On the road again. And again
Robin Edgar Haworth, the Penticton Indian Band’s travelling artist, recently left on his annual summer walking tour.
Haworth, with best friend and companion Koda, the Australian shepherd, are on a journey that will eventually take them along the infamous 720-kilometre corridor of Highway 16 called the Highway of Tears.
That section of road received the name from a series of murders and disappearances of between 16 and more than 40 Indigenous women.
Haworth attempted the trek last year, however wildfires and smoke forced him to cut short his trip.
“We’re not doing it for any kind of personal recognition we just love to walk and it’s always in memory of the ones who can’t walk anymore, the murdered and the missing they’re always on my mind,” said Haworth by cell phone just after breaking camp north of Kelowna. “I know I will feel their spirits, I know a couple of them and they’re never far away.”
In 2015 he did a 4,500-kilometre Right the Wrong trek from Penticton to Ottawa to draw attention to those missing and murdered women.
“My sister is one of those people, she’s not missing she was murdered back in the early 70s in Vancouver,” said Haworth. “It was just another case of a dead Indian found on the street, it wasn’t even investigated.”
The initial part of his journey, which he expects complete sometime in September, is to Vancouver Island including the archipelago of Haida Gwaii also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, before returning to the mainland and the Highway of Tears and then home.
Walking continues to be Haworth’s passion and the long journey’s he makes with Koda each year are what he lives for.
“When you’re walking along the road and you’ve got no radio on no phone on it’s just you and your dog and it’s peaceful, your mind goes to a place where you can really do a lot of self searching and healing. We all have the little things in the back of our minds that we have to deal with.”
Just over a week in, so far he Koda has not had any unusual experiences, other than one at the Penticton Home Hardware store just before he left.
He had been telling some of the staff there about his trip and a customer overheard the conversation.
“The lady said: ‘oh, you’re going walking, can I give you any money?’ and I said no and she said: ‘Aren’t you walking because you’re poor?’ and I said ‘no, I’m walking because I love walking,’” Haworth recalled with a laugh. “And right after that another lady came up to me and said; ‘You’re walking to Haida Gwaii, can I give you some money for your efforts,’ and I said ‘no ma’am, we’re good.’”
One part of the journey he is especially looking forward to is in the summer when his daughter Lee Denis will join him from her current home in Perth, Scotland after battling cancer.
“That will be great, I haven’t seen her for a long time,” he said.
And when asked just how much distance he plans to cover on his current adventure, in true Haworth fashion he replied: “I have no idea. What’s that old adage, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey and what you learn along the way.”
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