Native tribes bring message on Longest Walk

By Daniel Smith/, Denver Post, MARCH 24, 2008

About 50 members of tribes involved in the Longest Walk 2 gathered for a blessing and ceremonial singing at the Denver Art Museum's Native Art Wheel March 24, then rallied at the state capitol to raise awareness of their five-month coast-to-coast walk for Native American rights as well as concerns for environmental degradation.

The walkers heard a presentation at the capitol on behalf of Gov. Ritter in support of the walk and its mission then marched to Newmont Mining company headquarters to protest the desecration of Shoshone sacred sites from gold mining by Newmont.

The walkers started from San Francisco on Feb. 11, with the goal of reaching Washington, D.C., on July 11, following two routes, northern and southern, that will cover more than 8,000 miles, stopping in communities along each route.

The original Longest Walk in 1978 was a protest to proposed legislation that would have abrogated treaties protecting Native American sovereignty, and resulted in the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. In a press release, northern walk coordinator Jimbo Simmons states says the walk is designed to raise awareness about the tie between native cultural survival and its direct link to the environment.

From Denver, the group will walk to Pueblo and then follow Highway 50 to Kansas, stoppingfor a visit at the site of Sand Creek to remember the massacre of more than 150 native men, women and children there by members of the Colorado Militia in 1864.




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