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July 11th - Washington DC E-mail
Written by Yaynicut Franco   
Sunday, 27 July 2008
The Manfesto writing team had been working non-stop, and I mean non-stop, for the past three or four days trying to get everyting to flow together. We still hadn't finised our editing as of yesterday, so we pulled another all nighter. It was intense but we knew it would ultimately be worth it in the end, which would be today at 2pm!

This morning at 6am, everyone except for the team, departed Greenbelt Park in caravan. The walkers and all of our support arrived to Malcolm X park and the energy, so I hear, was incredible. There were hundreds of people there to support and to show that they too cared about our mother earth. The media coverage was cool, we got a lot of positive response, all that hard work put in by the Media Team sure did work!

*high five*

Ok, so back at camp we were all trying to finish editing the manifesto and get ready so we could go. We finally accomplished this about 9ish. The bus came back and got us and we headed to meet up with the group.

Everyone was already at the White House when we got there. Jimbo and his crew were talking and then there was some entertainment for the media. It was cool but I was still running around doing Media and Manifesto stuff.. Oh shoot.. And then, Andrew came up to me because he said that someone wanted to meet me, guess who? Daryl Hannah! Yup, it was cool, she said that she loved my videos and whatnot. She thinks I'm funny and the videos are awesome. So I took a picture with her and then people started swarming so I backed up away only to find my Aunt Judy star struck glaring at Daryl. Haha! I laughed and walked away to do an interview..

After a short break, the group departed twords the US Capitol.. And I veered twords Staples.

Sandra had just finished the last resolution and I had to make a copy of the Manifesto and some of our Proclamtions from Govenors and Letters of Support. So I was running around trying to get the manifesto taken care of while everyone was approaching the Capitol.

Finally everything was done! I held the completed Manifesto in my hands and I almost started to cry. This is what I had been waiting for, the manifesto was finally complete and it was about to be available to share with the world! I rushed to the group and had people fill me in on what had happened.

There were a few speakers and Willie danced.. The Havasupi delegation got ready to go on and we waited for Congressmen John Conyers and Harry Belafonte to come meet us.

When I had finally got to the Capitol it was already 1pm, an hour before the presentation of the Manifesto for Change was to be made. I scrambled to find Dennis and Tashina in the crowd and when I finally spotted Dennis in the distance I ran over there with no thought in mind on how crazy I must have appeared to look by everyone in the park.. Haha! Anywho, I walked up to Dennis, out of breathe, and simply showed him the Manifesto. I will never forget his face, he looked at it, his eyes brightened up, and his jaw literally dropped.. I think his reaction was similar to mine, expect I don't think he wanted to cry. Lol. He gave me a big hug, which has never happened before.. But I told him, "Ok. No time for hugs. Where is Tashina?" Lol.

Of course he didn't know where she was so we initiated a Tashina Banks-Moore search party.. Haha. No seriously, I had like hella people looking for her.. Haha! But anyways, when she finally showed up we had found out that she was on-air with Native American Calling. Lol.

It was finally 2pm.. Dennis called for circle, it was time! I gave Tashina the Manifesto for Change and then gave it back to me as Dennis was annoucing it's completion.. He invited the Press to get a closer shot of history in the making as I turned each page of the Manifesto so that he could sign our Resolutions. There are 16, so it took a good minute to finish.. Then he asked Jimbo to sign on the other line.. I would have rather have had Tashina sign, since she is the LW2 National Coordinator, the one who has been working on this since day 1 night and day, and she is one of the people who made all this happen.. Lol. But whatever I guess, the resolutions got signed and that's all that matters.

Harry Belafonte got there first, and we welcomed him with a great round of applause.. A few minutes later Congressmen Conyers and his crew joined us, and that is when the Press went crazy.. The Manifesto Team stood behind the Havasupi delegation as they welcomed our guests with a dance. It was so cool.. The circle quickley got closer so that everyone could get a upclose view of us making history.

Harry spoke first and with much passion in his words, I swear he literally moved the crowd. We are so lucky to have such inspirational supports.. It keeps me in tune with the mission of the walk.

Congressmen Conyers thanked us for doing what we did.. He talked for a bit and he talked well.. I had my eye on Dennis the entire time, on the Manifesto. A few minutes went by and Dennis stepped forward. He read the list of our 16 resolutions to the crowd.. It was awesome becuase everyone was cheering and whatnot. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I got serious with the Manifesto.. Dennis presented the Longest Walk 2 Manifesto for Change to Congressmen John Conyers and a tear trickled down my cheek. Everyone was clapping and cheering, the atmosphere was joyful and I was happy. I felt accomplished. I was proud of what our team had put together.

And what happened next was totally not expected. Conyers said that he would make sure that each resolution would have it's own hearing to look at each in depth.. But first there would be a briefing about the Manifesto for Change collectivley. When he said that, my heart dropped and I couldn't stop smiling.. A few more tears trickled down my face and I kept saying "Yes! We did it.. We did it.." The crowd cheered and cheered.. Some took pictures with Conyers, and others with Belafonte. The Manifesto team, minus myself, got a picture with Belafonte.. I didn't mind.. I was busy saying hi to Kathlene's mom, which was more important to me anyways..

The drums started up and everyone was getting ready to walk over to the National Monument. I was finally done, I could finally relax and enjoy spending time with my fellow walkers and supporters. I ran over to see my mom, my dad, my Aunt Judy, my Aunt Sue, and my cousin Rachel.. I hugged them all and thanked them for being there for me. I am never going to forget this afternoon.. And although I have tried already, I don't think that I can totally describe the emotions that I've felt today.. I wish I could so that you can fully understand how truely amazing today was for me..

After that group started walking, I went to eat with my parents and then met up with everyone at the monument. By the time I got there Dennis had already handed the staffs over. Two of them I truely respect and admire, I know that they are going to continue leading our people in everything they set out to do.. Morning Star and Tashina, I don't know if you realize how much I look up to you guys, you're my heroes. Lol.

The day basically ended there. I was content with my life. I felt accomplished and I was finally in a place where I could just sit down, relax, and breathe. Life is good. I'm in my parent's hotel room right now. Tomorrow there will be a pow wow and some activites going on so I will be there all day..

