VIDEO: Honouring our Brothers and Sisters Memorial Walk

Tyler Clarke
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More than 100 people braved the rain for the 10th Annual Honouring our Brothers and Sisters Memorial Walk through Prince Albert on Thursday.

His nickname was “Old Man,” but he didn’t live to the age of 50.

Marlene Bird treasured her independence, and now doctors are keeping her alive.

Jack St. Pierre has been missing from Wollaston Lake since July 17, 2009. His family is still looking for him.

John Moses Bird was killed during a hit-and-run incident on April 3, 2011, in Montreal Lake Cree Nation. The family remains hopeful that police will find the driver responsible.

These names only graze the surface, with more added every year to the annual Honouring our Brothers and Sisters Memorial Walk, which marked its 10th year on Thursday.

“It’s got to stop and we’ve truly got to start working together,” Montreal Lake Cree Nation Chief Edward Henderson told this year’s mostly First Nations and Métis crowd of more than 100 supporters.  

“It doesn’t matter what our nationality is, it doesn’t matter what our religion is -- We’ve got to work together.”

Although the intent of Thursday’s walk was to shine a spotlight on its intended subject of violence, the attention sporadically refocused on poverty -- another community issue that hasn’t seen enough resolve.

Between violence and poverty, there are too many apathetic faces out there, Prince Albert Grand Chief Ron Michel summarized.

“When I go to Wal-Mart or I go to the mall, they’re always asking for a dime. They’re always asking for $1 or $2 because they didn’t have breakfast in the morning,” Michel said. “We tend to walk by without doing anything.”

Better-off members of the public tend to forget that we are all born equal and deserving of a chance, Michel said.

Walking up to the podium with only one crumpled up piece of paper in his hand that he’d occasionally glance down at, Michel instead chose to speak from the heart.

It doesn’t matter what our nationality is, it doesn’t matter what our religion is -- We’ve got to work together. Edward Henderson

As with everyone who spoke at Thursday’s event, violence has touched his life.

John Moses Bird was a good friend, he explained.

“I swear some times I see him walking,” Michel said of Bird. “He’s always so happy to say ‘Hi, how are you doing?’”

Although leadership plays an important role in dealing with the scourge of violence and poverty, Prince Albert Grand Council Vice Chief Joseph Tsannie said that it always comes down to the public.

“If we just turn around and close our eyes and keep our ears closed and pretend everything is OK, these things are going to continue to happen,” he said.

“If you want to make a difference in your communities, you as a people must speak out. Open your ears, open your eyes and speak out against violence in our communities.”

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