Around 150 participants joined with organizers for the Reconciliation Walk at Willingdon Beach on Sunday, November 10.
According to organizer Cyndi Pallen, the walk grew out of a 2013 initiative: hɛhɛwšin (The Way Forward), the purpose of which is to help bridge relationships and promote understanding with the non-indigenous community about colonization and the history of the Tla’amin people.
Pallen said the walk was originally conceived as a way of healing among indigenous peoples and all Canadians, due to the legacy of residential schools. She said she credits her ancestors with helping provide the strength to do the work she is now doing with fellow hɛhɛwšin organizers, including Phil Russell and John Louie.
Pallen acknowledges that although they are “just scratching the surface,” she has heard people say that wherever they travel they meet people who tell them Tla’amin Nation is at the forefront with a lot of the work it is doing.
After an opening ceremony, the group left Willingdon Beach and marched along Marine Avenue to the Wharf at Westview.
Leading with the first banner was a contingent made up of Pallen, City of Powell River councillors George Doubt and Rob Southcott, Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons, and former mayor of Powell River Stewart Alsgard.
Addressing the crowd at the wharf, organizer Russell said he hopes the non-indigenous people of this community, “don't squander this gift of reconciliation that the Tla'amin people have offered.”
He also reminded those present of another companion hɛhɛwšin event next Sunday, November 17, when plaques will be unveiled to commemorate the canoe project that was conducted in 2017. The unveiling takes place from noon to 3 pm at Willingdon Beach.