Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Longest Walk 2– A SPIRITUAL WALK FOR SURVIVAL FROM ALCATRAZ to D.C. CROSSES COLORADO STATE LINE/ ARRIVES IN FRUITA MARCH 14th
FRUITA, CO- On February 11, 2008 Longest Walk 2 participants embarked on a five month journey from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. The Longest Walk 2 is a grassroots effort on a national level to bring attention to the environmental disharmony of Mother Earth and the effects of environmental destruction on Native American people; as well as the need for the protection and preservation of Sacred Sites as a means for cultural survival. It is a spiritual and historic walk and Native Americans and their allies from across the nation and worldwide walk behind the banner, “All Life is Sacred; Save Mother Earth”. Northern route walkers carry this mission with them as well: “Renewing the Spirit by Walking in the Footsteps of our Ancestors”, as they cover the original route walked 30 years ago in the first Longest Walk. A southern route is walking simultaneously, with both routes covering over 8000 miles on foot.
On March 14th the walkers will arrive in Fruita, Colorado and reach Grand Junction March 15th to a welcoming community of local progressive groups and individuals that support the group’s mission, such as the Uncompahgre Unitarians and Grand Valley Peace and Justice. On the Western slope they will also be supported by the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, and many Ute Mountain Ute individuals, and native and non-native supporters,
They will be visiting communities along Highway 50 across Colorado sharing their message about issues impacting our world environment, protection of Sacred Sites and the need to care for Mother Earth. The walkers invite communities to share their stories of the issues they are facing, such as the 13 plus sacred sites Native American activists are fighting to protect in lower Colorado and the case of the Leadville super fund site being watched for leakage threatening the town’s entire aquifer. These and other issues will be brought to the capital upon arrival in D.C.
A special memorial will be held April 5th for the ancestors of the Sand Creek Massacre and their descendants, whom inhabited this region until the “Indian Wars” brought the 1864 ambush on already surrendered Cheyenne and Arapahoe peoples as they camped on their journey to Oklahoma reservations.
The Longest Walk 2 is also a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the 1978 Longest Walk, which resulted in historic changes for Native America. The original Longest Walk was conducted in response to proposed legislation in Congress abrogating Native American Treaties that protected Native American sovereignty. In July 1978 walkers arrived in D.C. with 30,000 supporters and the 11 bills were defeated, and the way was paved for the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978. As a result of The 1978 Longest Walk, Indigenous people were granted the federal legislative right to freedom of religion, a fundamental right guaranteed to all Americans under the U.S. Constitution.
Today many places sacred to Native Americans are threatened with development and desecration. Native Americans across the country continue to resist environmental devastation in their communities.
"As Indigenous Peoples in the United States our environment and our cultural survival are directly correlated and are still imperiled today. This is why we must walk once again,” states Jimbo Simmons of the International Indian Treaty Council and coordinator for The Longest Walk 2’s Northern Route.
For more information about the walk including itinerary visit www.longestwalk.org.