Dr. Stanley Vollant closes 635 kilometer walking journey in North Bay

TORONTO, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Dr. Stanley Vollant, Quebec's first Aboriginal surgeon, will walk the final steps of a 635-kilometer spiritual journey across eastern Canada in North Bay on Oct. 11. The public is invited to hear Dr. Vollant share his messages of inspiration, health and healing at the North Bay Indian Friendship Center at 12:00pm.

Described as a model of Aboriginal achievement and an inspiration, Dr. Vollant began walking to raise awareness about connecting with culture and traditions, healthy choices and the importance of education. Through the Innu Meshkenu, Dr. Vollant aims to inspire youth; emphasize the importance of elders and traditional ways, and; enable lasting relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Stories of success emerging from Dr. Vollant's visits with communities include:

  • Quitting smoking, alcohol and/or drug consumption by many walkers
  • Weight loss as a result of training and participating in the walk
  • A return to school for youth who had previously dropped out
  • Implementation of activity clubs in communities (walking, snowshoeing, canoeing)
  • Promotion of Aboriginal identity and a sense of belonging
  • The strengthening of relations between visited communities

The Innu Meshkenu

The vision of Innu Meshkenu came to Dr. Stanley Vollant in 2008.  By walking the Innu Meshkenu, which means "path of all humans", Dr. Vollant wishes to meet with the people of First Nations and neighboring communities to inspire youth and to raise awareness about the importance of healthy choices, education, and acceptance and awareness between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. The Innu Meshkenu will span a total of 5,000 kilometers over the course of five years to be completed December 2015. The Innu Meshkenu project is an initiative of the Nikanite First Nations Center at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

A busy route

This leg of the Innu Meshkenu trek began September 21st in the community of Rapid Lake, Québec and crossed the Algonquin territories in Abitibi -Témiscamingue and Northeastern Ontario.  In total, he and thirty Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal walkers travelled the 635 kilometers between the communities of Rapid Lake, Kitcisakik, Lac-Simon, Pikogan, Timiskaming and North Bay.

Along his journey Dr. Vollant attended Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal schools on his path to visit with the youth and share his experience as well as hear from them about their hopes and dreams for their futures.  Dr. Vollant and his walkers shared stories of past experiences along the trek and spent time at a former residential school where they reflected on the multi-generational impacts to culture, traditions and spirituality.

Innu Meshkenu will return to Ontario in the summer 2014 when Dr. Stanley Vollant will continue his trek from North Bay to Mattawa and again in the fall 2014 with a paddle down the Ottawa River starting in Mattawa and ending in Ottawa.  Dr. Vollant warmly invites the public to join the next legs of the trek when he returns.

For more information on the Innu Meshkenu project or to make a donation, please visit us at www.innu-meshkenu.com.


SOURCE: Ontario Medical Association

For further information:

J- Charles Fortin
Coordinator, Innu Meshkenu project
Nikanite First Nations Centre
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

Office: 418-545-5011 ext. 2416
Cell: 418-812-0600
innu.mesheknu@uqac.ca
www.innu-meshkenu.com


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