Community strides out vs. domestic violence

IN STEP–with one another and the cause, participants in Saturday’s Chelsey LaFernier Memorial Walk start their trek to the KBOCC. The event is hosted by the KBIC, and supported by a U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women grant.

by Nancy Besonen

For the eighth time since Chelsey LaFernier’s tragic death in January, 2009, her community united to strike a blow vs. domestic violence. The Chelsey LaFernier Memorial Walk has been held each fall since the young Baraga woman became yet another victim of domestic violence. Hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) at its Ojibwa Community College KBOCC), it is open to all. Participants Saturday gathered at the corner of Lyons and McGillan streets in Baraga for the start of the walk at 2 p.m. Ranging in age from elders to toddlers, they first formed a circle, then .LaFernier’s sister, Lily Marcotte, stepped inside it to honor Chelsey’s memory. A Tobacco Ceremony led by Debra Williamson followed, then the crowd struck out for the KBOCC. Upon their arrival they were welcomed by KBIC President Chris Swartz and a poem and balloon release by Chelsey’s daughter, Alexxus DeCota. LaFernier’s three sisters, Marcotte, Betsy Leinonen and Amber Weigel, followed with a presentation from the heart. KBIC Department of Violence Against Women Director Cherie Dakota said their message was primarily one of love. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.