Longest Walk 2 begins trek across U.S.

By Brenda Norrell, Special to the Navajo Times, FEBRUARY 14, 2008

RUMSEY RANCHERIA, Calif. - The Longest Walk 2 was launched as several hundred walkers began their journey across the continent here in the oak trees and green rolling hills in California on Feb. 12.

Walkers were led by American Indian Movement c-founder Dennis Banks and Chairman Marshall McKay and council members of the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians.

The walkers arrived from tribes across the United States and several countries - including Japan, Israel, Poland, England, Mexico, Peru, Sweden and Australia.

They walked to the steady drumbeat of a delegation of Buddhists Monks which kept the group in step with the tempo of Mother Earth.

Later the same day, Banks gathered with California leaders and spoke out for the protection of Mother Earth on the steps of the California capitol.

"We will always remember who we are. We will never forget our duties, we won't forget that, America. We will never forget. We are coming to you, America, and we have always had the answers," Banks said during the press conference.

The Longest Walk 2 events began with a sunrise ceremony on Alcatraz on Feb. 11. Six hundred people crossed on the ferries before first light. During the prayers and blessings, a chorus of seagulls above joined Miwok dancers offering a prayer to greet the sun.

Klee Benally and Lenny Foster, both Navajo, offered prayers on Alcatraz.

Later, in an interview with Navajo Times, Benally said, "I'm supporting and participating in the Longest Walk because of the message that 'All Life is Sacred," and protecting sacred sites is not just a message.

The Longest Walk is continuing today because the threats against our lands, our culture and our lives, also continues."

Benally said part of the message is to protect sacred sites such as the San Francisco Peaks.

Benally said the Longest Walk 2 southern route will journey through the Navajo Nation in March and April.

In Flagstaff, on March 28, a prayer gathering to protect sacred sites will be held at the base of San Francisco Peaks.

The walk will continue through Window Rock and to the Dooda Desert Rock site near Burnham, N.M., before continuing east to Washington, D.C.




Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html