That’s the one word used over and over and over again to describe 12-year-old Landyn Toney and what he’s doing to bring awareness Canada’s residential schools, while at the same time raising money.
Landyn’s great-grandmother was a survivor of the residential school in Shubenacadie, which operated between 1930 and 1967. A search for remains at the property started last year. To date 30 per cent of the land has been scanned with no findings that stand out, Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack said.
The more than 157-kilometre journey began outside Truro and has travelled along Highway 102 to St. Croix, where the journey stopped for the night July 4. They have two days left before the journey will finish up on July 6 at his home community, the Annapolis Valley First Nation.
“I’m doing the walk for my Elders, but also to spread awareness of all the kids that didn’t make it from the Residential Schools,” said Landyn. “I’ve talked to some of the survivors, and they loved what I’m doing.”
As he passed through East Hants on July 2, the posts on community Facebook pages ramped up from community members watching and reporting on the progress and where Landyn was so others could come cheer him on or join him. There were many honks along Hwy 102 in Elmsdale and in Enfield near the weigh scales.
“I love when people honk,” he said. “That gives me more motivation for the walk. My feet were hurting but I tried not to pay attention to that. The honking got my mind off that.”
What does he think about people saying he’s an inspiration to them?
“I went from a kid that wasn’t famous and nobody knew, now I’m world-wide famous,” said Landyn. “It just hit me so fast.”
In fact, just near Milford on day two of the walk, Keith Julian and LeaAnn Julian joined Landyn and his team, which had already included several locals, including Katelyn McGinley.
East Hants RCMP also joined in with a couple of officers escorting the team of supporters as they walked along the busy Highway 102 from Milford on the shoulder.
At the Elmsdale exit, Karen Parker was one of those who joined Landyn who heard the cheers of people on the overpass between the Sobeys and Superstore cheering him on.
McGinley, of Milford, walked with Landyn and his team for a total of 26 kilometres—or 37,780 steps.
“I learned so much about the history of residential schools, and about the culture of this young man’s family,” she said in an interview with The Laker News.
“He taught me about drumming, eagle feathers and why awareness is so important. I feel very blessed to have been apart of his walk.”
As a weary Landyn arrived after a long day of walking–on his birthday nonetheless–in the damp and rain at the Enfield Irving Big Stop, he passed a special present was left at a lamp post from the ladies at the Enfield Post Office. It was brought inside to the Big Stop, who covered the meal for him and his team. He commented on what seeing the Teddy Bear meant to him.
“That made me happy,” he said. “I really liked that.
“Thank you to everybody for supporting me. It’s a big help.”
On July 3, Hants East NDP Candidate Abby Cameron; PC Candidate John A. MacDonald; and Liberal candidate Michael Blois joined Landyn and his supporters to walk a bit.
Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation Band Council, led by Chief Mike Sack was also there.
Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois is scheduled to meet up with Landyn on July 5 and walk a little with him.
People can donate to Landyn’s Journey of Awareness at: https://gofund.me/5c1673d8.
The original goal of $10,000 has been surpassed so a mini group, including Landyn and his mom, will be formed to decide where to spend the money based on recommendations from both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous groups.
One thing is for sure, Landyn’s journey has touched hundreds if not thousands during his first four days and that can only mean he’s leaving an impression on them, while supporting survivors of Residential Schools. #EveryChildMatters