Crowd greets Walk of Sorrow's return to Timmins

·2 min read

On a bright sunny day at Hollinger Park, people applauded Patricia Ballantyne saying she'll come to the city every year.

Today (Aug. 5), Ballantyne arrived in Timmins as part of the second Walk of Sorrow event. She walked with supporters along Highway 655 to Hollinger Park, where there was drumming and singing as she arrived.

The journey is honouring and recognizing the residential school survivors across Canada.

This year she is walking from Ottawa to Halifax.

Her message is very clear.

"Residential school survivors still exist and still matter," she said. In an interview with TimminsToday, she expressed her plan for next year.

"We did the walk from Saskatchewan to Ottawa last year. Next year the plan is to walk from Saskatchewan to Kamloops," she said.

Originally from Deschambault Lake, Sask., Ballantyne was taken to Prince Albert Residential School when she was four and a half years old. She spent 10 years there and suffered emotional and physical abuse.

She explained how hard it is to be a survivor. It bothered her for so many years that finally, she had to heal by herself and help others by sharing her story.

On a recent trip to Canada, Pope Francis apologized to Indigenous people for the church's role in residential schools.

"Apologies don't mean nothing without the action behind them," said Ballantyne.

She has a message for the local community.

"Timmins, just continue healing yourselves. We are together to bring the reconciliation into action," she said.

Grand Chief Alison Linklater was also a part of today's walk.

"It's nice that she's come back," she said.

Linklater also said, "it brings hope," which will help the healing process.

Though Linklater is hopeful she said there is work to be done.

"We are hoping to support all the survivors," she said.

Jinsh Rayaroth, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com

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