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Firth’s 6,000-kilometre Awakening Journey

Firth’s 6,000-kilometre Awakening Journey

Image Courtesy of Brad Firth

by Katarina Ziervogel

A member of Gwich’in First Nation, Brad Firth, a 46-year-old runner who has come a long way. Being an athlete since he was a young boy, nothing stopped him from running anywhere—not even the brutal winter months up in Inuvik, N.W.T nor his dark past of being a former drug addict who managed to escape from the downtown east side in Vancouver. It’s no wonder why Firth has earned himself a title “Caribou Legs.”

Firth first started running in May, from Merritt, British Columbia as the starting point to St. John’s, Newfoundland as the ending point. [1] The focal point of his awakening journey is to raise awareness for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. However, this is not his first time running across the Canada.

Recently, he ran from Vancouver to Ottawa for the Peel Watershed in the Yukon to raise the awareness. A land of six rivers mended into the Peel River, which is a home to four First Nations:  Na-Cho Nyak Dun, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, and the Tetlit Gwich’in Council. Like other water bodies in Canada, this one is under a threat of becoming an industrial development property to the Yukon Government. [2]

What makes Firth’s 6,000-kilometer marathon more remarkable is that he’s covered in full face war paint, carries a hand drum, and wears a breastplate. His outfit received a lot of complaints from the drivers on the highway, and he got stopped by the police a couple of times. [3] But that didn’t stop him from his journey, which we as the community hope will bring more awareness for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

What initiated Firth’s 6,000-kilometer journey across Canada? He alleges his own sister’s death to be the result of domestic violence, like some Indigenous women and girls who have fallen to death due to domestic violence. [4] Which induced him to run in honour of his sister and all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. As the result of his remarkable journey, it has opened the eyes of people alongside the way to see what is truly going on around us. Hopefully, more people will join his awakening journey.

Sources—

  1. Wagner, Cole. “Firth Running across Canada for Missing and Murdered …” Merritt Herald. Aberdeen Publishing, 19 May 2016. Web. 21 Oct. 2016. http://www.merrittherald.com/firth-running-across-canada-for-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women/
  2. “Protect the Peel | Yukon Watershed Threatened.” N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016. http://protectpeel.ca/
  3. Huebsch, Tim. “Police Stop Cross-Canada Runner Known as “Caribou Legs” on …” Canadian Running. Gripped Publishing Inc, 4 July 2016. Web. 21 Oct. 2016. http://runningmagazine.ca/cross-canada-runner-caribou-legs/
  4. Lagerquist, Jeff. “Man Running across Canada to Honour Missing, Murdered …” CTV News. N.p., 17 July 2016. Web. 21 Oct. 2016. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/caribou-legs-man-running-to-honour-missing-murdered-indigenous-women-1.2990409