Thank you to everyone who came out to support us! And thank you to my family who flew out from California to support me and my cousin!! I love you guys! I got to get some sleep now.. Goodnight


July 8th-10th - Greenbelt Park E-mail
Written by Yaynicut Franco   
Sunday, 27 July 2008

I know it's been way too long since I last gave a written update, so here it is! It's better late then never..

The Longest Walk 2 Southern Route arrived to Greenbelt Park in Maryland on the 8th and converged with the Northern Route.. It was quiet an amazing experience and what a sight to see. We all were together after five months on this journey. We all stood as one in the sacred circle at Greenbelt. Dennis, Ricardo, and Jimbo all spoke to the walkers and all of our supporters who were present. The sight of our staffs and flags was breathe taking. I swear, I stood in awe as I made an attempt to do my daily video (which I failed at btw).

After circle broke I had to run up to the security booth so I could get everything situated for the upcoming days..

Oh yeah.. And my Dad met up with me at the park! It was so refreshing to see him, Heetha and I were hella excited and happy that he made it there safe and sound.

We, as in the walkers and supporters, have been getting acquinted with eachother over these past few days so that we will be able to walk into Washington DC as one.

There have been a number of journalists coming out to visit with us. Our media team has been established and we are getting things going in preparation for DC. I have been working with an amazing group of individuals, I've learned a lot from them. So, thank you guys for being such positive rolemodels for me!

Um, yeah well there was a Press Conference this morning. It went pretty good. I was the moderator, it was my first time. Lol. I think it was successful, but we won't really know until tomorrow.

The manifesto is almost done. We just have to do some final edits and whatnot.. I better go now, I have a lot of tasks to care of before tomorrow morning.. Looks like it will be another all nighter for me!


South Route: The second midnight walk E-mail
Written by Midnight Walker   
Sunday, 20 July 2008
The 2nd 24 hour walk was hard and challenging for all of us but one of them made it all the way also one of the supporter. Me, Chino, Andre and Verna plan the 2nd 24 hour walk after the first walk. We were getting ready for this walk but some of the walkers dont want to help us out and support us, so we decided to go on the walk by ourselves. They tried to stop us but we resisted from not walking. This walk is not for recognition, it is for the people on the walk to cover some miles for them. This walk was also for the people in this world not just dine nation. When we were finish getting ready for the walk, Dennis drop us off at the starting point and talk to us for awhile then prayed for us to. We started walking on midnight, some of us were tired and sleepy but we kept going for two hours then we rested for awhile. We ate some snacks, when we were finished we started walking again for another hour and half. Thats when Verna starting to feel the pain in her leg, but we still kept going until we reach the store in a small town. We just sat around or rested for three hours waiting for the other walkers to catch up with us. Verna and Andre were told to go the hospital to get it check, her leg was swollen up. Me and Chino got on the bus even though we still wanted to walk. Wsat on the bus thinking we should keep walking, but people wanted us to end it cause of our legs, it was hurting. When the walkers rested and started walking we join them again, walk for three miles. They told us to go up ahead where the walkers end there walk, so we could keep walking. Me, Chino and Ben started walking again without Verna and Andre. We walk for seven miles then we took a break and ate lunch. Once we were finished me and Ben started walking, Chino's leg so she caught a ride with Henry. Me and Ben walk and walk for two hours, we walk into Louisana. We were sorrounded by green trees, swamps and bugs were all around. We rested for awhile then PJ joined us then we started walking again. We walk for a long time, then it got dark but we still walk until a support vehicle came and gave us some food to eat. When we were finished we started walking agian until a cop pull up and ask us what we are doing so we told him. The cop call for backup so another cop pull up and ask us the same thing but she was mean. Another cop pull up and ask the same thing again we told him waht we are doing and why. They check our background but we were all clean so the lets go. We continued our journey again. We walk for another couple of hours then Henry showed up and pick us up then took us back to the camp. When we got back we just stayed up for awhile then pass out. I was so tired and my leg was hurting cuz of my bad knee, but i made it the wole 24 hours. This 2nd walk we did was hard and challenging and a struggle but it felt good even though i was hurting. Me and Ben made it all the way which was pretty cool and PJ and Ben sang some songs which made the walk more exciting. Me, Chino, Verna, Andre were known as the midnight walkers. This is the story of the midnight walkers walking the 2nd walk. Only one made it all the way.
South Route: 6/25/08 E-mail
Written by Maggie Madden   
Sunday, 20 July 2008
We rushed to get on the road this morning and all piled into the yellow bus only to find that we had no gas. So we piled out and waited. I started picking up trash as I often do and Nathan shuttled some of the walkers and then brought gas to us. I anxiously waited to join the walk and was sad to pass yet another state line in a vehicle as the walk chose not to wait for us. I carried the Earth Flag today. It felt really good to carry it. It was hot but I’m getting so that I don’t notice it as much anymore. A guy was walking around interviewing us during breakfast -I’m guessing he was one of those reporter people. He sat down next to Jun-San and started asking questions. “Why are you on the Longest Walk?” and Jun-San responded “Because I have a foot!” We get that question a lot and also “Why are you walking?” so often that I’m starting to feel like a computer in the way I respond.

Breakfast was very yummy. Whenever the Japanese people are on kitchen crew we eat really healthy, tasty food. Kiyoko is a cook in Japan and she has been the most consistent dedicated cook on the walk. The only reason she hasn’t been here the whole time is because she had to return to Japan to renew her visa. She is always hanging out around the kitchen cooking yummy things for us and she walks everyday. She is very dedicated.

After eating breakfast we continued walking. I missed running a lot today. The problem is that there aren’t very many miles left to cover so with the few running miles that are left there aren’t enough to satisfy all the runners. I was thinking it would be really cool to run as a group.

We missed one of your breaks that we normally take every one hour or so because the mayor of Clarksville was waiting on us. We walked through town and he gave us a very kind, thoughtful speech and we meet a local family. They all had joined us for the walk with their children. I love it when people walk with their children.

After the speech in the parking lot and a short break they told us it was not safe for us to walk to cross the bridge. A new walker handed me her stuff because she wanted to run across the bridge and I was like “We’re running across the bridge!?” I quickly handed my stuff to Brian and sprinted after the runners. I caught up with them and crossed the bridge and then ended up running all the way into camp. We walked in a circle and then had a circle and prayed together. The host families have been really good to us here. They fed us marinated deer, beans, fresh fruit for lunch. Plus it was Hlah Twee’s birthday and per Burmese custom he prepared food for us. I also noticed him picking up trash during the walk. He’s Buddhist so usually he drums during the walk.

