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Walk for Children

August 1, 2009 permalink

Tamara Malcolm is walking from Winnipeg to Ottawa to draw attention to native children, including herself, separated from their parents. In spite of an apology from the prime minister, the practice continues today.

There is more on this walk at the Foster Care News entry for July 31, 2009, or on the Facebook page WALKING FOR THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS OF ABORIGINAL CHILDREN.

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Winnipeg Free Press

Protest trek Ottawa walk targets native child welfare

By: Staff Writer, 1/08/2009 1:00 AM

Starting today, Tamara Malcolm is going to let her feet do her talking.

The 26-year-old Anishinabe woman will be walking to Ottawa from Winnipeg to show support for aboriginal mothers and children hurt by the child welfare system.

A powwow dancer who practises traditional spirituality, Malcolm's odyssey begins at 11 a.m. today at Arlington Street and Selkirk Avenue. Her first stop will be the Manitoba legislative building, where she will listen to stories from people adversely affected by the system.

"I'll be collecting people's letters and concerns along the way," Malcolm said in a brief interview as she scrambled to prepare for her trek, which will cover the 1,681 kilometres between Winnipeg and the nation's capital.

She has already garnered about 1,300 messages on her Facebook page from Canadians interested in her journey.

In a letter sent to the media, Malcolm said she is originally from Ebb and Flow First Nation but now lives in Winnipeg.

"The purpose of my walk is to help begin the healing process for aboriginal families who have been affected by their children being put in care," she wrote.

"It is believed the current child welfare system is not working and there are more aboriginal children in care than there ever were children in residential schools. So the system needs to change.

"What inspired me to do this walk is that at five years of age, I was told that I could not live with my family and I did not want to be away from the only thing I was born into, and that was my family."

Malcolm said the date of her arrival in Ottawa depends on the number and length of the encounters she has along the route.

She will be joined by a number of other walkers and participants riding in a support vehicle.

A statement from the Southern Chiefs Organization said one of the participants will be M├ętis elder Melba Sanoffsky, 70, who had her children taken in the infamous "Sixties Scoop." Aboriginal kids were plucked from their homes to be raised by non-native families, often in the U.S.

The awareness walk is already drawing support from organizations in Ottawa.

John Dunn, executive-director of The Foster Care Council of Canada, said he is moved by Malcolm's journey because he spent 16 years bouncing around 13 different foster homes.

"We support what she is doing," Dunn said from Ottawa. "It's important the people who are affected by child welfare speak out and get their issues heard.

"Usually, when you hear about it in the media, it means someone has died. One of the biggest problems in child welfare is that the only people who focus on the issues are the people who have been affected by it. We'd like to bring it out to the public."

-- Staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 1, 2009 B4

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

walking for aboriginal children in care

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