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Runners To Remind PM Of Indian Treaty Rights

Miriam McNab

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1980      v10 n04 p37  
Runners remind PM of Treaty Rights Twelve young men from the Blackfoot Nation in Alberta are running a marathon from there, carrying a parfleche bundle, to Ottawa.

The message they are relaying to Prime Minister Trudeau is that Treaties and Land Claims are the most critical and important issues to Indian people of Canada, but commitments made by the Crown to honour them have not been kept.

The runners hope to draw national attention to this fact and also to the Blood land claim of 170 square miles of land near Cardston, Alberta.

THE RUN, which stands for “Treaties Honoured Entirely; Reservations Under Natives”, began on Good Friday, April 4, 1980 from Blackfoot Crossing, 70 kilometers east of Calgary.

They hope to reach Ottawa in time for the National All Chiefs Conference there at the end of April.

One of the organizers of THE RUN is Leroy Littlebear, a Blood Indian lawyer from the University of Lethbridge. He will rejoin the run in Manitoba.

The boys take turns carrying the bundle, which contains legal documents outlining their claim, for a mile or a half mile each.

On Wednesday April 9 many were sore and tired and they were down to three runners when three young men from Regina went out to help them into town. Gerald McMaster, Robert Walker and Alvin Worme all went and took their turns carrying the bundle.

The group arrived in Regina at 3:30 pm where they were given a warm welcome and supper of soup and bannock at the Regina Friendship Centre.

After supper, they were officially welcomed to Regina, firstly by Alderman and Deputy Mayor, Ted Cholod; then by Albert Robillard, Board Member of the Regina Friendship Centre, who gave them encouragement and praise for their efforts in helping not only themselves, but all Indians in gaining recognition of their grievances.

Simon DeJong MP for Regina East, was there to welcome the runners to his constituency and wish them well for the remainder of the trip.

Lorna Standingready, as president of the FSI Regina Local, welcomed them here on behalf of all Treaty Indians in this city. Lorna also presented them with a cash donation, collected that afternoon.

Doug Cuthand, First VP of the FSI, welcomed the runners on behalf of the 68 Indian Bands in the Province. Doug entrusted them with copies of our Treaty handbook to carry with them to Ottawa.

Although they prefer to camp outside along the way, closed and flooded campgrounds made it necessary for them to spend Thursday night at the Friendship Centre, where they were able to rest up and see themselves on the news.

The Blood Indians this past month collected $2,000 each from the sale of petroleum rights on their reserve and many of these young men are using their own share of the money to help finance the trip.

Floyd Heavyrunner, spiritual advisor and mentor to the group, informed us there will be a special celebration when the boys return to Alberta in May. Everyone who helped out along the way is invited to attend.

Sheldon Firstrider, one of the runners, commented on his feelings regarding THE RUN. He said the Crown signed Treaties with the Indians under God and under God they are reminding them of their unfulfilled promises.

With Spiritual Guidance, they have already run hundreds of miles and we in Regina pray that they continue to receive strength and guidance throughout the remaining thousand miles or more.

-MIRIAM McNAB