Statement by Chief Stanley George
On January 16th, 2013, a group of six (6) young men, ages 16 – 21,along with their guide (age 37) left our community, Whapmagoostui, in northern Quebec – to walk 1100km and arrive at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. All men are members of the Whapmagoostui First Nation.
They called this journey “The Journey of Nishiyuu”, an effort to show the world, including all First Nations, that we Crees in Eeyou Istchee (northern Quebec) are adamant keepers of our language, culture, traditions and way of life, and that we continue to adhere to the Sacred Law that guided our Ancestors since the beginning of time. This Journey is intended to inspire all peoples to reclaim their roots and culture. It’s also a call for the leaders of tomorrow to shape a better future for all peoples in the world.
Indeed, it’s a Journey for all humanity!
I speak on behalf of our community, Whapmagoostui, when I say we are greatly touched and proud of our young Warriors for pursuing their fearless vision for a promising future for present generations and those yet to come. For sure, they will touch the hearts of many! Their names will surely go down in history for their unwavering effort to be the change they want to see in the world.
Not too many human beings today can, in temperatures averaging minus forty (-40), walk day after day, often against high, relentless, cold, winter winds and sleep in canvas covered lodges at night. As the Warrior who will put his life on the line for the betterment of others, they left their loved ones behind and sacrificed the love of their community and homeland embark upon this difficult Journey. It is safe then to say that these are indeed true Warriors, not only for our people, but all peoples, with their great sacrifices, determination and commitment to carry their message successfully to their destination. For this they deserve praise, encouragement, commendation and highest claim!
Up to this point in time following the launching of this Sacred Journey, our Walkers have received recognition from many parts of the world and many supporters have come forward to help. We take this time to thank the participating Cree communities of Chisasibi, Wemindji, Eastmain and Waskaganish for their love and support. Your resource people – the police, you safety officers, first responders and others, have done a great job in providing them and the new walkers the support that they need. Thank you!
In conclusion, we would like to remind all that this is not a protest but a Journey of unity, awakening, peace, love and harmony. As such, we encourage all supporters to remain peaceful throughout the course of this Journey.
Meegwetch (thank you)!
Chief Stanley George,
February 12, 2013