Prattans to join in new Longest Walk

By Gale Rose,, Pratt Tribune, April 11, 2008

Like their ancestors did for centuries, a group of Native Americans is walking to their destination. Only this walk is longer than most tribes ever had to travel, over 4,400 miles, and part of those miles
will go through Pratt.

The Longest Walk 2 is a group of Native Americans walking from Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco to Washington D.C. to commemorate the 30 year anniversary of the first Longest Walk in 1978.

The original Longest Walk in 1978 was a response to 11 legislative bills in Congress that would revoke native treaties the protected native sovereignty, according to the Longest Walk web site.

The original walk was along U.S. 54 and passed through Pratt. Among those walkers was Larry Foster, a Navajo and father of Prattan Nanabah Foster and her 4-year-old daughter Kaya ManyHawks. Larry is also among the walkers on the Longest Walk 2 south route. Nanabah is flying her father in to join her and Kaya on the north route for the portion of the walk that goes through Pratt. Nanabah is proud of her Navajo heritage being able to participate in the walk.

"For me to be able to do this is like rewinding time," Foster said. "We'll sing the same songs and pray the same prayers they did years ago."

Nanabah, whose name means "She Goes to War and Come Home with Victory," will walk from Greensburg to Wichita while Kaya will walk four miles. Larry Foster

The walkers number about 40 and will be in Pratt on Monday, April 14. They will stay at the Liberty Middle School Gymnasium and have supper at the First Southern Baptist Church, said Carla Washington, who is organizing the meal and whose husband William is Shoshone.

"I'm glad to do it and to be able to help out," Washington said.

The Foster family is very politically active and Nanabah is proud of the role her father played in the original walk to save Native American rights. He was very active in the American Indian movement in the 60s and 70s.

"I grew up hearing stories of what my dad did politically," Foster said. "He was able to participate in the walk and change things."

The original walk arrived in Washington D.C. on July 15, 1978 and with the help of hundreds of supporters including Mohammed Ali, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Marlon Brando, those bills were defeated and Native American treaties remained protected, the web site said.

The Longest Walk 2 honors the first walk and also brings attention to Native American issues including protecting sacred sites and cleaning up Mother Earth, Nanabah said.

Her uncle, Lennie Foster, is an activist and a member of the United Nations. The family is from the Navajo Reservation in northeast Arizona. The reservation is considered sovereign so they have voting rights in the U.N., Nanabah said.

Her grandfather, Harold Foster, was a code talker during World War II. The Code Talkers were a group of Navajos that quickly sent messages in their native language rather than use the much slower Morse Code. Foster received a silver Congressional Medal of Honor for his service,
Nanabah said.

The walkers will also go through Greensburg and deliver blessings. The event will be filmed by the Discovery Channel as part of their on-going documentary of the Greensburg tornado destruction and recovery.

For more information about the Longest Walk 2 visit the web site at:



Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.