James Taylor, a member of the Mississauga Ojibwe Nation, will set out on Sept. 20 to walk from Hope back home to Greater Victoria in just five days to honour survivors of trauma and to acknowledge those who never came home. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

James Taylor, a member of the Mississauga Ojibwe Nation, will set out on Sept. 20 to walk from Hope back home to Greater Victoria in just five days to honour survivors of trauma and to acknowledge those who never came home. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Armed only with his trusty running shoes, a positive outlook, a pink T-shirt that reads ‘Go be kind’ and a desire to connect with his ancestors, James Taylor is setting out on Sept. 20 to walk from Hope back home to Greater Victoria in just five days.

This type of marathon walk isn’t new for Taylor, a member of the Mississauga Ojibwe Nation and a “cultural history resource” for School District 61. Since 2014, he has travelled from Mile 0 to Ottawa on foot three times – five-month trips he refers to as “healing walks.” Each walk came as a response to calls from his ancestors asking him to honour survivors of trauma and “those who never came home.”

READ ALSO: Victoria man plans 30-hour walk to raise funds for vulnerable youth

Taylor began embarking on long-distance walks in 2003 after being struck by lightning in Ontario. He said he’s been hit twice in his life and the second time transformed him. He remembers spending what felt like hours in a limited space with many of his ancestors before his grandfather came to him and told him to go back, use his gift and walk.

Lightning strike survivors are referred to as “heyoka” or “sacred clowns,” he explained, noting that since the incident, he’s been more jovial, which is why his Ojibwe name is Kind Lightning.

READ ALSO: Langford racing enthusiast back in driver’s seat of life after surviving aggressive cancer

Taylor said walking across the country is “pretty hard, pretty incredible, pretty lonely [and] pretty happy.”

He’d planned to embark on his fourth and final cross-country walk in 2020, but the pandemic and an injury derailed his plans. He was disappointed, but in June, his wife pointed out that since February, he’d taken long healing walks every day and that between the local walks and the trip from Hope to Saanich, he will have walked 9,300 km – the equivalent to a walk to Ottawa and back.

He was able to see friends and family, sleep at home, save money on bandaids and use far fewer pairs of sneakers – he would have burned through about 14 pairs on a round-trip.

READ ALSO: Sooke girl who battled cancer hosting bottle drive for Tour de Rock

As with each of his healing walks, Taylor will make the journey from Hope to Saanich alone – relying on the kindness of others for meals and a place to sleep. To contribute, contact Taylor by email at walk4hope03@gmail.com and all extra funds will go into his GoFundMe page.

This walk is not only for missing and murdered Indigenous women and for residential school survivors but for all who need healing and closure. Taylor plans to make daily posts on his Facebook page, Walking for our lost relations. He welcomes anyone who wishes to join him but emphasized the need for mental preparation; “each step is a prayer,” which is why the walk draws attention to so many issues.

READ ALSO: RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Taylor plans to be back into Saanich on Thursday (Sept. 24). Students from Claremont Secondary School will join him on the trek down to Cordova Bay for a sacred fire and a fast, to which all are welcome.

Taylor feels this will be his final long-distance healing walk but noted that his ancestors may call on him to continue and said he’ll be happy to oblige because when the ancestors come to speak, “you’ve just got to listen.”


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

First NationsIndigenous reconcilliation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP are looking for “an unknown man who wrapped his arms around” a female youth in Clayton Feb. 26. (Black Press file photo)
Youth assaulted by unknown man in Cloverdale

Mounties looking for ‘tall and thin’ Caucasian man in his 40’s with short dark brown hair

A model of the planned Salishan Place centre was displayed at a Fort public information session in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
$711,000 tourism grant goes to Langley arts and culture centre

Salishan Place by the River is a planned community hub with many amenities and uses

Cyclists checked out the 216th interchange crossing the night before it opened to motor vehicles in early September, 2020. The overpass has separated bike lanes for riders. (Mitchell Nurse/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley overpass wins cycling infrastructure award

HUB Cycling handed out the award to the Township and province recently

A retail cannabis outlet in Aldergrove got its final rezoning approval on Feb. 22. (Black Press Media File)
Aldergrove cannabis shop gets rezoning approval – barely

Council voted twice after narrowly defeating the project the first time

Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen spoke on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, against proposed amendments to MAiD that would make more groups eligible, calling the Senate amendments a ‘Frankenstein bill’ (House of Commons video image)
OPINION: The grim future of palliative care in British Columbia

Takeover of Delta Hospice by Fraser Health is a major step toward the dismantling of palliative care in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Most Read