Drums were pounded and flags and banners waved in a brisk June wind as people marched down Regina streets.
The 2017 North Central Smudge Walk took place Friday in Regina.
Hundreds of people gathered, including the mayor and chief of police, at the Dewdney pool to take part in the event.
Smudging is meant to help cleanse the body and help heal in First Nations culture.
Rachel Janze has lived in the area for about nine years and has taken part in the walk five times. She said the neighbourhood has a bad reputation among people who don’t live in it.
“I think my neighbours are real, they share each other’s challenges and we share each other’s positive energy as well,” Janze said.
— Britton Gray (@BrittonGray) June 9, 2017
The smudge walk began about 10 years ago in response to the Maclean’s magazine article dubbing it the worst neighbourhood in all of Canada.
“Ever since then I think the community’s been coming together to get that reputation away,” said Skyler Anderson, who has lived in Regina his whole life.
Anderson works for the North Central Community Association, and he goes around helping clean up the alleyways and streets to ensure they are safe.
“When that article came out, it really put a dampener on everybody and kind brought us down but the smudge walk itself, it’s the biggest thing that’s pulling us back up.”
Another member of the community who has been helping make a difference is Shawna Oochoo.
Oochoo is the president of the White Pony Lodge, who do neighbourhood patrols for safety. She marched to show support for the community and the positive steps it has been taking.
“There’s a lot of good things that are happening and hopefully that’s minimizing some of the stereotypes that are placed upon our community.