Longest Walk spotlights issues important to American Indians

By By Kevin Hoffmann, The Kansas City Star, MAY 3, 2008

The message was instilled in Cordell Tulley when he was a boy growing up on an Indian reservation in Arizona.

Take care of the land. Protect the sacred sites.

That’s why Tulley doesn’t understand why so many people pollute roadways, streams and rivers. He doesn’t get why people are willing to bulldoze trees and clear out wildlife for so-called development.

It’s also why he participated in the Longest Walk, an effort to raise awareness of American Indian issues and urge the public to take better care of the environment.

“There’s a lot of environmental injustice going on,” he said, “and we want justice so we can pass something on to our grandchildren.”

The walk started in February in San Francisco and is to end in July in Washington.

On Saturday, participants split up for various events in the area, including a daylong gathering at Johnson County Community College. A group of about 15 walkers/runners, however, continued the trek eastward. The entire group was to camp Saturday night in Grain Valley.

Among the walkers Saturday was Ronnie Keo, who lives on the Kickapoo Indian reservation outside Topeka. He joined the walk when it reached Lawrence.

“We have a water shortage on the reservation, and we have to do something about it,” Keo said at a rest stop along U.S. 40 near Fleming Park. “Everybody needs to help.”

Keo, who gave up his landscaping job, said he planned to go all the way to the nation’s capital. He said he hoped to return in time for a summer celebration on the reservation.

“When I get back, I will be feeling good here,” he said, pounding a fist on his chest.


A brief video can be seen here: http://videos.kansascity.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=1859496&genre_id=839



Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.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