The host family invited us back to their community to watch a documentary and Mariposa and I eagerly left. We watched a documentary on fossil fuels called “Crude Oil” until Mariposa feel asleep with a pen in her hand sitting up. They showed us to a spare bedroom-the sons kindly all slept in the same room so we could have our own but we didn’t end up sleeping for awhile. We just sat and talked with the kids and some other walkers and it was really nice just to hang out and relax. It was a little too nice though as I didn’t get to sleep until 2am. The End.

South Route: Greensboro, June 22, 2008 10:27AM E-mail
Written by Melinda   
Sunday, 20 July 2008
Yesterday we walked 22 miles from Winston Salem, NC to Greensboro.  At the end of our walk, we rested waiting to hear where we would be spending the night.  The local organizer, Tammy Austin, had only been onboard since Monday and she moved heaven and earth and herself to find places for 60+ people to stay. 

From Asheville, NC on Thursday June 19, the Longest Walk walked to Hickory, NC and spent the night on the athletic field of the Lenoir Haynes campus.  Elders were given a guest house.  After sending out many feelers to get information on schedule and location to join the Walk, I was so happy to get Tammy’s cell phone number in Richmond Thursday morning.  I had taken the Chinese bus from NYC ($60 RT) to catch a ride I found on craigslist.org from Richmond through to Asheville if I needed to go that far, with hippies, as it turned out.  As soon as I had Tammy’s info and directions, I was ready.  However my travel companions were meeting friends on Belle Isle, a beautiful historic island in the middle of the James River, just down the hill from Hollywood Cemetery where three Presidents and many civil war heroes are buried, in the middle of Richmond. 

Hours later in the dead of night we arrived in Hickory.  Tammy’s directions left a little bit to be desired, “I’m directionally impaired,” she confessed to me last night. Not a soul was stirring in Hickory.  After a series of lefts and rights on deserted streets, we were driving up to the field.  Laid out under a full moon were the Walk vehicles and circles of tents.  A woman was making her way off the field.    “I’ve been praying for someone to help me,” Tammy said.  She had a few things to accomplish before our 3:30 AM wakeup.  We dropped my gear, went to the Student Union, open all night, where we googled and printed map directions for the next day in the computer room and lined up the ice the kitchen crew needed for a 4AM pick up with the security guard.  I sent off a quick message to my loved ones, brushed my teeth and pitched my tent. 

Sooner than you would think possible, the drum started up.  My eyelids were into procrastinating and I was very into humoring them.  Nathan gave the 4AM call.  You just haven’t lived until you rise up in the very early morning hour and pack up your tent and gear under a full moon with sixty other people doing the same thing.  The earth is so still.  All of creation is holding its breath for the sun to come up.  A bright star was by the moon.  The dew hadn’t come down yet and my tent was dry when I packed it. 

The routine is wakeup, prayer, pack and load your gear on the trucks; tents and sleeping bags on one truck, luggage on the other.  Then everyone comes together in a circle.  After a briefing on the day’s schedule, an elder smudges the walkers as they file out.   The earth is silent.  All is still asleep.  The bright moon lights our way as we snake down along our road.  The ear can stretch far in the darkness seeking sound.  For a good long while, it is just our footsteps.  Ahh, the sound of sixty people walking.  This is a sound to hear.   

All too soon, light streaks across the eastern sky.  There is this pink that comes.  And the birds start up.  So joyful.  Every morning birds just go delirious with happiness at the rising of the sun.  And so we walk.  I’m wondering will we see it and there around the bend an open spot on the horizon and a beautiful red disk rises.  It stops you dead in your tracks.  As you salute the sun, and your companions stop with you and one has a song to sing, you feel like you are meeting your ancestors, because deep in your bones, you feel a reverence that surely has come down through the generations, straight from them to you. 

The walk moves along at a brisk pace.  The youngsters are up front carrying the flags, and they start moving at a fast clip.  Behind the flags are Junsan, a Buddhist nun, the monks and the drummers.  Behind the drums are the people, the walkers.  Many have been walking five months from Alcatraz.  Flaggers wearing orange reflective vests and carrying orange flags run up and down the line, helping us cross intersections safely.   Around the four mile point, we stop for a ten minute break.  This is a chance to hit a bathroom or the bushes, get water, stretch or simply sit.   

This time, our bathroom was in a supermarket.  When I went I asked for the manager.  I told her about the walk and asked her if she had foods that she was taking off the shelves, not pretty enough to sell but still very edible, especially fruits and vegetables.  She gave us so much.  “Normally, we give it to the soup kitchen,” she said.  When Wako went back to get her name to send a thank you, she gave us water too.  My Mother says we depend on people to feed us and meet our needs.  Yes we do.  We need the people who support us along the way.  We are very thankful for everything that comes our way.  We need the people.  And the people need us.  I’ll come back to this theme when the narrative is down. 

After a ten minute break, the drum starts us up, “Ickimacho,” let’s go. 

The world gets loud, light grows in intensity, details in the landscape fill in, the commuters start up and it’s time to share the road.  That beautiful road that was ours becomes more visible and more dangerous.  Again we do three or four miles.  For a newcomer like me, I’m starting to feel it – particularly in the feet and shins.  My drum bag suddenly weighs a ton.  The 8 mile spot is breakfast.  The kitchen crew in the white school bus, gift of the Dineh Nation in Arizona, has set up a line of crates with cereal and cut up fruits and coffee.  (Sometimes there is sliced bread, peanut butter, or some kind of sweet breads). 

The entire team will rotate through kitchen crew, although some people will get dispensation and find a volunteer to take their place.  Kitchen crew serves everyone with plastic gloves and is also responsible for cleanup.   At this point, I’d walked eight miles.  I was feeling it.  We had a long walk scheduled for the next day and I figured to temper my immersion.  That morning it turned out that the van I pitched my tent next to was Ronald McDonald’s, a Houma from New Orleans.  Ron was there, with his van.  He would drive ahead to try to fix a transmission fluid leak.  Emmett was there.  76 years old, ran the Boston marathon this year in 6 hours.  “I wasn’t in shape,” he says.  His idea is to do it in under four.  They hadn’t woken him up in the elders guest house and he slept in, was just catching up to the walk now.  He and I went along with Ron to help.  Our first stop was the lunch spot. 

