Saturday, 14 March 2015

Walking Across Canada for Peace

Jesse-Blue Forrest
Jesse-Blue Forrest, Chair of the Toronto Department of Peace Initiative (DPI) chapter, came to Ottawa this week to announce his 5-month Peace Walk from Victoria, British Columbia to Ottawa in support of a Department of Peace.

Beginning May 1st, 2015, he will carry a DPI flag on a 5-foot pole and petitions to gather signatures across Canada. He intends to arrive in Ottawa in time for the launch of the 9th Annual Ottawa Peace Festival on September 21st, 2015.

His project is outlined on his website: Peace Walk for the Department of Peace Initiative. His preferred path is the Trans-Canada Highway, but the exact route will be made known later.

The Ottawa DPI Chapter will support his walk and will encourage people to wait for him at Victoria Island and walk together to Parliament Hill.

I spoke to Forrest and colleague Sandra Moon Dancer on March 10th during a 4-hour coffee meeting with other supporters and an evening meeting of the DPI Ottawa Chapter.

Ottawa Chapter DPI Meeting, March 10, 2015. Jesse-Blue Forrest
(2nd bottom row left) and Sandra Moon Dancer (2nd from top left).
During our conversation, I realized that we first met in in the mid-1990s in British Columbia when he visited the Doukhobors in Brilliant, nearby Japanese internment camps and Vietnam war resisters.

Jesse-Blue Forrest is a remarkable charismatic personality with an optimistic outlook on life and an abundance of confidence. He was born in 1948 to a Cherokee mother and a Celtic father in the USA. At the age of five, he and his twin sister were separated and sent to residential schools. Eventually he was raised by his Native grandparents. Because his best friend was Black, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of his home and burnt his friend’s barn.

At age 18 he clashed with the American military Draft which led him to choose a 50-year career for peace. In walking to abolish the Draft, Forrest was jailed for 18 months in solitary confinement. He read Lev N. Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You, which influenced Mahatma Gandhi. Now living in Canada, he has spent 26 years and countless dollars in legal fees to clear his name and regain the right to return to the United States.

In 2013, Forrest and Moon Dancer were invited to participate in the 83rd Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha anniversary (March 12 - April 6) retracing Gandhi’s independence “Salt March” in India. Moon Dancer is the youngest woman to have walked the Salt March, the only woman to have walked for a cause, calling for the right for women to live free from violence.

Later in 2013 (August 31-September 8) and in the summer of 2014 (July 25 - August 10), they were invited to Iceland to build medicine wheels, and hold ceremonies with the Four Winds International Peace Pipe, including a ceremony at Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower. They travelled around the island with a group of Canadians, connecting Canadians and Icelanders in ceremonies for Peace.

‘I am not against the government.’ Forrest told me, ‘but I choose to work cooperatively to change and improve society.’ Positive affirmation for cooperative peace, for him, is a powerful strategy to win friends and influence people. It’s all a matter of nonviolent intent and choice to start a national conversation about the role of DPI in creating a culture of peace in Canada.

With his visionary work for peace, a concrete design (the DPI), and the courage to get things done, Jesse-Blue Forrest presents an awesome opportunity for Canadians to reclaim their country as peacemakers. As he walks across the country, talking to people and planting 'peace trees', please join him in support of the Department of Peace Initiative. Your actions may save not only you, but your children, grandchildren, and many generations to come.

Contact Forrest by email, Skype or phone; Twitter. More on the Internet.

Donate to the FundRazr for Peace Walk for the Department of Peace Initiative, by Nathan Jesse-Blue Forrest. All donations will support various elements of the Walk, including: equipment, accommodations, Peace flag, flight to B.C., food and water, and other living expenses.

  • May 4, 2015, after careful consideration and numerous conversations with a team of advisors and lawyers, we have decided to postpone the PeaceWalk across Canada until Spring 2016. It has been advised that the PeaceWalk commence after observing the impact of Bill C-51 as well as the results of the upcoming Federal election. Plan for 2016:

       Phase One – Mar 12 to Sept 21, 2016 – Victoria BC to Ottawa ON.
       Phase Two – Mar 12 – Sep 21, 2017 – St. John’s, NF to Ottawa, ON.

    In this revised vision, the same points of action exist, including the planting of peace trees across Canada.

    Our current focus is to build up the Department of Peace, Toronto Chapter to generate widespread support for the walk and spread the word. We are working collaboratively with a fundraising and organizational consultant to set up the Toronto Chapter, including securing an advisory board, and registering the PeaceWalk. Please see the three attachments included in this email to see the organizational plan for the Toronto Chapter.
    Culture of Peace and Non-Violence,
    Jesse-Blue Forrest, PeaceWalker


  1. It was a great privilege to meet Jesse-Blue, and hear his vision for peace. I have shared his walk and website on our FB page, and will also share this article. Thank you Koozma!

    With peace,

  2. Blessed are the peacemakers. Good luck!

  3. John Woodsworth, Ottawa, ON16 March 2015 at 19:08

    Thanks for sharing this, Koozma. Most interesting!


  4. Dr. Ian Prattis, Ottawa, ON16 March 2015 at 19:11

    Hi Koozma, What a magnificent gesture. I wonder if we could ask him to give a short speech at the Friends for Peace Day – Saturday September 26 in City Hall.

    1. Jesse-Blue Forrest, Toronto, ON17 March 2015 at 13:52

      O'siyo Ian and Koozma,
      I would be honored to give a short speech:-- feel free to call me at any time.
      Culture of Peace and Nonviolence,
      Jesse-Blue Forrest, Peace Ambassador
      Toronto - Chair, Campaign to Establish a Canadian Department of Peace

  5. Gunter Schaarschmidt17 March 2015 at 12:15

    Thanks, Koozma, for the dates of Jesse-Blue's leaving and of arriving. I'll try to see him off at the Ferry Terminal here in Sidney, BC, before he embarks on this worthy endeavor.

  6. Sandra Moon Dancer, Toronto, ON18 March 2015 at 16:38

    Thank you both Koozma and Blue for your lifelong commitments to peace. I had a very special day last week. It is a moment I'll always remember, witnessing your remembrance of twenty years ago and the joy of two men of peace reuniting. I am honoured.
    With Infinite Love, Light and Peace,
    Sandra Moon Dancer
    Executive Director B.Sc., M.H.Sc.
    Centre of Circle Wisdom

  7. Hello Jesse-Blue Forrest,

    I was sent a notice by PeaceQuest Kingston members that you are leading a Peace Walk to Ottawa.

    I am the coordinator for PeaceQuest Victoria and would love to be part of the launch of the walk in Victoria. The Sisters of St. Ann, the leaders of PQ in Victoria, really like the idea of planting a tree.

    I am interested in joining the organizing committee for this event, or contribute where we can.

    Julie Cormier
    PeaceQuest Victoria Coordinator
    Sisters of St. Ann, Victoria BC

  8. Hi Koozma,

    We have PeaceQuest affiliates in a few cities now, and I forwarded to them the notice about the Peace Walkers.

    David Newman of Winnipeg has asked some specific questions so that they can be welcomed when they come to Winnipeg:

    Please advise what their needs and expectations are. Timing is critical to arrange things like accommodation and hospitality and speaking or dialoguing opportunities. Are all their expenses covered ? How many are there? What are their ages? What are their specific objectives?

    ​Could you please provide me with more information?

    We could put a notice on our website too.