Drums and juniper branches were smudged to cleanse them before the walk. Ronan O’Doherty photos

Quesnel First Nations take part in Walk for Healing

Drums and song cleansed the air and juniper brushes cleansed the ground along the riverfront

Local First Nations elders organized a Walk for Healing along the Riverfront Trail on Friday morning (April 5).

Around 20 participants of various ages gathered at Elks Hall in West Quesnel before making the trek along the trail and across the walking bridge to Ceal Tingley Park where they enjoyed fresh bannock.

Walkers brought along their drums, hand-made signs and a few were provided with evergreen Juniper branches.

One elder smudged the branches and drums with sage smoke before the walk.

“We have been doing this every year,” Kluskus elder Ella Stillas says. “We want to cleanse the paths to help people with addiction.”

She says the drums cleanse the air of bad spirits while the branches do the same for the ground.

The hope is the sign of support will help those who are struggling and bring some attention to the trials they are undergoing.

“Since these heavy drugs came into our lives and our children’s lives and our grandchildren’s lives, we have to find ways to get rid of them.

“Hopefully people take note of this.”

Her grandson Zain Stillas, 17, took part in the walk too.

“I’ve never done it before, so it’s kind of new to me.

“My grandma asked if I wanted to come along and I thought why not. It’s a good way to get in touch with my roots.”

READ MORE: Harm reduction education


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