The kitchen crew had already set up the crates.  They were cutting fruit and laying out a small spread.  We stopped with them awhile.  We met Mei, 16 years old, one of the youngest Japanese walkers from Hokkaido.  She knows Kinuesan who has walked and run with us in the past.  We met Hiromi, Jack, Kendra, Gilbertoshoni, a Cuban American from the Bronx who walked the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage, from Massachusetts to New Orleans ten years ago.  Gilberto is now a Buddhist monk, “shoni.”  We met Mucaw from Fort Yuma, Arizona and Heethawish, from Central California.  Two young Japanese men on the cook crew:  Joey Watanabe and Takuma Tomonaka.  We met Addie, Nikki, Shun, Wako and Yaynicut.  Ammon, running with Dennis since 1990, was there. 

The Houma reservation is in the low ground near New Orleans.  Although devastated by Katrina, no one helped at all.  A few years ago, on another walk, Dennis stopped with the runners to spend four days with the Houma.  He promised to carry their story with him and tell others.  This year the Southern route of Longest Walk scheduled four days in Houma.  When they left, Ron was traveling with them. 

In 1990, Dennis Banks organized the Europa Run, The Sacred Run for Earth and Life, to carry the message from the elders that the earth is our Mother and we have a responsibility to keep ourselves in balance.  I met the Sacred Run in Paris.  When they left, it felt like my family was leaving.  Me.  Behind.  I put together some camping and running gear and joined them in Berlin. I met a lot of people on that run.  One of the people was Emmett Eastman. 

Emmett lives in Wahpeton, ND.  He had seven brothers and sisters.  Was raised in a two room house.  Had a strict father.  His mother’s name was Bertha. Big Bertha, he refers to her.  After high school, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Okinawa.  He was writing to a woman who sent him a Dear John letter.  When he came home, he went straight to her house without telling her he was coming.  They started dating again and were married three months later.  Seven children and 18 years of good marriage and she died in childbirth.  The baby died too.  Emmett was alone for seven years.  He started drinking.  He hadn’t drunk as a young man.  Fortunately he was already running by then.  He continued running while he was drinking and ran through rehab.  He met another woman, had his eighth child.  He had already met Dennis Banks and began doing runs with Dennis – Japan in 88 and ever since.  Emmett runs.  Emmett dances on the powwow circuit.  Emmett laughs.  “Get rid of those pout bugs, smile awhile.” 

Emmett’s grandfather went to Boston University Medical School.  Emmett recently addressed a contemporary group of doctors at this school.  He spoke to them of Charles Eastman’s philosophy, (that can be read in Ch. Eastman’s book, “Soul of an Indian”).  “The auditorium was full of people,” Emmett says.  “You could hear a pin drop.”  As Emmett was telling us stories about growing up, we made our way to Bethabara Park, the founding settlement of Winston Salem, NC by the Moravians back in the early 1700’s.

The community shared everything.  One of the oldest community gardens in the U.S. is still being gardened today.  We camped right next to it.  No Indians were displaced by this settlement.  It was on a trading route and the Cherokees traded with the Moravians.  A German Protestant sect with their US seat in Bethlehem, PA, the Moravians were a group that treated fairly with the native people they encountered.  They were unique missionaries in that they studied the language and customs of the people they sought to convert.  Researching Canassatego, an Iroquois sachem, a forgotten founder of this nation who urged the colonies to unite, using the Iroquois League as a model, it was the descriptions and narratives of the Moravian brothers that provided some of the best source material.  Other good material came from Benjamin Franklin who told stories about Canassatego and printed his speeches at the Lancaster, PA treaty councils. The North Carolina Moravians walked the Trail of Tears with their Cherokee friends.

I volunteered for cook crew and discovered a delicate dance of sharing burners and cooking pots, knives and cutting boards – the compost bucket (that we bury), jockeying for recipe position.  Everyone has their own dish and utensils that they are responsible for.  There are a few plates and bowls for elders.  God help he who has no cup.  You haven’t lived until you’ve cooked outdoors in tight quarters with a good seven other people. 

3:30 AM came even sooner than it had the night before.  I was a little more savvy this time around and knew to hustle my pack and gear to the luggage trucks sooner rather than later.  I also managed a cup of coffee in my water bottle.  Boy, did it taste good.  We left under the full moon, a full solstice moon, the quiet of the earth absorbing our footfalls, winding our way down from Bethabara to old Salem.  We broke in four mile increments with breakfast at the 8 mile spot. Today I kept on walking.  I was in a good spirit, right behind Junsan a good part of the day.  Ron just in front of us, carrying a flag.  At lunch we found a place in the shade.  “You can do it,” Emmett said.  He was leading us that day and whenever I felt bone weary, looking ahead at him at the front of the line kept me going.

There’s lots more stories about Junsan, about Daniel, who joined in Asheville and may go up to the Northern route to cross his home state, about Margaret.  The Walk went through Bakersfield.  She went to meet them.  Three days later she put all her bills on automatic payment and hit the road.  About Nathan:  In the circle that morning he announced that anyone who could not walk step right into the circle and they would be taken to a doctor.  “I’ve been on the road five months,” somebody said.  “I’m tired.”  Everybody walked.

We had a little do si do at the end point of the walk, waiting to find out where we might sleep that night.  The armory came thorough.  Thank you Sergeant Green.  Showers, a kitchen, indoors and it rained, men’s bathroom, women’s.  I drove there with Kristi, a new arrival.  She’ll be joining at the end in Maryland but couldn’t resist spending the weekend with us.  Kristi is part Choktaw.  Her grandfather didn’t want to go to Oklahoma.  He hid out the Trail of Tears.  Kristi is a massage therapist, good skill to have on a walk of this nature and she will be working for her Phd in natural healing starting in the fall. 

Raymond did part of that ride with us.  Raymond is a Canadian Ojibwe from Ontario.  “I lost my identity when I had to go to school,” he told us.  “I didn’t find myself until I went to prison.  It was the Chinese and the other nationalities that made me realize I didn’t know who I was.”  Raymond is fluent in his native language and English.  He made his way back to his reserve where he lives today.  He spends time with young people so they don’t make the mistakes he made.  He hunts moose, deer, grouse and geese.  He fishes.  They use loud snow mobile type of sleds that run on gas.  “You have to know what you’re doing so you come in down wind.  You can tell when there’s a moose in the bush. Sometimes it takes a few days to hunt him.  So you go home and come back the next day.”  Raymond’s best friend is a runner.  That’s how Raymond learned to love running.  He heard about the walk and came down to see how it is for native people in the US.  “It’s the same as it is back home,” he says. 

