First Nations Expedition: Day 11 | Roller Coaster Ride and Star of the Day

Today, February 6th, the First Nations Expedition departed from Témiscaming towards Fort-Coulonge, covering approximately 340 km of riding. The conditions varied throughout the day: initially challenging, then becoming manageable, followed by good conditions, then mediocre, and finally challenging again. In short, it was a roller coaster ride. We arrived around 8:30 PM, but we lost some people along the way. Some had accidents, while others came in strapped behind other snowmobiles. Fatigue is also setting in. Nevertheless, I want to take the time to talk about my star of the day. I have chosen Carl Antoine Fontaine, an Innu native of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam.

Star of the Day : Carl Antoine Fontaine

There is much to say about this kind-hearted 48-year-old man. Firstly, he was raised by his paternal grandparents and now he is raising one of his grandchildren (Nickaynen). He is a father to several children. He left his role as an Indigenous police officer following tragic events related to his profession. Among them, the drowning of 6-year-old Kaylen left a deep mark on him.

carl antoine fontaine

He was the one who dove into the cold waters to search for him, unsuccessfully, on the first day. It was some members of his community who eventually found him the next day. This was certainly not thanks to the reinforcements from the Sûreté du Québec. He tells me that this police force is not quick to intervene when it comes to Indigenous people in distress. They were left to their own devices in the search for little Kaylen. It was community members who had to take out their boats with a grappling hook to eventually recover the body.

We’re not talking about an event that happened in the 1970s, but in 2017. I can’t believe that discrimination is still so prevalent against these human beings. This is just one example among many that I’ve heard since getting to know these individuals, and I believe they do not deserve all this discrimination.

Tomorrow, we depart for Maniwaki with 175 km to go for the First Nations Expedition.

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