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Native Americans hold healing walk in Billings

Posted at 4:47 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 18:47:16-04

BILLINGS — Over 100 people gathered in the streets of downtown Billings on Friday for a healing walk where they remembered, grieved, and tried to move forward from the tragedies that Native Americans faced at boarding schools across the nation.

“Today, I'm affected by it, my son is affected by it, and we just want to push that narrative of healing. Healing from these atrocities, not hanging onto them, not letting them fester,” said Josiah Hugs, one of the event coordinators.

Along with the healing walk, some special guests also sang prayer songs over the crowd.

The remains of thousands of Native American children continue to be found in unmarked graves near boarding schools throughout the United States and Canada, which prompted the need for the event.

“I personally didn’t know much about it growing up and being Native American. We don’t really like to speak about trauma and stuff like this, so I think it’s good that we have an event to talk about it, recognize it, and bring attention to hopefully other people and the media,” said Jason Fisher, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Hug says that bringing attention to the problem doesn’t get rid of it, but it does create an opportunity for growth, and healing.

“I just think it’s really important to keep the conversation going. I just feel like it’s been swept under the rug, there's not really that much people talking about it anymore and I just think it’s important that we not only acknowledge it, but also that we move forward,” said Marlin Cloud, a member of the Crow Tribe.

Hugs said they may need to hold more healing walks in the future as remains continue to be found.