12 year old Mi’kmaw boy reaches out to communities for help to distribute donations

Landyn Toney walked 200 km to raise awareness for residential schools.

It was just a month ago that 12 year old Landyn Toney from Annapolis Valley First Nation wrapped up his 200 km walk to raise awareness for residential schools.

He’s looking for help on how to spend the nearly $50,000 that was donated and carry on his journey.

“My mom mainly runs the surveys and stuff,” says Toney. “She helps me out with that as I’m doing kids stuff with my friends.”

Toney’s mother Marsha McClellan says there are a few decisions to make.

“We were kind of put in a position where we were stuck, we wanted to you know, we have money raised and we want it to go to the right spots to further awareness and education,” she said.

McClellan said hundreds of people have reached out with suggestions.

That’s when they developed a survey to collect responses and determine how the donations should be spent.

“We want to hear from everybody, Indigenous and non-Indigenous so, to get an idea of where lacking as a whole so the surveys are basically going to give us meaningful data to really steer us in the right direction,” she said.

Mi'kmaq boy
Landyn’s mother Marsha is sending out surveys asking how people think the money should be spent. Photo: Angel Moore/APTN.

There are few different ideas on how to spend the money.

“They should get new houses in the community,” said Cayden McNutt.

“Maybe they should make a vaccine centre,” Cashis McNutt added.

Mi'kmaq boy
Cayden and Cashis McNutt have a couple of ideas of how the money could be spent. Photo: Angel Moore/APTN.

Sydney Peters, chief of Glooscap First Nation welcomed Landyn.

“One of the things that Landyn has done through his walk and through his family is brought a lot of our First Nations together, not only First Nations but non-natives as well and I think that was important and that was something that we really needed as a nation,” he said.

McCellan hopes youth fill out the survey which asking people about access to Elders and Knowledge Keepers and different community needs.

She said the survey will target different age groups and communities.

In the meantime, more community events are being planned.

“You observe the survivors during the walk, or some of the events that we put on and they’re shining you know, that’s helping them heal in my opinion,” said McClellan.

She said a walk is being planned next summer that will cover 400 km and hit communities in Cape Breton in eastern Nova Scotia.

Video Journalist / Halifax

Angel Moore is a proud Cree from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. Angel grew up in Winnipeg and has a Journalism degree from the University of King’s College. She also has a degree from Dalhousie University in International Development Studies and Environmental Sustainability. Angel joined APTN News in June 2018 as the correspondent in the Halifax bureau and covers Atlantic Canada.