OHSWEKEN – Six Nations Walk Against Violence Participants walked through the Six Nations community from all four directions, ending at Veteran’s Park, Ohsweken for free burgers and hot dogs, speeches and valuable information directed primarily towards youth. According to Sandra Montour, Executive Director of Ganohkwasra, Family Assault Support Services, it has been decided to make this
OHSWEKEN – Six Nations Walk Against Violence Participants walked through the Six Nations community from all four directions, ending at Veteran’s Park, Ohsweken for free burgers and hot dogs, speeches and valuable information directed primarily towards youth.
According to Sandra Montour, Executive Director of Ganohkwasra, Family Assault Support Services, it has been decided to make this walk against violence an annual affair that will happen the last Saturday of September every year.
“We started out in our Walk Against Violence in the four directions coming together carrying signs and chanting against violence within this community and for peace,” said Montour. “We had about 120 that walked, and we have about 300 here at the Park. Once the four directions came together, the children released 88 balloons into the air.”The ‘88’ represents two infinity symbols, which speak of balance and eternity, she explains.
“What we said when they were released was, may these find a way to promote peace and love in our community,’” says Montour.
Amongst the speakers were retired Justice of the Peace, Norma General who spoke on how our Creator has faith in us to give us the good mind and how we were given the earth and it’s bounty to sustain us.
Patrick Bomberry, a Cayuga Nation Faith Keeper and language speaker, talked about the struggles he has been through as a young parent and how he took the time to learn his language and how difficult that was for him. But his message was that if he can do it, anyone could do it if they really want to and if they work at it.
Up and coming singer/songwriter Lacy Hill sang a self-penned song, which was very well received.
“She is a youth recruitment worker at Mohawk College,” says Montour. “She spoke of her own journey as a child and youth worker and encouraged young people not to give up, and to pursue their dreams.”
Young Six Nations lacrosse star Johnny Powless spoke on not giving up on your dream and not to let anyone say you are too small, and that you can’t do it. If you want to do something you can if you are willing to work hard to get it. He also encouraged a healthy life style and being careful about what you put into your body.
“Summer Johns, runner up for Miss Six Nations this year, spoke at the Miss Six Nations pageant about being substance free, not taking drugs or alcohol and we were quite impressed with that, so we asked her to come and speak,” says Montour. “She did a wonderful job encouraging youth to seek out support in whatever they are doing because that support is there, one only needs to ask.”
Ganohkwasra is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year as well and will be setting up a weeklong series of events and activities within the community for November. More details will be made available as they are solidified, according to Montour.
An estimated 300 participants gathered at Veterans Part in downtown Ohsweken Saturday following the four directions walk through the community to bring awareness to the ongoing problems of violence within homes and within the community at large. (Photo by Jim Windle)
Sandra Montour, Executive Director of Ganohkwasra, pictured with her grandson Zachary, was very happy with the participation in this year’s Walk Against Violence and intends to make it an annual affair. (Photo by Jim Windle)
Volunteers cook up dozens upon dozens of hamburgers and hotdogs for the community at Veteran’s Park in downtown Ohsweken Saturday as the climax to the Walk Against Violence event s organized by Ganohkwasra, Family Assault Support Services. (Photo by Jim Windle)