The healing ride stops at Bethel Community Church outside of St. Paul last year.
A 93-kilometre healing ride that hopes to continue Truth and Reconciliation between Indigenous people and European Canadians begins today at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills, formerly a residential school.
This is the second year of four planned healing rides, all culminating in a ride to North Battleford in two years, the site of what Kehewin Cree Nation councillor Ben Badger calls the biggest massacre in Canadian history that isn’t talked about – the execution of eight Indigenous men for their role in the North West Rebellion in 1885.
“That’s why we’re doing this healing ride. All the things that were done behind you and your ancestors and us and our relatives – because we’re all related, right? It doesn’t matter your skin. We’re two-legged beings, we’re species of humans on Earth. And we have to do our best in our generation to come together,” said Badger.
This year’s ride will remember the Frog Lake Massacre when nine settlers were killed by starving Indigenous people in a contentious and infamous episode in Canadian history during the unrest of the Treaty Six signing.
“They were trading food for sex. If you ask the people of Frog Lake, that’s the story,” said Badger.
“We have to tell that story from our side. So that’s what we’re doing.”
The healing ride began at Blue Quills Thursday with a Horse Dance celebration.
Today, they will ride to Bethel Church in St. Paul, before heading to St. Edouard Staging Area for lunch with friends and neighbours.
The ride will continue through Elk Point where the riders and walkers will camp overnight at the Eco Centre grounds.
On Saturday, the ride continues to Lindbergh for lunch and will stop at Whitney Lake.
On Sunday afternoon at 1pm, they will arrive at the Frog Lake Memorial Site for a pipe ceremony and feast.
It’s a chance, said Badger whose brother was murdered and family continues to go through painful struggles, to talk about the major issues affecting not only Indigenous people but all Canadians.
“That’s the stories we have to get out there. The real stuff about the mental health and suicide, the sexual abuse – that’s the hard one,” said Badger.
“When you tell the old generation, they don’t talk about it. But it’s a reality we have to live with. And if we continue to neglect the truth, we’re going to leave that for our kids. And if it’s so awkward for us to hear that even that word, that’s power. And I’m not about that.”
Badger said a documentary is in the works capturing the four-year journey of telling the story of what happened in North Battleford.
The film will be along the lines of Jim Miller’s Dakota 38 documentary, which shed light on the 38 Dakota peoples hanged and a 330-mile healing ride.
“Together we are seeking the Old Way of Being: respecting and relating in natural peace and harmony with all,” the healing ride agenda said.
Last year, the healing ride began at Long Lake, through St. Paul to Blue Quills.