Dr. Stanley Vollant covers 6,000 kilometers on foot and in a canoe

SAGUENAY, QC, Sept. 9, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Dr. Stanley Vollant, a former member of the University of Ottawa faculty and surgeon at Hôpital Montfort, will be back in the Témiscamingue, Outaouais and Eastern Ontario regions from September 19 to October 9. Dr. Vollant, the first native surgeon to hail from Quebec – and, in all likelihood, the second in Canada – is currently on a 6,000-kilometer trek, on foot and in a canoe, seeking to meet with Aboriginal youth. He wants to talk to them about healthy life habits, staying in school and the importance of holding on to one's dreams.

Dr. Vollant will therefore begin his journey through this region on September 19, heading on foot to the Algonquin communities of Wolf Lake and Eagle River, on the shores of Lac Kipawa in Témiscamingue. The very next day, he leaves the town of Témiscaming in a Voyageur canoe, to paddle down the Ottawa River. His next stop will be the community of Pikwakanagan (Golden Lake, Ontario) on September 28, walking from Pembroke to Lake Doré on the 27th and another, on the 28th, between Wilberforce Park (Lake Doré) and Golden Lake. He will also meet with a group of young participants at the very first Aboriginal leadership camp organized by the Breakfast Club of Canada in Quyon on October 2. Another public walk is planned for October 4 in partnership with the Native Women Association of Canada, in the streets of Ottawa and Gatineau. Dr. Vollant will then continue his journey down the river to Clarence-Rockland, and then proceed on foot towards Cornwall, to meet with the Akwesasne Mohawk community on October 9.

During his time in the nation's capital, Dr. Vollant will be accompanied by Ghislain Picard, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), who expressed his delight at the surgeon's return to Ottawa:

AFN National Chief Ghislain Picard said: "I commend Dr. Vollant's determination and dedication as he travels to many of our communities talking to our youth about the importance of healthy lifestyles and healthy choices, including respect for one's self, one's culture and the wisdom of the Elders. This is the foundation for achieving our goals in life and the foundation for healthy and strong communities.  Dr. Vollant is an inspiration and a true role model for First Nations youth and I speak for all First Nations in thanking him for this initiative."

Dr. Vollant adds:

"I'm really pleased to be going through part of the Mohawk territories and the Algonquin territories located in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and the Ottawa River valley. I have covered almost 4,000 kilometers to date, on foot, through Quebec, Labrador, Ontario and New Brunswick, but there's a lot of ground to cover on the road to emancipation for our native peoples. The communities I have visited are already feeling the impact of the Innu Meshkenu walk, and this energizes me so I can continue my trek."

Anyone who is interested in walking with Dr. Vollant, for a day or a few hours, can visit http://www.innu-meshkenu.com/en/ to review the information they need in order to participate. The Innu Meshkenu project organizers can also be reached by contacting the Centre des Premières Nations Nikanite, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, at 418-545-5011, extension 2416.   

About the Innu Meshkenu project

As he covers the Innu Meshkenu (path of all humans) on foot, Dr. Stanley Vollant is looking to meet with people in First Nations and adjacent communities in order to inspire youth and show them the way, as well as to build bridges between Aboriginal and non-native communities. To this end, he expects to walk almost 6,000 kilometers over the course of this five-year project that is expected to conclude in the winter of 2016.

For more information on the Innu Meshkenu project or to make a donation, visit http://www.innu-meshkenu.com/en/.

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations

For further information: J-Charles Fortin, coordinator, Innu Meshkenu project, Centre des Premières Nations Nikanite, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Office: 418-545-5011, extension 2416, Cell: 418-812-0600, Innu.mesheknu @ uqac.ca; Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca


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