Annual Mary John Walk July 1st

Mary John. Photo submitted

What a beautiful way to start Canada Day this year! At 6:30am this morning 35 walkers, 4 runners and 1 cyclist gathered to listen to Craig Hooper read an excerpt from Bridget Moran’s book, Stoney Creek Woman, and then follow Mary John’s footsteps, the creek’s 14km stretch, between Saik’uz G&F Market and the Vanderhoof Community Museum. Participants caught the bus at the Museum at 6:15 and owner/driver Harold Giesbrecht provided a bus ride up to the start. Making it quite convenient to take time in the morning to enjoy nature and recognize Mary John’s remarkable contribution to society.

Waking early this bright morning to walk/run/bike leisurely towards a pancake breakfast at the Museum site is nothing compared to the same distance to get to her work at St John Hospital in town, sometimes taking Mary John 4 hours in harsh winter sheer ice conditions. Over the years many reserve residents have had to do the same. From July 10, 2017 this will no longer be necessary with the start of a free, four-round-trip weekday Vanderhoof &Saik’uz Community Transportation shuttle bus service.

Mary John, who passed away in 2004, is remembered as a residential school survivor, a selfless, compassionate leader, a strong and resilient woman with a heart to love and serve people. She truly is an inspiration for all.

Her life as a Carrier Native is a “capsule history of First Nations life”. The description of Moran’s biography on her life explains that Mary, mother of twelve, “endured much tragedy and heartbreak – the pangs of racism, poverty, and the deaths of six children – but lived her life with extraordinary grace and courage. Years after her death, she continues to be a positive role model for Indigenous people across Canada. In 1997 she received the Order of Canada.”What a beautiful way to start Canada Day this year! At 6:30am this morning 35 walkers, 4 runners and 1 cyclist gathered to listen to Craig Hooper read an excerpt from Bridget Moran’s book, Stoney Creek Woman, and then follow Mary John’s footsteps, the creek’s 14km stretch, between Saik’uz G&F Market and the Vanderhoof Community Museum. Participants caught the bus at the Museum at 6:15 and owner/driver Harold Giesbrecht provided a bus ride up to the start. Making it quite convenient to take time in the morning to enjoy nature and recognize Mary John’s remarkable contribution to society.

Waking early this bright morning to walk/run/bike leisurely towards a pancake breakfast at the Museum site is nothing compared to the same distance to get to her work at St John Hospital in town, sometimes taking Mary John 4 hours in harsh winter sheer ice conditions. Over the years many reserve residents have had to do the same. From July 10, 2017 this will no longer be necessary with the start of a free, four-round-trip weekday Vanderhoof &Saik’uz Community Transportation shuttle bus service.

Mary John, who passed away in 2004, is remembered as a residential school survivor, a selfless, compassionate leader, a strong and resilient woman with a heart to love and serve people. She truly is an inspiration for all.

Her life as a Carrier Native is a “capsule history of First Nations life”. The description of Moran’s biography on her life explains that Mary, mother of twelve, “endured much tragedy and heartbreak – the pangs of racism, poverty, and the deaths of six children – but lived her life with extraordinary grace and courage. Years after her death, she continues to be a positive role model for Indigenous people across Canada. In 1997 she received the Order of Canada.”

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