VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Students from Claremont Secondary School joined James Taylor on the trek down to Cadboro Bay as he concluded the five-day journey from Hope to Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
James Taylor walked from Hope to Saanich in five days for Indigenous healing and reconciliation. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
James Taylor spoke to students from Claremont Secondary School about the value of kindness after completing his walk from Hope to Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
James Taylor was happy to kick off his sneakers after walking from Hope to Saanich’s Cadboro Bay in just five days for Indigenous healing and reconciliation. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
James Taylor sings and drums on the beach in Cordova Bay after completing his walk from Hope to Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
James Taylor walked from Hope to Saanich in five days for Indigenous healing and reconciliation. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
James Taylor sings and drums on the beach in Cordova Bay after completing his walk from Hope to Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rose Henry (left) and James Taylor sing and drum on the beach in Cordova Bay. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Local Indigenous elder Qwiahwultuhw (Robert George), who joined in for the final leg of the walk, spoke to students from Claremont Secondary School on the beach after the walk. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rose Henry (left) speaks to the Claremont Secondary School students about the importance of healing walks and drawing attention to social injustices. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

James Taylor was relieved to finally kick off his trusty sneakers and bury his sore feet in the sand after five days of walking from Hope to Saanich.

On Sept. 20, Taylor, a member of the Mississauga Ojibwe Nation and two-time lightning strike survivor, set out to walk from Hope back home to Greater Victoria. This was his 11th long-distance healing walk in the last 17 years. Since 2014, he has walked from Mile 0 to Ottawa on foot three times – each time his ancestors called on him to walk to honour survivors of trauma and “those who never came home.”

Instead of Ottawa, this year Taylor walked from Hope to Saanich as the distance added to his daily walks since February is equivalent to a round trip between Saanich and Ottawa – about 9,300 km.

READ ALSO: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

This year’s walk was “amazing,” Taylor said. He posted daily updates to his Facebook page to keep friends and family in the loop. The trip from Hope to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal only took four days as he walked more than 40 km daily – all the while relying on the kindness of new and old friends alike for a warm meal and a place to rest.

He said the journey wasn’t quite the same as a true walk across the country as he wasn’t visiting the same people and places, but this journey brought about “so many beautiful moments.” Taylor recounted being joined by an eagle who kept tabs on him, a black bear going about its business and a mother orca and her calf frolicking in the ocean near his ferry back to Swartz Bay on Wednesday.

“It felt like something special [that] I can’t even understand,” he said.

READ ALSO: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

Taylor undertook the final leg of the journey – Swartz Bay to Cordova Bay – early on Sept. 24 and made his way along the Pat Bay Highway accompanied by Qwiahwultuhw, a local elder. The pair set out early and just before 1 p.m., they made their way past Claremont Secondary School where some 15 students and several teachers waited to join them on the trek down to the beach. The group wove up Cordova Bay Road and through McMorran Park while Taylor – dressed in a bright yellow T-shirt bearing the names of missing Indigenous youth – drummed and sang.

On the beach, Taylor removed his shoes and winced as his feet sank into the sand. He thanked the students for joining him as their energy had motivated him to finish the walk. He said this was the most welcoming homecoming so far.

READ ALSO: Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

This walk was to honour survivors, acknowledge those who never made it home and celebrate the reclamation of Indigenous cultures, Taylor told the students, adding that positive change is in the hands of young people and that reconciliation takes place at the personal level.

He’s fairly certain this was his last long-distance healing walk.

“These guys are tired,” Taylor said gesturing to his feet. He plans to get back to hosting cultural sensitivity training events and healing workshops. Those interested can reach out at walk4hope03@gmail.com.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

HopeIndigenousIndigenous reconcilliationSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks RCMP recommend criminal charges after weekend party

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

Victoria police ticketed and impounded the vehicles of two drivers after they were caught speeding through a school zone. (Black Press Media file photo)
Two drivers caught doing nearly triple the speed limit in Victoria school zone

Almost $1,000 in fines, vehicle impounded for each motorist

The Skeena Queen, serving the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route has been out of action since early Wednesday morning, forcing BC Ferries to cancel eight sailings connecting the Saanich Peninsula and Salt Spring Island. It is not clear when service will resume. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
BC Ferries cancels sailings between Greater Victoria and Salt Spring Island

With repairs to Skeena Queen underway, it is not clear when service will resume

Michael Arthor Leighton is wanted by the Saanich Police Department for assault. (Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers/Twitter)
Police seek man wanted for assault in Saanich, multiple charges in other jurisdictions

Michael Arthor Leighton is known to travel around the Island, Saanich police say

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast a ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

Most Read