“What do you like better,” I asked him, “running or walking?”  Raymond likes both about the same.  Me -- I love walking, I love that feeling of a long line walking together focused on a prayer, on justice, on peace, on love in this world.  When we’re walking good, I feel like we’re a snake or a caterpillar or something, making its way down the road.  Walking all day in the sun, with limited breaks is something of an endurance test.  It’s amazing to do it with a group of people.  It’s true I’m a drummer so the prayer is very intense.  Drummers are toward the front of the line where the focus is pretty clear.  There’s no chitchat going on.   No gossip.  It’s somewhat like meeting my ancestors, those who went on pilgrimage.  Not as visceral as greeting the sun.  We have a Burmese monk with us.  We have an old Polish friend from 1990 who quit his job to come and walk for five months.  His wife is going to come for the last two weeks to find out why he had to be away from her for five months.  So I love the walk.  But running.  Ahha.

Ammon used to run like the wind and it captured the whole feeling of what I think about running and what I feel when I hit my stride.  Running is like dancing in the air.  Running is like you are the pulse of the earth.  Walking is like acupuncture on Mother Earth, running is the heartbeat.  I got fat.  I stopped running until I lose a little weight – like even ten pounds would make me happy.  I want to protect my knees and joints for when I’m old, maybe be like Emmett running the Boston marathon at 76.  “You’re not fat,” Emmett said.  “You filled out, it’ll come right off.”   He’s too kind.  About a month ago, I was thinking about when I would join the Longest Walk, and I remembered the feeling of being first runner, running with the staff, the feeling of the earth waking up, hearing only your own footsteps and breath.  So I went into training – fat or no fat. 

Now, I’m at my cousin’s house in Greensboro.  I dried my tent, washed my hair, trimmed my toenails, spent a good part of today writing this.  It’s may be too long for the blog but I was so homesick for it.  The last entry for ever was June 4.  The Longest Walk schedule is dynamic.  They are on the move.  Getting closer and closer to the Lincoln Memorial, scheduled for Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July13.  If you care about justice, show up.  If you care about respecting treaties and your word, show up.  If you care about mother Earth and balance, if you believe that all life is sacred, show up.  All my relations   Greensboro 4:03 pm

Longest Walk sends a Thank You to GM E-mail
Written by Dennis Banks   
Thursday, 26 June 2008
General Motors Corporation have donated 3 Hybrid vehicles to "The Longest Walk 2" for the remaining portion of the 5 month 8,000 mile environmental walk from Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay to Washington, D.C.

The walk left San Francisco February 11 and will arrive in D.C. July 11th 2008.

Cheri Grohoski, GM's General Manager agreed with the Environmental Concerns of The Longest Walk 2 and "The Clean Up Mother Earth Campaign" of The Longest Walk, began discussions with Ray St. Clair in early February 2008 and presented the 3 vehicles to him on June 24th, 2008 at GM's General Offices at Detroit, Michigan. The vehicles will be used to help pick up trash and transport elders in and around D.C.

We Thank GM, one of the leading corporations in America advocating "Green Machines" for assisting The Longest Walk 2 on our journey across America.

Thanks, Dennis Banks
Tuesday June 17, 2008 Asheville, North Carolina E-mail
Written by Yaynicut Franco   
Thursday, 26 June 2008
I know that these aren’t supposed to be all personal but sorry I have to do this.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAHOCI! Hope you had a good one. (fyi, Lahoci is my big brother) lol.

So today the Asheville Coordinators set up for us to walk through downtown to a park where we would be met by lots and lots of people. This morning everybody basically did their own thing. Nathan and Larry let us know that we had to be ready to go at noon. Some walked down the road to the laundry mat and others went swimming in the river. The weather was pretty good, not too hot and not too chilly.

Around Noon, we loaded up into the bus and other vehicles and headed to a spot downtown. The walkers, our support people, and the Asheville Community all gathered together in circle and we began to walk downtown. It was cool because we were walking straight towards the busiest area in town. As we walked passed locally owned restaurants and cafes, there were many faces staring at us. The majority of out onlookers were totally happy to see and hear about what we were doing. We got a lot of smiles, high fives, waving, and thumbs up! It was really cool. Red Horse, Billy, Maztal, and I all took turns echoing through the streets of downtown singing our hearts away. There were so many people with us, it reminded me of when we were back in California =)

We ended up walking about 2 miles until we got to our final spot. We were greeted by a lot more people and a few cameramen for the local news. Our circle was huge! That is when I really was reminded of those good ol’ days in California.. The community had wanted to have Dennis talk a little bit about the history of The Longest Walk and The Longest Walk 2, but he had to take care of our of our vehicles and we had to postpone that for about a half hour.. Good thing though, a lot of people were tired because by then it had started to get a bit warmer. The community had brought out gallons and gallons of water to replenish our spirits. It felt good being there and having the opportunity to chat with some of the volunteers.

When Dennis arrived we circled up. He talked about the walks and our mission.. I personally always like to hear him talk about the mission and the vision that he had for this walk. It only reminds me of why I am here, it brings me back to reality. But anyways, Darla began selling tickets to raffle off a beautiful eagle head picture that Red Horse had majestically created himself. Then we had a blanket dance as Willie danced to Red Horse singing. After that Margaret dragged me into the circle to sing a song for her to dance to, Billy helped me out by keeping the beat with his gourd. It was cool. It started to get hot so we all moved over to the shade to continue our cultural sharing event. We all enjoyed each others company throughout the afternoon. The elders got invited to eat at a restaurant so they all decided to warp everything up at the park and go get some grub. The rest of us went back to camp where we enjoyed the rest.

That is all that really happened today. Right now we’re all just sitting with Winnie (The RV) talking about random stuff and cracking the occasional awkward joke =) I think I’ll end it here. Hope you had fun reading this, but I really wish you were here to experience it yourself.

