Thursday, February 28, 2008

Support for Longest Walk from Big Mountain

Yaa'at'eeh Sh' Dine'eh,
(Good Greetings My Relatives)

In the late 70s not long after Wounded Knee 1973 and the capture of political prisoner Leonard Peltier, Indigenous nations of Turtle Island (western hemisphere) came together to do a spiritual walk across the US from San Francisco to Washington D.C. The 1978 Longest Walk was to bring attention to eleven, anti-Indian legislation that were about to go before the US Congress. These legislations were supported by racist, white organizations and their elected representatives. Legislations were intented to carry out numerous aspects of racism and inhumanities like abolishing all Indian treaties and the sterlization of Indian women.

The traditional Dineh elders at Big Mountain in 1978 were resisting federal relocation laws being enforced in the name of Peabody coal companies. Despite their full time resistance movement at home, they decided to support the 1978 Walk. They had one local volunteer who decided to walk all the way to educate other Indian nations and to bring attention to the injustices occuring on Black Mesa. A medicine man conducted a ceremony for the 78 Walk and gave the volunteer walker a sacred bundle with instructions to offer it to the sacred (Colorado) River before the Walk crossed it.

A few elders came to Richfield, Utah to show their support and solidarity for the Walk of 1978. About a week after the first Big Mountain delegate visited to the 1978 Walk, indigenous spiritual leaders of the Walk and a few walkers came to the river's bank outside of Fruita, Colorado to offer the Dineh bundle's contents. Corn pollen were offered in prayer and the sacred stone offerings were gently dispensed on the water's edge. The Longest Walk of 1978 then proceeded across the bridge over the sacred (Colorado) River. This spiritual walk was becoming stronger with more walkers joining, more awareness that there were still Indians in the U.S., and a busload of Dineh walkers showed up soon after the Walk crossed the Colorado River. The early spring snow storms was harsh as the Walk approached the Backbone of the Turtle Island (The Rockies), and the prayers of the peoples' Walk were only getting stronger, too.

The Big Mountain delegation returned, again, with more of its community members to Pueblo, Colorado where the 78 Walk had a one week rest. The Dineh visit also brought with them their local medicine man and he gathered some Dineh youth walkers to hold a special ceremony to make a staff for the Walk. This Dineh visit also brought the much needed traditional foods like corn meals and fresh mutton. Since the Wounded Knee battle of 1973 (WK 73), the traditional Dineh's solidarity with all Red (Indian) Nations at the Pueblo, CO meeting had re-enforced the continuing alliances of WK 73.

Today and 30 years later, some remaining Dineh resisters and their relatives at Big Mountain wish to show their support again. The targeted date for joining the walkers will be when the northern route of Longest Walk II reach Pueblo, CO. There are other efforts being made to support the two Walks of 2008, southern & northern routes, but for many of you who know about the Big Mountain struggle know that we are a very poor country and that we rely on outside resources to initiate our actions. This time I, Kat-the-Bahe, wish to find possible means to make this commemorative effort possible, again.

Or if you are on the Rez and know of others wishing to visit the northern route at Pueblo, CO., feel free to contact me. My Rez List does not even exist so please forward this to the rest of our Rez families. Perhaps, we can all share resources in order to avoid the high gas prices instituted by U.S. oil companies and to share the efforts in transport. This would be so unique to accomplish such a commemoration and to give the northern route a big boost for their strength and for their prayers that will get them to D.C.

It is very crucial that we communicate and acknowledge one another as the way our ancestors have done throughout the ages. With that and together, we can let all other indigenous and non-native communities know that we are still proud of our ancient beliefs and existence. The northern route as you may know is following the original route of 1978 and as we speak, these walkers' footsteps and prayers are crossing those same rivers, same valleys, same mountain ranges and the same grasslands. The decendents of all our Relations: the Winged People, Peoples of the Water, Four Legged Peoples, Those that Crawled on the Soils, and the Ancestors' Spirits will all know, again, that We have not forgotten them nor have we forgotten our efforts to survive with our coming generations.

Contrary to the times of 1978, our environment is more polluted, our ancient sacred places are evermore desecrated, our wise chiefs and medicine people are nearly gone, our understanding of our human self has become less, and our communications with all our relationships, nature and universe, are more severed. Join the Big Mountain Dineh in bringing not only support but a message of great hope that Mother Earth and Father Sky will have pity on us, for that we will retreive our human identities and begin to recount the proper ceremonies of the human races.

The Longest Walk of 1978 has inscripted its legacies in the indigenous histories, and countless memories and wisdom were born from that era and those events. These legacies are still the driving force of many resistance movements and teachings of today's Native struggles. The Longest Walk of 1978 open the doorway for the Big Mountain traditional and sovereign movement to the world. If it weren't for the Longest Walk of 1978, Big Mountain would have never: joined the Dineh alliances for liberation, created community resource camps, formed alliances with non-Indian environmental groups, and established the seed for the Sun Dances of Dineh country.

Thank you so much for listening.

In the Spirit of Chief Barboncito,

Kat (the Bahe)

Big Mountain Dine'eh

Sheep Dog Nation Rocks 2008

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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