Sask. woman's 'Walk of Sorrow' started in response to residential school discoveries reaches Ontario

A Prince Albert residential school survivor is about halfway through her journey to Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

In June, Patricia Ballantyne began the Walk of Sorrow from  residential school in Prince Albert with the plan to end in the nation’s capital by the end of July.

“It’s called the Walk of Sorrow because it’s been over so many generations that we’re losing our families and our ancestors and even today we’re still losing them to alcohol, drugs and the system,” she said.

Ballantyne tells CTV News she started this walk as a healing journey after learning about the unmarked graves found at an residential school in Kamloops. As a survivor herself, Ballantyne said she realized she needed to heal personally as well.

“Once we got going, other survivors started telling me their stories and I decided then I was going to walk for all our survivors and all the ones that never made it home,” Ballantyne said.

She said she’s stopped at several First Nations reserves so far on her journey that’s taken her to the Manitoba-Ontario border, speaking to elders and meeting more and more survivors.

“I believe as we walk by and visit all the residential school sites, that all the little ones are with us and we are showing them their way home,” she said. “There are still 400 residential schools out there that need to be checked so this is not over.”

While Ballantyne is joined by about 20 others, she estimates she’s met more than 1,000 people who have shared stories or encouraged her to continue on her journey to Ottawa. She added her walk is not a protest but a push for knowledge and education.

“This is supposed to be a time for learning, the time to learn, learn to love each other, take care of each other, be kind, show compassion and understanding.”