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Instead of meeting with Aboriginal youth who had traveled 1,600 kilometres by foot in -50°C frigid winter temperatures to Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Harper went to an airport photo-op with two pandas.

Inspired by the Idle No More movement, 17-year-old David Kawapit Jr. and six friends left their traditional territory to travel for two months through brush, snow and frigid winter temperatures - walking from northern Quebec to Ottawa to call attention to local issues facing youth, including suicide, and fight for the future of Aboriginal people in Canada.

And instead of meeting with the walkers, Prime Minister Harper chose to leave town for a photo-op with two pandas. He’s spending $10 million to rent the pandas. Seriously. $10 million for panda priorities. 1 It’s outrageous to spend $10 million on pandas while Aboriginal children and youth receive $2-3,000 less education funding each year than non-native children and youth -- and need to walk 1,600km just to be heard by our government. 2,3

Sign the petition to PM Harper: It’s wrong to put PR stunts before people. Recognize First Nations rights and commit to equal education funding for Aboriginal children and youth.



Canada’s Aboriginal youth face many hurdles -- and this panda PR shows you the problem with this government’s priorities.

Cindy Blackstock, founder of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society has said that this means First Nations students have “fewer books, no libraries, no computers and very few science labs or learning supports for learners with different needs. Many First Nations children have to leave home at a young age to go to school hundreds of kilometers away and others go to schools in terrible conditions that include rat, snake and mold infestations. These horrible conditions contribute to less than half of First Nations children graduating from high school.” 3

Young people shouldn’t have to walk 1,600km to get our government’s attention.

Education funding for Aboriginal children and youth is a federal responsibility.We need our government to commit to a plan to reach equal education funding for Aboriginal children and youth in Canada.

Equal education funding is a good start, and we need to think big-picture. Time and again, Canada has broken its treaty promises to First Nations. That’s why Canada and many Canadians have gotten rich off the land’s resources, while First Nations have been locked into structural poverty. 4,5

This is a moment to make sure Canadians know what’s going on, make our voices heard, and keep our promises. Please sign this urgent petition now and share it with your friends and networks.

Here’s quote from our friend Heather Milton Lightening, Cree advocate and organizer, who offered this statement of support:

"Our people have more power than we know and understand. Harper is someone who understands power. This is a game of wills, and his acknowledgment of pandas over the Nishiyuu youth is intended to show that our people are powerless in the eyes of his regime. Little does he know leaders come and go but our people are forever. These youth showed the world the power of our people. Now it’s time to act."

Published in Global News
Saturday, 16 March 2013 06:41

The Journey of Nishiyuu Walkers

The Quest of Wisjinichu-Nishiyuu, Quest For Unity

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6 Youth under the age of 20 with two guides wish to walk 1500 KM to Ottawa and arrive in Parliament Hill. This is a strong message to prove to other First Nations across Canada that the Cree Nation of Quebec are not sellouts, but keepers of the Language, Culture, Tradition and more importantly; today, we still carry the sacred laws of our ancestors.


This Quest-Journey will establish and unite our historical allies and restore our traditional trade routes with the Algonquin, Mohawk and other First Nations. The time for Unity is now.


Through Unity and Harmony, the quest will revive the voices of our “Anskushiyouch”. Their voices will be heard once more. With their guidance and strength, the Truth to all the sacred teachings will be revived and we will become once more, a powerful United Nations across Turtle Island.

The warriors have awaken and will rise:

The Cree people have always been fierce warriors; they have always been the gatekeepers of the North. They have had many battles and disputes over the territory, and to this day we have never surrendered our land to no nation, not now, not ever.

This land, the earth, the rivers, the winds, the mountains, the clouds and all of the creation, we are the true keepers and will continue to do so until time on earth is over. This Quest, it is time the Youth become the Warriors and the leaders for they are the “Anskushshiyouch” as foretold. The Earth Walkers, the beings put here on earth to protect all of Chisamanitou's Creation. In unity, in harmony, in peace, in war, we will achieve.


  1. Stanley George Jr, 
  2. Johnny Abraham, 
  3. David Kawapit, 
  4. Raymond Kawapit, 
  5. Geordie Rupert, 
  6. Travis George 
  7. Isaac Kawapit (Guide)

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Quest of Wisjinichu-Nishiyuu, Quest For Unity

From Helen Atkinson

  • The trekkers started from their community which is on Hudson Bay on the Quebec side (they left on January 11?). Their community has no road access. They are snowshoeing through the wilderness and are camping along the way. They had 85 km under their belts on Jan 23rd, since they left their community a week ago.
  • Their community is Cree and Inuit. It is called Whapmagoostui in Cree, Kuujjuarapik in Inuktitut, Great Whale River in English and Poste de la Baleine in French. It is the farthest north Cree community and the southernmost Inuit community, in Quebec.
  • It will take them another week or so (from January 24)  to get to the first community on their trek which is Chisasibi. The Youth Council is preparing for their arrival and for their accommodation while they are here. Chisasibi is connected by road so it will be easier to support them on their trek. It is at least 1400 km to Ottawa by road from here (Chisasibi).
  • Around here this morning (January 24) the wind chill is -42 degrees C. It is probably much colder where they are.

Journey of Nishuyuu Timeline


Facebook Group: The Journey of the Nishiyuu

  • Updated Daily and on the hour

Facebook Group Direct E-mail Posting: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook Event: Welcoming the Journey of the Nishiyuu to Ottawa


Journey of Nishiyuu - TEASER - YouTube

Published on Feb 7, 2013

Six young Cree men and a guide started the epic Journey of Nishiyuu on January 16, 2013, to carry a message to embrace and celebrate culture, hope, peace, the protection of Mother Earth, unity and healing of all humanity.

The seven walkers embark on the historic snowshoe journey from their hometown of Whapmagoostui, which is located along the coast of Hudson Bay in Northern Quebec, to Ottawa, Ontario - this is The Journey of Nishiyuu.

This montage features moments from the first 200KM and the eventual arrival in Chisasibi, Quebec. More footage will be added until the feature documentary is released.

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Official Website of the Nishiyuu Journey

Official Website of the Nishiyuu Journey


The Journey of Nishiyuu
General Delivery
Whapmagoostui, Quebec

Matthew Mukash: tel. 819-929-3718/514-703-3718, e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Benjamin Masty: tel: 819-929-3938/819-929-0766 (cell), e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Matthew A. Iserhoff: tel:819-929-3718, e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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