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