Cree youth walking from Whapmagoostui, Que., to Ottawa reached the community of Eastmain, on the James Bay coast of Northern Quebec, this week.
Five Cree youth and their guides left Whapmagoostui, the northernmost Cree community, Jan. 16 on “The Journey of Nishiyuu,” which means “The Journey of the People” in Cree. They range in age from 11 to 21.
Their goal is to support the Idle No More movement and to raise awareness of their culture and the environment.
As they head south toward Ottawa, more and more young walkers are joining the group. They now number more than 30.
Jamie Moses, Eastmain's cultural co-ordinator, said he will walk with the group from Eastmain to Waskaganish.
He said walking in the forest during winter has helped him learn about what his ancestors went through.
“We're so used to being in the comfort of our homes and sometimes we forget where we came from as native people,” he said.
“The Cree were nomadic and had to endure the hard times out on the land. There's many challenges. And when youth experience this, they learn to appreciate life, and appreciate the privileges of what they have at home.”
More than 25,000 people are now following the journey's progress on social media.
The walkers expect to arrive in Ottawa on March 28.