April 3, 2017

Run With Theland : A Story of Leadership, Connection and Hope

Early morning, this April 12, I will join in the footsteps of an amazing young man whom I care for and respect very much, Theland Kicknosway. Our paths have joined and we will run together to acknowledge my friend's leadership, to celebrate connection and to create hope.

Theland Kicknosway is a young hero from the Cree / Potawatami Nation of Canada. Since an early age, he was exposed to the tragedy of Indigenous women disappearing from their community and he was deeply concerned by the fate of their orphaned children.

Being close to his roots and traditions, he looked to his ancestral culture for answers, which came in the form of a dream; he had to travel long distances by foot to raise global awareness and shed light on the Human crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

At the age of 11, he undertakes a 134 km crossing, on foot, covering the distance between Ottawa and the village of Kitigan Zibi. He took his first step at the site where a 7-month pregnant young woman, Kelly Morrisseau was found assassinated in December 2006 and culminated his journey at the house of Bridget Tolley, an Algonquin activist who co-founded Sisters in Spirit and whose mother was fatally hit by a police vehicle in October 2001. All along the way, he stopped to honor the memory of many more Indigenous women, mothers, aunties and sisters who had disappeared, and to raise awareness about the fate of the children who were left behind.

Theland “Walks in a good way”, in his own words, to remind these children that they are not forgotten, and not alone. His actions preserve the memory of these women gone without a trace, too often overlooked by authorities, and his steps give a voice to those who have lost it so that they never fade into forgetfulness.

Theland and I upon our first meeting,
at Pandora 24-hour Ultra last year
The following year, he made the journey again in the opposite direction, from Kitigan Zibi to Ottawa, to continue his campaign and spread his message even further. His role as a leader was recognized and acknowledged all the way to the Canadian Parliament, where he was given the honor of leading Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to be sworn in at Rideau Hall in November 2015.

This April 12, Theland Kicknosway will again undertake the journey from Ottawa, with a renewed determination following the announcement of a federal inquiry into the disappearing and murder of Indigenous women in Canada. I will join him and share the effort, in humility and as a display of respect for his vision and leadership.

I am very grateful to Mas Korima for supporting us with all the food we will need for the crossing, as well as following us on Twitter and Facebook along the way with updates and live feeds.

Runners and allies of the cause are invited to show their support by sending funds, by standing along our route, by sending messages or by joining us for segments of the crossing. These women are our family and this cause concerns us all as a community. Let’s join our voices and our steps to those of Theland Kicknosway!

To support Theland's run for MMIW :

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