Students and staff at Lillian Berg School in Vermilion Bay will participate in Walk for Wenjack this week, which is Secret Path Week.
Walk for Wenjack is a grassroots event that started in 2016. The first walk retraced the steps of Chanie Wenjack, starting at the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora and continued to Redditt for a ceremony representing Chanie’s final resting spot near Farlane, ON.
The school is looking to raise funds to support Downie-Wenjack Fund’s mission to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
"It's on a larger scale this year as it was just the Grade 7/8 class that did it last year, but we want to involve all students," says Shannon Elliot, Central Literacy SAT with the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.
Kindergarten to Grade 2 students will walk two kilometres, while Grades 3-8 can choose to walk anywhere from five to 30 kilometres. Once the students have completed their walk, they will be bussed back to the school to take part in other Secret Path Week activities.
"There will be seven stations set up along the route with water and snacks as a number of local organizations will be helping out. We will also have the Dryden O.P.P. with a cruiser and an officer walking the route with us," Elliot says. "If you're in the community, honk your horn and cheer us on!"
Elliot adds that there is a bit of an incentive for the students to walk those kilometers.
"Teachers will offer themselves up to do some challenges. If a certain percentage of students from a class make it to a certain kilometer mark, teachers have agreed to do some crazy things! For example, last year I was duct-taped to a wall. So it will be up to the students to decide on what they want they want their teachers to do!," she says.
If you would like to made a donation to the students' efforts in their Walk for Wenjack you can donate here: Lillian Berg School Walk for Wenjack
Shannon Elliot joined Tuesday's Q Morning Show to tell us more about the students' participation in Secret Path Week. Listen below!