A small group of people are walking from Smithers to Prince Rupert in hopes of reconnecting to Mother Earth and each other.
The 350 km journey also aims to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer and promote emotional, spiritual, mental and physical healing.
Melanie Smoke, who had a form of pancreatic cancer, organized the walk last year and was moved to do it again this year.
“I let go, out of a lot of past trauma issues. I lost my dad in 2001 on the river and he was never found. I got to walk all of those kilometres, those 300 kilometres to get to where he went missing and pray for his spirit to go home and pray for my family. That was my journey last year,” Smoke said.
“There was a girl named Kimberly who came with us last year and she had lost her sister to the Highway of Tears. She walked over 200 kilometres before she let go of the pain and the guilt that was holding her to that great loss.”
Melanie’s daughter Shanna joined her last year and is doing it again this year.
“My foster daughter came with us, she is eight years old. At her young age, she let go of a lot of (abandonment) issues and we got really close.”
“It was really spiritual last year,” said Shanna. “I’m most excited this year to get to the ocean and have more people join us along the way.”
Patsy Green is walking with the group from Smithers to Hazelton.
“My son was murdered, his murderer got off. I want to raise awareness of that and that is why I’m doing this.”
Five people left Smithers on Wednesday, but not before doing a ceremony. Smoke said more people will join them along the way. She hopes to get to Prince Rupert on Sept. 10 where another ceremony and feast will take place.