Cree preteen runs to raise funds for families of missing and murdered indigenous women
Published Saturday, March 26, 2016 8:34PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 26, 2016 8:35PM EDT
An Ontario boy has completed a 134-kilometre run over four days in an effort to raise awareness and money for the children of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Twelve-year-old Theland Kicknosway, of Walpole Island First Nation in southwestern Ontario, began his journey Wednesday at an Algonquin community near Maniwaki, Que., which is approximately 130 kilometres north of Ottawa. This is his second walk to honour missing and murdered indigenous women.
The run’s start and end points were symbolic, chosen to commemorate the women. Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander disappeared from Maniwaki in 2008.
And Kicknosway wrapped up his run in Gatineau Park, where 27-year-old Kelly Morrisseau was found dead in December 2006.
"Running for them is something that has really helped me grow up, and grow into the man from what I used to be," Kicknosway told CTV News.
The RCMP has estimated at least 1,200 indigenous women in Canada have disappeared or been murdered since 1980.
The federal government has said it intends to launch a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, something Kicknosway hopes will bring closure to the women’s families.
Bridget Tolley, whose mother was murdered 15 years ago, says Kicknosway's efforts bring hope to victims' families.
"I've been there too, and any help or support we can give them, we have to do it," Tolley said. "It's too hard for families to go through this alone."
Though this leg of Kicknosway's journey is complete, his mission isn't over. He has planned similar walks for the next two years.
"Every year, every day, every second and every minute, thinking of them is something that will be with me for the rest of my life," he said.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Annie Bergeron-Oliver