have a strong mind and loud voice.”

The walk is 1,537 km long. Taypotat’s brother drives behind her carrying water and Gatorade. She says community members join her for parts of her walk as she passes through their communities, and that the weather has been favourable.

“I love talking to others and hearing their stories as I walk," she said. "It inspires me. The weather has been good, with only one day that was too hot. I had to keep going into places to cool down. The rest of the days have been nice. Creator has been spoiling me.”

Taypotat set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of $3,000, funds that will assist with shoes, food, motel rooms and water. Her Nation has been helping to fund her walk. She doesn’t know exactly when she will be arriving in Kamloops, however she does know some connections will be waiting for her there.

“It depends on the weather and the smoke and unforeseen challenges,” she explained. “I will be reaching out to my connections as I get closer. I want to thank everyone for the prayers and love. Most importantly I want to thank everyone for believing in me. This journey was Creator's plan and I'm so honoured to be doing this for all our healing.”

Taypotat has future plans to help Indigenous youth learn their traditional languages, and to set up healing centers with better mental health supports for First Nations.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2021

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