Saturday, May 3, 2008

Longest Walk arrives in Missouri

Kansas City Mayor issues Longest Walk Proclamation

On the Longest Walk Northern Route, Sierra Club Representatives Support Walkers in Their Mission to Raise Awareness of Environmental Disharmony and the Need to Protect Sacred Sites

By Aisyln Colgan
Photo by Chris Teves
Longest Walk Northern Route

KANSAS CITY, MO- On Friday, May 2nd, more than 45 participants of the Longest Walk 2 gathered at the City Market in Downtown Kansas City with members of the Sierra Club and the local community, to raise awareness and call for action around local environmental and Native American issues.
The Longest Walk 2 began on February 11th in San Francisco and is stopping in communities all across Turtle Island to listen to Native peoples concerns, document and deliver them to US officials in Washington DC. This walk consists of Indigenous peoples from North, South, and Central America, as well as people from New Zealand and Asia. It is a spiritual and historic walk and Native Americans and their allies walk behind the banner, "All Life is Sacred; Save Mother Earth!”
Kansas City Mayor, Mark Funkhouser issued a proclamation declaring May, 2008 Longest Walk Month, and offered his support to fix the walker's bus which recently broke down.
Melissa Hope of the Sierra Club commended the work of the Longest Walkers carrying the message of the environmental disharmony this country is experiencing. She stated, “No community should bear a higher risk of harm because of their demographic or economic condition. The Sierra Club opposes efforts to dispossess indigenous people of their lands, their cultures, and their right to self determination.”
The Longest Walk 2 stopped in Kansas City after visiting Haskell Indian Nations University where they learned about the Haskell-Baker wetlands, a Sacred Area under threat of destruction by the construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway.
The walkers will take 10 days to cross Missouri, stopping to hear community's concerns along the way. The walk will arrive in Washington, D.C. on July 11, 2008, where walkers will bring their concerns to the Federal Government as well as hold a Cultural Survival Summit to bring attention to the issues of environmental injustice, protection of sacred sites, cultural survival, youth empowerment, and eroding Native American rights the Longest Walk 2 has encountered along the route.

The 2008 Longest Walk marks the 30th anniversary of the original Longest Walk of 1978 that resulted in historic changes for Native America. In July of 1978, thousands converged on the Nations’ capitol to oppose and successfully defeat 11 pieces of legislation in Congress that would have terminated many significant treaties between the federal government and tribes nation wide. Largely due to the impact of the walk and the hard work of many Native American activists, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978 was passed one month after the walk arrived in D.C. AIRFA states that it is ‘the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian”
Aislyn Colgan 831 295-2555

Longest Walk Southern Route in Oklahoma
By Brenda Golden
Oklahoma City -- The Longest Walk 2 Southern Route is organized and led by American Indian Movement co-founder Dennis J. Banks, elders and original 1978 Walkers. Eighty to one hundred of these walkers will be traveling by foot across Oklahoma from May 3 to May 13 on their way to Washington DC from San Francisco, California.
Walkers include American Indian tribal members from all over the nation, and many International participants. The Nipponzan Miyohoji Buddhists from Japan have been walking with The Longest Walk 2 - Southern Route and will continue to through Oklahoma.
Communities in Oklahoma welcoming the Longest Walk 2-Southern Route are: May 3rd in Canton, May 5th in Kingfisher, May 6th in Perkins, May 6th in Tulsa, May 9th Tahlequah, May 10th Vian/Sallisaw, May 11 in Poteau, May 12th in Octavia and May 13th in Broken Bow.
A benefit dance for Dennis Banks and Don Hatch was held at the Watonga Cheyenne & Arapaho Community Center on Saturday, May 3 with ground dancing at 2:00 pm, Supper at 4:00 pm with dancing to follow. Viola Hatch, children and grandchildren are sponsors of the Benefit Dance Honoring Dan Hatch and Dennis Banks. Contacts: Ms. Viola Hatch at (580) 886-3472.
The purpose of the Southern route is to continue and carry the message from the Longest Walk of 1978: "The Longest Walk is an Indian spiritual walk, a historical walk; and it is a walk for educational awareness to the American and the world communities about the concerns of American Indian people." The Longest Walk 2 is walking to create awareness about the environment. They are walking to protect sacred sites in our country and to promote positive change in our world.
The Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism (TICAR) is pleased to support and welcome The Longest Walk in Tulsa on May 7 and 8th. The Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Traditions (SPIRIT) is also pleased to offer support for the Longest Walk II while they are in Oklahoma.
For more information about the Longest Walk Southern Route, contact Michael Rojas at (510) 338-8694 and Larry BringingGood at (209) 242-1162 and on the web at:

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