Monday June 16, 2008 Newport, Tennessee PEACE PAGOTA - Asheville, North Carolina E-mail
Written by Yaynicut Franco   
Thursday, 26 June 2008
I slept well and surprisingly woke up this morning with a smile on my face, ready for the day. It was 3am and I was anxious to wake my cousin Heethawish up, I was excited that he would walk with me today. Everyone broke down camp and cleaned up as much as possible before circle started.. 5am eventually rolled around and Dennis called for circle in the pagota. It was cool, yet crammed. We all sat on the floor, no shoes on and no idea what he would say next. Haha! As most of you know, we usually have NO SMOKING DAYS.. Dennis usually tries to do at least one a week but you never know, he likes to surprise us sometimes.. Anyways, this morning he announced that it would be an ALL NATIVE WALKING DAY. Of course I was amped because I was already planning to walk, but now my singing buddies on the walk would be there by my side. And although he said all native, our Japanese friends still joined us. I give mad props to the Delegation from Japan, without them the walk would not be the same.

In circle, Dennis also announced Red Horse as the Head Man Staff Carrier! Whoooo! Go Red Horse! He is one of the most positive people that I have ever met, in my life! No really.. He walks just about everyday, except on the days when he is helping with Kitchen or Trash Crew.. But even then he still finds a way to walk. I have much respect for him and I know the rest of the walkers do to.. Circle broke and Red Horse led all of the Natives down the hill from the Peace Pagota.. He led it off with a prayer and song, and I followed with a traveling song from California. We had another circle when we reached the bottom of the hill.. All of the support vehicles lined up and we all took off. At first I walked behind the flags because I wanted to walk with my cousin, but pretty soon I had him run up with me to walk behind the staffs and in front of the flags so that I could sing. Mucaw, Billy, Maztal, and I were all taking turns singing and I got tired of hearing them yelling my name to sing from the middle of the group.. Lol. Yeah, so the walk was good. We met a lot of people along the way. For lunch we had stopped at Bobarosa Saloon at RV Tent Camping USA. They were way cool people. SHOUT OUT to Jessie and Bob!! They donated some water and soda to us as we had our lunch break. In total today we walked like 15 miles..

We arrived at our camp, which is where I presently am. It took forever because as a caravan of 6 vehicles, we got lost for about an hour.. And then individually, I got lost for about another hour in Minnie (the Winnebago). So the people that rode with me in Minnie got back here all late.. We all found our camping stuff and set up the tents and ate. The locals had brought lots of good food for us. THANK YOU!

Tomorrow is a rest day, but I’m pretty sure we are walking through downtown. IDK but I’m sure I’ll find out tomorrow.. I need a shower because I’m all sweaty from walking, and so is everyone else. Today also gets an A+, just because the walk was amazing.. If any of you have the opportunity to walk with us, especially me (haha), then I strongly recommend that you run with it! Trust me! Come out and join us! Everyday that we get closer to Washington, DC, it gets more exciting and we all become that much stronger. We get our strength from everything around us, especially the people that support us.. Without that love we would be able to do this as efficiently.. So, THANK YOU to all of those who have helped us out so far.. I look forward to meeting our future supporters and fellow walkers! Lol. Have a wonderful evening and check back for more updates!!

Saturday June 14, 2008 Knoxville, Tennessee - Newport, Tennessee PEACE PAGOTA E-mail
Written by Rhi Rhi   
Thursday, 26 June 2008
We woke up to the rain all over our stuff people were running around to get it inside or get it covered up something and as soon as the stuff was secured we had the morning circle many people spoke an for some reason it was really sad many people began to get upset and not in anything in particular just got sad…..but the day goes on and then at the end the circle turned into a line of people and the walk began this morning was cloudy and wet because it had just rained it was nice for the walkers to get a break from the sun and heat for a little while it was nice and cool for the rest of the day it was a nice scenic walk there was a picture taken be masa nori-san it was a really good picture of the walker and the sun rising with the mist and it was great!!!^-^ he takes good pictures
Sunday June 15, 2008 Newport, Tennessee PEACE PAGOTA E-mail
Written by Yaynicut Franco   
Thursday, 26 June 2008
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! To all the father’s on this earth, especially to those fathers on the walk and those fathers of the walkers! Today, we honor you! =)

I know it’s been a few weeks since my last update, sorry about that. I went home to take care of some business and then flew to Chicago with a delegation from Central California to have a NAGPRA consultation with the Field Museum. Being home was comforting; a spiritual grounding is what I needed.. But it feels great to be back here on the walk with my other family.

So, today was a day of rest. Jun San and a better portion of the group went to pray in front of the Y-12 National Security Complex, part of the United States Department of Energy. It was there where the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was created. When the group arrived they prayed at the same time 8-10 security guards watched them. I’m not too sure about what all gone on, but all I know is that they prayed and everyone learned something from it. The group walked from town to the complex and then was bussed back to the Peace Pagota.

The rest of the group that stayed behind, including myself, at the Peace Pagota got the chance to relax and enjoy the company of each other, the pagota, and the beautiful mountains. Dennis called for a 15 minute circle in the pagota to let us know what would be happening the next day and it ended up turning into a 2 hour discussion. Lol. That always happens to us but it’s good because we always learn something new when we talk in our circles.

For dinner, some of the Peace Pagota’s friends came together and brought us like 20 pizzas! It was cool and everyone was happy. We also had a fresh salad with the pizza, which was just as good if not better. Lol. After dinner we all walked up a small hill to a fire that Andrew built. We all pulled up chairs and circled around the fire waiting to see what we were doing.. Then, the Red Horse started singing away with the beat of the drum and sure enough, there came Willey grass dancing towards the fire tearin it up as usual. He got down to a song by himself and then Margaret joined him. After they danced for a couple of songs, Margaret asked me to sing a song for her to dance to, so I did and RhiRhi and Mariposa helped me out. It was cool and it felt really cool to sing again.. Then Willie, Margaret, and Taka all danced around the fire one last time before we all joined in for a round dance. Overall, I give the evening an A+. We all had a wonderful time: good food, loving and peaceful hosts and company, spectacular cultural exchange, and beautiful weather. I’m going to sleep happy. I got to spend time with all of my friends

