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Walk promotes justice for Indigenous people

The third annual Justice for Indigenous People Walk gets under way early Friday morning west of Fort Macleod.

The English family has dedicated the 2020 walk to the memory of Joey English, Joseph Moyah Jr., Darrell Smith and Colton Crowshoe.

Their deaths under suspicious and violent circumstances have left unanswered questions for friends and loved ones.

In addition to the physical challenge of walking more than 200 kilometres to the city, people taking part in the Justice for Indigenous People Walk carry a heavy emotional burden.

“This is my family and it’s getting heavier,” walk organizer Stephanie English said. “I don’t know how much more pain we have to go through.”

The list of murdered and missing Indigenous women grows each year in Canada, and many Indigenous men die under violent circumstances.

English said the murders far too often go unpunished and police are unable to provide satisfactory answers to friends and family members.

“It’s not just happening to us,” English said of First Nations families. “I see it happening to other nationalities too.”

The body of Colton Crowshoe, 18, of the Piikani Nation, was found in a retention pond in Calgary in 2014. No charges have been laid.

English’s brother Joseph Moyah Jr. was murdered last year in Edmonton. No one has been charged.

Darrell Smith, 47, of the Piikani Nation, was found dead in 2018 under suspicious circumstances in a Calgary apartment. City police have not charged anyone.

The dismembered body of Stephanie English’s daughter Joey, 25, was discovered in a Calgary landfill in 2016.

Her boyfriend, Joshua Weise, pleaded guilty to a charge of indignity to a human body.

Weise admitted in court to finding English dead of a drug overdose, dismembering her body and putting it in a landfill.

Only some of Joey English’s remains were found, a fact that weighs on Stephanie English today.

Weise was sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years of probation.

The walk gets under way about 4 a.m. Friday, Oct. 2 on the English family’s property at RR 273 on the Piikani Nation.

The walk travels east on Highway 3 to Highway 2, where it turns north to Calgary.

The group will walk as far as Nanton on Friday and continue to Calgary on Saturday, Oct. 3.

On Sunday, Oct. 4 the group will join the 16th annual Sisters in Spirit Gathering at Olympic Plaza.

People are invited to join the walk, even for a short distance, to show solidarity.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are discouraged from bringing children or taking part if they are sick.

If people aren’t able to walk, the group would appreciate their prayers of support.

Anyone interested in providing financial or other support, or who wants more information about the walk, can contact Patsy English at 403-632-6245 or Stephanie English at englishs398@gmail.com.

Donations support the Justice for Indigenous People Walk and Indigenous justice.

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