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Team Profile: YK Walking with Our Sisters

When did you start participating in the Walking Challenge program and what made you want to participate initially?

I will speak about the YK Walking with Our Sisters team rather than me individually. The YK Walking with Our Sisters team was formed in 2016 following the 2015 Walking with Our Sisters commemoration in Yellowknife. Hanna Catholique started the team. The walking team was a way to keep volunteers who worked on the commemoration connected, a way to relieve the stress and heaviness of remembering all the lives cut short, all the murdered and missing, and a way to help keep each other safe.

Moccasin uppers made in the NWT and part of the Walking with Our Sisters commemoration.

What has motivated you to continue to participate over the years? 

I have been walking with the team since it began. Hanna Catholique coordinated the team while she was living in Yellowknife. When she moved back to Lutsel k’e, I took over coordinating (aka team captain) and have been doing that for the last 4 years.  

What is your favourite part of walking? 

The YK Walking with Our Sisters team is an amazing group of people who are committed to the original intent and spirit of the team and walking for their own health and well-being and that of others. Five individuals who were part of the original team continue to walk with the team today. As team captain, it is rewarding to hear team members talking about the health benefits of walking, the sense of community from being part of a team, the social nature of our group walks, and the opportunities to meet new people and connect with old friends.    

Have you ever encountered anything special on your walk? Do you have a vivid memory of one of your walks, let us know what it was! 

Every year YK Walking with Our Sisters walks to the Back Bay Ice Caves. It is such a beautiful spot. Every year we remark on the effects of climate change so evident in this area.

Why do you think people should participate in this event? 

There are so many reasons to participate in the Walking Challenge but health and well-being, social connections, and community are the main reasons. Contributing to a team effort is also a reason to participate as is evident by these walkers coming out on a -35C day to walk the Bristol Monument Canada Trail!

Anything else? We would love to know what’s on your mind!

The Walking Challenge is not a competitive event. But there are people who want to know the team’s standing. Sharing this information is part of the team captain’s role along with connecting team members. YK Walking with Our Sisters members appreciate weekly emails giving status reports (e.g., we are almost to Tulita; we have just started our trek back from Tuk; we are #3 in standing, etc.); information on upcoming events (e.g., NWTRPA activities or group walks); and reminders to submit times/distances for the week.  The team prefers one person to collect and enter times/distances, and to provide feedback on the collective time/distance covered.