Friday June 13, 2008 Athens, Tennessee - Knoxville, Tennessee E-mail
Written by Rhi Rhi   
Thursday, 26 June 2008
Last night we were able to get indoors well not really just a little cover up we stayed at a high school under the football stadium under the bleachers and some people were able to sleep inside the gym and we all slept ok we got up at like 4:00 and got ready and for the day and then every one circled up and then they picked out people to flag and then they picked out the trash team not many people steeped up for it then when we were getting ready to leave we found out that the people that were sleeping in the gym were still in there and almost got left it was just two people but they were not left thank god!! today we are going to Knoxville and we were to be by there by 3 or 4 o’clock and then we were also told that we had a place to stay inside and that food would be provided for us it was beautiful in the morning it was pretty humid and hot then they stopped and then they stopped again and that was the breakfast stop they headed to the third stop and then so on and so fourth and then the last stop was the lunch stop and we circled up before that and blessed the food before we ate we loaded up the bus and was getting ready to leave we left the gas station we ate lunch at and got ready to got to the place we were staying at it was a really long drive and many people got there before the bus and the walkers did like the trash van we were told that they were letting us have showers at the local high school a lot of people knew about it before the walkers got there so some of them got ready for it and then it was announced to the group that there were showers and then people went crazy scrambling for their stuff an then the bus left full of people all stinky and ready for some kind of water source to bathe in it took a while for all of us to be done and when we were all the Japanese were sitting all around jun-san and were talking and then later found out that they were talking about tomorrow apparently we were going to a peace pagota way on top of this big mountain everyone was so excited and so happy to be going there and having a rest day there now that’s a real rest day we returned to the church we were being hosted at these people were so nice and so cool they let us stay inside the church and well a lot of us stayed in the church some only a little bit stayed in their tents out side in the back and a lot of the rooms were for kid in church and then they fed us the local people stayed up all night cooking just for us! They really supported us in all we did I was surprise the name of the church was the united Methodist church this is not the first time this church was so hospitable in Houma L.A. we stayed at that church too there was such good food even fry bread but a group of us came in late so we didn’t get all the things the first people did they had fish like whole fish almost and they had deer stew and some other stews and quite a bit for the veggies yay! And we ate and set up our things and hit the hay!!! oh yeah and there was an elders meeting until like 10 or so .
South Route: Midnight Walkers E-mail
Written by Andre   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
"THE 24 hour walk started by us talking about it for weeks. It became a plan for the two of us (Verna and I), but two more people came in on it (Chino and Urvin). At the stand of the walk, us four and six supporting the walk (PJ, Maggie, Amy, Sunshine, Bonita, and Dennis). The start was ok with no thought in mind, it was just a walk like The Longest Walk 2. In the morning the thinking began; about me, my people, things that are going on in this world today, all the things that came to my mind of the 24 hour walk. It was just best to pray about it and give it to the creator just to take the pain from the mind. That night came tougher, the mind makes you see things that are not out there but seem to be real. A wake up call in life, a wake up call to the spirit people of sky, night spirit people, earth spirit people was waiting for us at the end of our 24 hour walk. As people, we started out knowing nothing about the other two people, but we all came binding as one and things were similar in a lot of ways. We all rested. That morning of the waking of the walk it was a good feeling that I never feel like this in years. When I was a little kid and felt light, like there was a chance in my mind in my feeling. It felt like my whole inside of my body was washed out it felt clean. I really don't have the words for it, if you all want to know the feeling of it, just try it."
South Route: Wednesday May 21, 2008 Baton Rouge, Lousiana - Donaldsonville, Lousiana E-mail
Written by Rhi Rhi   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
This morning the people from the museum bought us Mc Donalds™. We didn't get moving until later the bus was down and we had no way of getting across the bridge which was very unsafe for walkers so we had to have the support cars take the staffs go ahead then the walkers and flaggers would catch up, so the cars had to do two trips.

Also that was yaynicut's last day on the walk and she walked and sang with Mari, Shelly, and Mucaw all sang together. After the walking we got picked up around 2 and we had to be there by 4 we barley made it and we did a little walk to the park were we had met the Mayor and a few of his council members. They wanted to give us some thing so they invited us to a park it was the city hall park but city hall was some where else when we got there we had a circle then the staffs lined up behind the mayors podium an we sang the AIM song and then the mayor spoke saying things like 'we appreciate you all for walking' and etc. then he presented us with a key to the city!!!!wow there so much support here!!! then he spoke some more and then he presented larry with a drivers ED. book from Loisiana we all had a good laugh.

Then after all that we were invited to a church to look at some art work done by some kids then we were to head off to the place we were staying at, which was a community center we left and at 6:30 we were ready to eat dinner Gayle did the sprit plate. we had food that was provided for us by some of the local people that were at the park. It was good food then every one slowly started to go to sleep to get ready for the rest days ahead

South Route: Tuesday May 20, 2008 Marksville, Lousiana - Baton Rouge, Lousiana E-mail
Written by Rhi Rhi   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Today was an early start to a long day and really hot!!! The walkers ate and started walking in this crazy hot weather when they stopped and got in the bus they were drenched in their sweat it had look liked they jumped in a pool ,man i wish, it was that hot!!!

We were told we were going to meet the mayor today, but many of us where unsure, things like that happen like rumors like this or things just don't go the way as planned.

We got to the town and followed the directions to where we were supposed to park the cars, which was at a casino also at the casino, Aymin had brought back Wako-san!!!!!!! Wako-san met us there....yay!!!!Wako-san's back!!!

Then we would walk to the museum where we would meet the mayor of Baton Rouge. We arrived all together and made a huge circle on the grassy field next to the museum the mayor spoke about how they have the biggest earth-day celebration and I thought to myself 'we should have been here for it but nope maybe next year'. Then he wanted to say how grateful he was to have the longest walk 2 go through Baton Rouge then he presented us with our own day!!!!! THIS DAY TODAY WOULD BE KNOWN AS 'LONGEST WALK 2 SOUTHERN ROUTE' DAY IN BATON ROUGE WOW, THIS WAS MORE THEN EXPECTED I WAS SHOCKED!!!!!!

