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Lennox Island Ice Walk event unites Mi'kmaq and settler people in spirit of reconciliation

The newly designed logo for Lennox Island First Nation. Contributed
The newly designed logo for Lennox Island First Nation. Contributed - Contributed

The Lennox Island First Nation is planning a reconciliation event called The Ice Walk for March 8.

Participants will walk across the frozen path between Port Hill and Lennox Island, in a spirit of awareness and understanding of the history and realities of the Mi’kmaq on P.E.I., like the tragic loss of life their people suffered as a result of having to cross the ice for basic needs.

The event will also honour other Indigenous communities across the country where ice roads are still active and lives continue to be lost as a result.

Those who wish to take part will be asked to unite in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq people and acknowledge the actions of their ancestors or the entities they represent, who were responsible for many of the horrors faced by the first people of this land, such as the residential schools, day schools and the ‘60s scoop.

“Mi’kmaq of Lennox Island First Nation, like many across Turtle Island, were forced to travel on treacherous roads of unstable ice to procure basic supplies in the winter,” said Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard. “This action on March 8th is a show of solidarity and a chance to continue the healing in our community.”

Lennox Island is hosting the event in partnership with the federal and provincial governments.

P.E.I. premier Dennis King is planning to attend, along with local dignitaries, clergy, law enforcement personnel, government officials and the Mi’kmaq community.

The walk will be followed by traditional teachings and cultural ceremonies, including a forgiveness ceremony.

Order of events

12:30-12:45 p.m. – All walkers, security and crew meet at both launch and landing sites.

1 p.m. – Ceremony at Port Hill.

1:15 p.m. – Walk and silent vigil begin.

1:45 p.m. – Arrive to ceremonial welcome at Lennox.

2 p.m. – Procession into school.

2:30 p.m. – Forgiveness ceremony.

3:30 p.m. – Speeches, presentations and performances.

4:30-5 p.m. – Feast.

A song, written by three Indigenous and three non-Indigenous writers called Beneath the Path of Crows, is being released to radio in conjunction with the Ice Walk and will be used to raise money for Indigenous youth empowerment initiatives.

There is also a six-part docu-series being made about The Ice Walk to highlight the stories of Mi'kmaq elders and their experiences.

This series led by Mi'kmaq director Eliza Knockwood is being made in association with Bell Fibe TV1, Innovation P.E.I. and FilmP.E.I.

The event will also be live streamed via The Ice Walk YouTube channel and linked to The Ice Walk Facebook page.

“We are looking forward to sharing our stories as this event unfolds through a documentary that is currently being filmed,” said Bernard.

“The song, Beneath the Path of Crows, is a song that our communities asked to have written in the spirit of reconciliation and as well to add a settler perspective to our story ... our shared story. The team of writers, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, did a beautiful job in capturing the awful truth but also the essence of the beauty of our culture, as well as the power of forgiveness. It is an example of art and activism combining to make medicine.”

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