(Hannah’s Journey Across Canada/Facebook)

“Trauma may be passed down through the generations

Never forget Young Inuk, there are thousands of ancestors’

resilience and strength running thick through those veins”

These words were first spoken by Hannah Tooktoo, a 24-year-old Inuk artist from Kuujjuaq, QC, in a video posted to her Facebook page after four members of her Inuit community died of suicide in the winter of last year. 

While tragic, this event is not isolated. Suicide has become an epidemic in Inuit and indigneous communities across Canada, especially for those who reside in the north. 

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This trend triggered emotion and ambition in Hannah, prompting her to plan a cycling trip from Victoria to Montreal to raise awareness surrounding the suicide epidemic in Inuit and Indigneous communities. 

The trip began on June 16th when Tooktoo left from Victoria, B.C. She chose to start in the mountains, as she believes “that in order to reach smoother roads, one must work hard in the beginning.” 

She is doing her best to spread the message, ‘Anirnimi Kipisina,’ – ‘do not cut your life short’ – across the country. 

The final leg

On Thursday, August 8th, Tooktoo will be arriving in her hometown of Montreal, Quebec, where there will be a celebration. Cyclists are invited to travel the last 5 kilometres with Tooktoo and there will be a screening of a documentary on Hannah’s journey.

Prior to this trip, Hannah was no athlete, nor an experienced cyclist, and put this journey together after just one month of planning. 

See also: BC government creating new curriculum to bring more Indigenous perspectives into schools

Her determination and hard work have paid off, as she has raised $20,000 (out of her $25,000 goal) which will go towards organizing mental health resources and suicide prevention in her region. 

Tooktoo has been posting updates of her journey on her Facebook page. If you are interested in supporting Hannah’s journey, visit this page, where she often reaches out to communities for support and resources. 

Additionally, you can donate to her GoFundMe at gofundme.com/hannah039s-journey-across-canada

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