First-annual “Strides for Strength” walk/run set for next Saturday

By Daniel Adam
Staff Writer

In honour of the families, the survivors, and those impacted by mental, emotional, physical and sexual violence, the Strides for Strength 5K walk/run aims to eliminate the stigma and social barriers that prevent Indigenous people from living in a world free from harm.

“Our approach is inclusive. Whether you walk, run, or roll, all are welcome to take part in this important initiative,” says Cassandra Yerxa, MMIWG co-ordinator. “We all have a role to play in prevention. Finding innovative ways to come together is something we do here at Grand Council Treaty #3.”

All proceeds raised by the participants will be put towards at risk youth and anti-violence initiatives.

“As someone who has experienced all forms of violence while raising my own children, I understand the importance of creating inclusive safe spaces to help those to _Mino-Bimaadiziwin_,” says Yerxa. “Silence is violence; the unseen, the unheard — it’s unacceptable, and it’s time to break the silence. I will continue to promote education, advocacy, and awareness on grassroots level so that families can build safer futures for themselves and their communities in the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3.”

The event was made possible by Grand Council Treaty #3, with support of the Women’s Council Gaagiidoo-ikwewag and Youth Executive Council Oshkiniigiig.

“It is initiatives such as these that encourage us to maintain our ongoing efforts to come to terms with a troubled past and continue on our path of healing as a Nation,” says Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “I applaud the leadership of the Women’s Council and Youth Executive Council and lift them up in their efforts to have these difficult conversations and raise awareness on the impacts of violence in the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3.”

The walk/run, hosted by Couchiching First Nation is scheduled for Saturday, July 23. The route is from the Couchiching First Nation Administration Building to the Memorial Sports Centre in Fort Frances. Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the administration building’s parking lot, and the walk/run will start at 9:30 a.m.

Yerxa says registration and information is available on all Grand Council Treaty #3 social platforms, or you can contact her at for a registration form and to donate.

She says all participants will receive a T-shirt and water bottle. There will also be prizes, hydration stations throughout the route, and a light grab-and-go snack once completed.

This will be the first Strides for Strength walk/run, but Yerxa says the next run will take place in Dryden next summer. She added that they are hoping to have a urban-setting challenge on proceeds raised.