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LETTER: March With Arch comes to end, after passing through Quesnel

Lhoosk’uz Elder Archie Chantyman looks back on his long walk of healing
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Archie Chantyman rests after his long march for truth and healing from his home Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation back to the site of St. Joseph’s Mission where he and many other Indigenous children were interned in residential school. (Araiah Fraser photo)

This letter is an excerpt of Archie Chantyman’s look back on his healing walk from home to the site of his childhood internment, St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. The entire document can be read at the bottom of this online version of this story (the top content reflects the abridged version found in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer - Oct. 25, 2023 edition.

Editor:

As we stand at the completion of March With Arch - a journey that transcended miles, touched souls, and symbolized the profound healing our community desperately needed - I find myself humbled and profoundly grateful for the overwhelming support we received along the way.

Creator, thank you for taking care of the people, the land, the animals, and clearing a path for us to embark on healing. The creator provided us with open hearts, open minds, strong legs, good weather, and an overwhelming amount of love and unity.

Residential School Survivors, your courage to come forth, show your support, and actively participate in the healing process sets an extraordinary example for generations to come. Your presence has added layers of profound significance to this journey, and your willingness to share in this collective healing experience is a beacon of strength and resilience.

Lastly, to the amazing individuals who donated their time, energy, prayers, support, and financial contributions, you are the pillars on which this transformative journey rested. Your generosity and belief in the power of healing have created ripples of change that will resonate for years to come.

March with Arch has not just been a physical journey but a collective testimony to the strength of a community coming together. Your contributions, whether big or small, have played an integral role in making this journey a reality.

With sincere gratitude and warm regards,

Archie Chantyman, Mateo Rojas, and the March With Arch crew.

Sunachaliya

Heartfelt Gratitude for March with Arch: A Journey of Healing and Unity

Dear Supporters,

As we stand at the completion of March with Arch—a journey that transcended miles, touched souls, and symbolized the profound healing our community desperately needed—I find myself humbled and profoundly grateful for the overwhelming support we received along the way.

Creator, for taking care of the people, the land, the animals, and clearing a path for us to embark on healing. The creator provided us with open hearts, open minds, strong legs, good weather, and an overwhelming amount of love and unity.

Freddy, your dedication to walk the entire 640km distance is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Your commitment embodies the spirit of resilience that we hope will echo through the generations. Your footsteps have left an indelible mark on the path to healing.

Rosa, Marilyn, and Penny, your unwavering support along the entire journey was the backbone that kept us going. Your kindness, encouragement, and care nurtured the walkers, ensuring their physical and emotional well-being. Your contributions were the silent but powerful wind beneath our wings.

Carmen, Chance, Laura, Gailine, Lily, and Araiah, your work behind the scenes—managing vehicles, food, and communication—was instrumental. Your dedication to logistics allowed the walkers to focus on their internal journey, knowing that the external details were in capable hands.

Toby, your commitment to capturing the essence of Archie’s Walk on film is a gift to us all. Your lens has beautifully documented not just the steps taken but the stories shared, tears shed, and the resilience displayed. Your work will be a lasting testament to this transformative experience.

Loretta, your organizational skills were the lighthouse guiding us through potential storms. Your meticulous planning ensured that Archie’s Walk was not just a physical journey but a smoothly orchestrated symphony of shared experiences and collective healing.

A heartfelt thank you to Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation, especially the wonderful women in the band office, for the generous contributions—new shoes, meals, ceremony, and gifts—that enhanced our journey and brought a sense of community and tradition to every step.

Nazko, your warm welcome, ceremonial gestures, accommodations, and delicious meals sustained us during a crucial part of the walk. Your support was a beacon of hospitality and cultural richness.

A profound appreciation to Bouchie Lake Elementary School, the Quesnel Friendship Center, and Lhtako Dene Nation for their respective roles in organizing welcomes, gatherings, food, ceremony, healing sweat lodge, and providing financial support. Your collective efforts forged a sense of community that echoed with every heartbeat of Archie’s Walk.

The City of Quesnel played a role in providing camping accommodations, offering a safe space for reflection and rest.

ʔEsdilagh First Nation, Denisiqi Service Society, Xatsull First Nation, and Williams Lake/Sugar Cane First Nation, your contributions of food, camping, ceremonies, accommodations and support were integral to the success of Archie’s Walk. Each of you played a unique role in weaving together the fabric of this healing journey.

To the members of Maple Park Alliance Church and Two Rivers Church, your social support and prayers were like a gentle breeze, providing comfort and encouragement at every turn.

Residential School Survivors, your courage to come forth, show your support, and actively participate in the healing process sets an extraordinary example for generations to come. Your presence has added layers of profound significance to this journey, and your willingness to share in this collective healing experience is a beacon of strength and resilience.

A special thank you to Big Country Printers for donating the banner that served as a visible symbol of unity and purpose.

Safety is paramount, and our gratitude extends to Stantec for providing a satellite phone, ensuring that every step taken was supported by a network of care and concern.

The Metis Society and Quesnel healing rooms for your financial support.

Lastly, to the amazing individuals who donated their time, energy, prayers, support, and financial contributions, you are the pillars on which this transformative journey rested. Your generosity and belief in the power of healing have created ripples of change that will resonate for years to come.

March with Arch has not just been a physical journey but a collective testimony to the strength of a community coming together. Your contributions, whether big or small, have played an integral role in making this journey a reality.

With sincere gratitude and warm regards,

Archie Chantyman, Mateo Rojas, and the March with Arch Crew!

Sunachaliya

READ MORE: Archie Chantyman walks from his Nation near Quesnel deep into his past

READ MORE: WLFN hosts residential school survivor walkers from Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation



Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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