A family support worker from Tsideldel (Alexis Creek) First Nation is walking from her community to Williams Lake this week to raise awareness about violence in First Nation communities. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

B.C. First Nations woman walking to stop the violence

Marilyn Charleyboy from Tsideldel (Alexis Creek) First Nation is walking to raise awareness about violence in First Nations communities.

A woman from Tsideldel (Alexis Creek) First Nation in B.C.’s Interior is walking 177 kilometres east to Williams Lake this week to raise awareness about violence in First Nations communities.

Marilyn Charleyboy told the Tribune she wants to make a difference for her children, grandchildren and her community.

It’s a very long story, she said.

“In 1996, one of my relatives was stabbed in our community and he died in my front yard. It was traumatic for me. He was 27. I was 27. I was very very affected by it.”

The stabbing occurred on Dec. 17 and Charleyboy said when the RCMP investigated to talk to people, “nobody would say anything, everybody just went hush hush about it.”

Read more: Chief urges communities to live violence free

Charleyboy is a family support worker in her community, and was a youth worker at the time of the stabbing death of Rhoddie Louise Marianne.

“I went into the school to see in case there was any debriefing that needed to be done because it was a huge trauma in our community,” she recalled. “The kids’ reaction was what really brought awareness to me, because they said things like ‘oh ya, somebody died, somebody got stabbed, whatever’ as if it was an everyday thing.”

From that incident on, she began to be more aware of how her community reacted to tragedies, children especially,

She was also in a domestic abusive relationship herself and almost killed, she said, and as she began to come to terms with it she realized how so much “centres around violence.”

“I began doing my own research, and with the jobs I’ve had in different places around the area, really focused my attention on violence and how it affects people.”

Having the opportunity to hear Dr. Gabor Maté and Dr. Martin Brokenleg speak at various conferences, also enforced the realization that domestic violence and all violence affects young people.

“It’s like a brain injury in the developmental years of a young child,” she said. “If they spend a long period of time being very afraid because violence is happening in the home, they are in that constant flight, fright or freeze function in that part of the brain. Then we wonder why they can’t learn in school.”

In 1998, she was invited to co-facilitate a workshop in Saskatchewan, and attended another workshop on intergenerational trauma.

“That really changed the course of my life, learning that not only do we carry our own traumas, but the traumas from our history as well. The fear our grandparents carried when their children were removed to go to residential school.”

Some children are focused only on being safe, she added.

“Being a family support worker I see that family violence and domestic violence and all those are the very reason why our children are being removed from our homes. I don’t think that people are aware of how huge that impact is on a person.”

Describing her own family background as “OK” with a “strong family,” she said there was still violence that she witnessed as a small child.

Five years ago she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has had to learn to function “normally.”

Read more: Bill C-211 on PTSD framework passes third reading in Senate

“All of that has brought me to this place in life where I finally have a sense of belonging and I know my own home is safe. I don’t have that fear anymore and it’s taken me this long to get to that place. I’m 48.”

Some nights she said she wakes up, knows there are parties in the community, and she wonders if the kids are safe and in warm, comfortable beds or are they hiding in fear?

“I want to see our communities get to a place without having to heal from their childhoods. They should just be free to be children. I have grandchildren and I am proud to say they haven’t had to witness any violence. That cycle was broken with me.”

Many things happened historically to First Nations that impacted them and their culture, Charleyboy said, noting her people should be beyond survival mode and thriving by now, but they are not.

“It’s because not enough people are standing up and speaking about these things,” she added.

On her walk, Charleyboy will be joined by people from communities along Highway 20.

“It started out as my personal mission to raise awareness because it seemed like everything I was meant to do led me to do it.”

She plans to walk about 30 kilometres a day and will go back home each night to sleep at her home in Tsideldel and estimates it will take her five days to do the walk and hopes to arrive in Williams Lake on Friday, Sept. 14.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Marilyn Charleyboy (centre) is walking from her community of Tsideldel (Alexis Creek) First Nation to Williams Lake to raise awareness about violence in First Nations communities. Here she is with her daughter Vanessa Brigham (left) and granddaughter Symphony Boston. Photo submitted

Just Posted

City of Port Alberni ponders future of uptown train station

Developer interest in heritage building prompts discussion on uptown revitalization

Join a food asset mapping focus group in Port Alberni

Learn about food mapping heritage in Port Alberni and Clayoquot Sound

Somass River sockeye fishery estimates cut in half

Local fisheries closed; poor ocean survival a prime suspect

‘Lightning’ hits Sproat Lake for annual regatta

Alberni Valley Regatta Association hosted sixth annual races

Port Alberni track and field athletes excel at BC championships

Pair brings home titles in javelin, hammer throw

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Most Read