A healing walk in memory of Thre Windego and those who have lost their lives to overdose will be held on Saturday, June 3.
The walk starts at 1 p.m. at the United Native Friendship Centre (UNFC) parking lot, stops at the Nugget Motel, and then returns to the UNFC.
The walk’s main purpose is healing for those who are still struggling with addictions and for friends and family of people who have lost their loved ones to overdose, said Shannon Stone, one of the organizers of the grassroots event.
“And just bringing awareness,” she said. “I think one of the big things is people look down at, say people who live at the Nugget, for example. They look down on them, like they see them as less than, and they’re just people who are struggling, you know? So that’s one of the things we’re trying to show love and compassion to those who are struggling.”
UNFC offered to help with the event in a “big way,” said Stone, who had initially reached out asking if they could help make resource pamphlets but said she received much more. Stone added that counsellors from UNFC may be offering support as well.
“We’re gonna open it up so people can share their stories because that’s the first part of healing, right? Being able to share some of your struggles, could be they want to share something about another loved one who passed away or whatever it is. Just kind of going to be one of chances to say what they need to say,” she said.
Smudging will also take place to offer good thoughts and prayers to those struggling with addictions, two elders will be available if people need someone to talk to, and the drum group present will be the Rainy Lake Singers.
At the end of the walk, lunches will be handed out to the homeless in the area near the Nugget Motel. “There’s been a lot of overdoses there,” Stone said.
At the Nugget Motel, the Northwestern Health Unit will also be present at the walk to provide further information about opioid overdose treatments and teach residents how to use Narcan kits.
Residents are invited to wear orange for Every Child Matters or purple for Overdose Awareness.
“We’ve asked that people wear either purple for Overdose Awareness or orange for Every Child Matters but we’re also going to have some shirts available to purchase. There is a Bring Our Children Home logo and then on the back is ‘in loving memory of Thre Windego,’” Stone said.
Stone added that people can come earlier if they would like to purchase a Bring Our Children Home shirt in memory of Thre Windego and that shirts are around $25 for youth and $34 for adults.
The healing walk event was sponsored by Atikokan Native Friendship Centre, Bring Our Children Home, United Native Friendship Centre, and the Northwestern Health Unit.