As I was unable to do the Honour Walk with Brad, Anne, Laurens, and Nathan I decided to fast in solidarity as they walk, an honour fast. This is not a complete fast because it will last for just shy of 3 weeks. The fast is for 20 hours of the day, I only eat between 8-12 am.
When I skip my evening meal I do my best to pray for the walkers, for their safety, strength, meaningful connections and for the greater population to understand why they are walking. I also pray that there is healing for the survivors of the residential schools, for them to know that there are settlers that care for them, want to hear their stories, want their recognition and justice from the federal government and population at large.
There is still much pain and suffering that stems from these residential schools that has become generational trauma that sadly goes unnoticed, It pains me to hear from people who don’t know the history of the residential schools who say the natives need to ‘get over it’ and ‘move on’. How can they when they don’t get the recognition, time or space to grief? I don’t claim to know much about residential schools or the many difficulty the natives face today but i do know that the Canadian government is silencing their voices. So I pray that this honour walk will help their voice to be heard. I hope our small act of walking and fasting will open up avenues for the native voices to be heard and honoured. I am a settler and still need to learn so much about and from the natives of our land.
This hasn’t been a complete fast and only has been going on for 12 days but I have learned so much, mainly we as Canadian middle class settlers live in extreme over-consumption without even knowing it. The first week I didn’t even get hungry for my usual 5:30 suppertime. I just felt like I need to eat being it was ‘suppertime’. I realize I eat because I am bored or when my routine tells me to. I do not need to eat all my meal to survive or very function at full capacity. I realized I have more energy in the evening when I skip supper then when I eat a large meal because I believe I usually over eat. I feel tied because my body has to digest all the extra food. It has sickened me at all the over consuming that I do just because I can, that I have the means, without me noticing it. I even went dumpster diving for the first time in the first few days of my fast and realized the amount of waste that our society produces. This was at Winnipeg harvest, the end of the line for our food, and yet still their garbage bins were overflowing with mostly eatable food. Why do we produce for much waste? This gets me thinking about how reserves don’t have the food choices I do and are completely under funded by our government all the while we are throwing away perfectly good food.
I have also been invited and gone to dinner engagements over my fasting period. It is a little strange and awkward sitting around the table full of food watching other eat while just have a drink. That is when it is hard to say no to food, because I feel like a bad guest but I know, sadly, that their are millions in Canada, maybe billions of people around the world that had to go hungry and they don’t have the option. I pray that their hungry bellies will be satisfied. While being at other people’s houses I have been able to tell them why I am fasting and hopefully they join the cause for healing and reconciliation for the residential school survivors and their families.
– written by Jared Redekop, faster in Winnipeg