Wearing a full-length skirt as she drummed and sang, Teedly Linklater and her family led more than 2,000 people through downtown Saskatoon during the city’s second Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation.
“All my ancestors, my grandparents I wish they were here to see, to be a part of this truth and reconciliation,” said Linklater, a Cree mother of four from the Thunderchild First Nation, Sask.
The walk, now in its second year, is part of events marking National Aboriginal Day in Saskatoon.
“It should have always been happening,” said Linklater. “We’re never going away. We’re going to be here forever and ever. So we all need to be together and be peaceful with one another no matter what colour skin we are, where we’re from or who we are.”
People wearing yellow T-shirts and bandannas made their way past the Saskatoon Farmer’s Market, down along 19th Street, and back along the Meewasin Trail to Victoria Park. Organizers said roughly a thousand children were bused in from Saskatoon schools to participate in the walk.
The crowd included Indigenous elders riding golf carts, women in hijabs, and representatives from dozens of community groups.
“We think it’s important that newcomers come and hear about reconciliation and hear about the efforts made to bridge those relationships, because a lot of them can come with preconceived notions,” said Angela Daigneault, manager of Saskatoon’s Newcomer Information Centre.
She came to the walk with 45 new arrivals to Saskatoon, including people from China, India and the Philippines.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” said Sara Davies, a Métis teacher from St. Frances School.
“I feel just amazement and awe and gratitude that so many people care and want to be part of this movement.”