Brad Firth, known as Caribou Legs, will finish his cross-country run to raise awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), in St. John’s on Sunday, November 20th.
Firth is a Gwich’in athlete who lost his sister last year, he began the 6,000 Kilometer journey from Vancouver to St. John’s on Mother’s Day to honour his sister and all of Canada’s MMIW.
The St. John’s Native Friendship Centre (SJNFC) along with other community organizations invite people to join them in welcoming Firth at City Hall on Sunday.There will be drumming on the steps of City Hall at noon to mark Firth’s arrival, followed by a reception in the Foran Room, which is open to the public.
People are also encouraged to show their support by running alongside Firth for the final stretch of his journey. SJNFC have released maps that outline Firth’s route as well as information about when he is expected to reach the last 20K, 10k and 1k marks of the run so that people can join him or cheer him on from the sidelines.
Firth is accepting donations to help with the expenses of his trip, people can donate through Paypal, email transfer (more information about paying via these methods is available on Caribou Legs’ Facebook page) or make out cheques to Brad Firth, to be given to him on Sunday. Community organizations will be presenting Firth with items of recognition at the event.
Sunday’s event is part of the tireless, year-round work SJNFC does to promote awareness about MMIW. In August, they facilitated a nation-wide meeting on the issue, the fourth of its kind and the only one to take place outside of Toronto.
This October they hosted their annual Vigil For Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women at Bowring Park. They have also made important contributions to the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Amelia Reimer, Cultural Support Worker/ First Nations Programming Coordinator at SJNFC noted that this April SJNFC helped organize a similar ceremony for Conrad Burns, who left St. John’s to walk across the country in the opposite direction, raising awareness about violent and abusive relationships. Reimer says that murder is often the culmination of a violent and abusive relationship and it is important to also look at those relationships.
Reimer says people are welcome to get involved in the work SJNFC does and can find information about upcoming events and initiatives on their website and Facebook page.
“This is ground zero for colonialism, so we might as well make it ground zero for starting to make things right through reconciliation,” Says Reimer.