They also said that we didn't have to sleep on the ship that we could camp out on the grass out side of the museum. Larry then stepped up and started talking about today and how nice it was and then he thanked the mayor for what he did, started talking about tomorrow, and the ship when he was done the circle ended. We all went for our stuff ,we had to sign this paper stating you were going to sleep on the ship or not and a lot of people wanted to sleep out side, but their was still a lot inside the ship we were not allowed to take our bags in the ship only sleeping stuff and shower gear. After we got settled in people walked around the ship and it was very interesting ,but kinda spooky, Just thinking people that died on this ship gave their lives for our nation, I wonder would they be happy about the world we life in now or ashamed for who they gave their lives for, ashamed that we still fight for oil in other countries or maybe they would be proud for all of it, I know i wouldn't. I also wonder do you think the dead spirits feel honored by this? I know if it were me I wouldn't, but thats also just my opinion. I was told thats why some people did not sleep on the ship because of blood shed.

Then some people took showers and the kitchen crew started dinner we all didn't do much then just waited for our dinner to be done. Then like 6:00 we had circle for the food and then we ate. The museum people said we could use their auditorium to watch a movie and so we did watch a very funny movie not many people watched it. Then we wanted to be for tomorrow but we have to keep moving i wish we could stay longer...

Monday May 19, 2008 Marksville (Tunica-Bikoxi Pow Wow) E-mail
Written by Rhi Rhi   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
It was a rest day today and the pow wow was supposed to end at 12:00p. A lot of people did not wake up till later in the day the reason why was because many of the walkers didn't get to bed until late last night taking part in the pow wow. Also this morning we also got passes to eat at the casino next door, most of the day was used for rest and hanging out they had a lot of circles today just to talk about important things that really needed to be said.

There was one this morning and one at 6:00 (unfortunately i had kitchen duty and could not attend this one at 6 and this morning I was asleep still) I had heard they were really good ones too from a couple of people, after dinner it was like a lot of people just went straight to bed early for tomorrow is a walking day

South Route: Sunday May 18, 2008 Marksville, Lousiana (Tunica-Bikoxi Pow Wow) E-mail
Written by Chino   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
We awoke in the morning, a little late, ate breakfast and left. we didn't hang around for the pow-wow, and by we I mean several of us. we went to do our laundry. after the laundry was completed we walked around and checked out the town. we ate lunch, then headed off again. the town was cool, we checked out this little store where little bits n odds were sold, almost like walking into a garage sale, but more professional. as we returned to camp we hung out and rested while the walkers took part in the pow-wow. we also checked out the vendors and all their beautiful art work. we also picked up trash and mingled with the people of the pow-wow. in the end we all smiled because we could rest our sleepy heads and be ready for the next day and all of its challenges.

South Route: Saturday May 17, 2008 Shreveport - Marksville (Tunica-Bikoxi Pow Wow) E-mail
Written by Mari   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Today we left Downtown Shreveport and left to Marksville, LA to attend the Tunica-Bikoxi Tribe of Louisiana's Pow-wow. It was not so hot today but somewhat muggy. We stopped in Alexandria to eat lunch that was provided to us by the South Texas Chapter of AIM. The food was great! I couldn't get over the fresh fruit. We walked into the pow-wow and circled up and we were introduced to the crowd. I met an elder named Mary from the Winnebago Tribe in Nebraska and she was telling me about the issue of car corporations using Native Nation's names and copyrighting their name to sell their product and never putting money back into the Nation whose name they used. She used her nation as an example, and mentioned other cars that are named after Native Nations. This reminded me of the issue of mascoting and how sports teams use racial slurs as mascots and make a profit off of racism. She also told me about how she was about to go through eye surgery. I told her I would pray for her and carry her prayer to D.C. There were 7 walkers decked out in their regalia. We fundraised (amount of money). Later on, we sang the AIM song and walked around in a circle with our fists in the air. It was truly a powerful moment. We camped out across from the campgrounds and I was so happy to find out that their was showers after two days of having no shower access.

South Route: Friday May 16, 2008 Texarkana, Arkansas - Shreveport, Louisiana E-mail
Written by Rhi Rhi   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
today was a hot day even the mourning was hot we had circle as usual I was to read another manifesto quote today after yesterdays reading i felt a little more confident in myself but as soon as stepped in right away people said 'speak up!!!' 'READ LOUDER' this made me doubt myself and i didnt get to read it in all the confidents that i had when i entered the circle this made yaynicut mad and told me 'next time just tell them to be quiet and maybe they'll be able to hear you.' and i thought yeah...

but the rest of the day was used for nothing else other then walking DUH...(its kinda a walk) in the morning they found a dog it was in the middle of the highway just walking around and then it started to follow us so we let it. we've had so many animals walk up us but we never kept it dennis says we arent allowed to pick up stay animals for our safety but we always want to but we kept this one until the next town witch i heard was a pretty big town but i dont know we picked up the walkers at like 1 or 2 o'clock theb we drove the rest as soon as we got into the city limits there was a police escort and the sirens were on and everything people on the side of the streets were looking at us and waving and some just yelled and hooted and we had a big caravan with us this was a very cool time to be apart of it was even better and it felt nice we were staying at a park with some pice of surreal art work in it some metal like stuff it was big and not too far were these big water fountains that you could run in and get wet and they said we could do just that i really wanted to go it looked like fun and the media has come to interview some walkers and again we waited for our dinner to get here and we set up camp and jsut rested for the remaining time of the day and around 8:45 people started to go to sleep

but i guess this night some drunk people came in to the camp and try to start things and some walkers stayed up all night to watch the camp. thank you walkers for giving up a night of sleep even though you guys were tired to keep us safe and thanks to all the people that helped us out today we appreciate it!

South Route: Thursday May 15, 2008 DeKalb, Texas - Texarkana, Arkansas E-mail
Written by Rhi Rhi   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
today was a walking day and the walkers walked all day pretty much.
We were staying at a camp site out side the town that had showers we could use, a office a place to get wireless, and a place for kids hang out but that was closed there were other campers there as well. At the camp there was little pond and next to that was like a place to eat with a vending machine and some kind of window to get food but it looked like it had not been used in years and next to the window this place with the vending machine is where most of the people set up camp. There were bathrooms but only one person can use the bathrooms, well two people can, because theirs two toilets but no doors just a wall divider, I don't know if it was the same for the mens restrooms.

As soon as Dennis got there we had a circle he said the usual stuff like 'Thank you walkers for walking and thanks to the runners.' said 'It was a good day to walk and run.' then he told us that 'The media was there so put your good faces forward ha....' then he spoke some more about the day for about 10 minuets then he let other people speak this was the day that I wanted to read a quote from the 78' manifesto.

Then more people talked and more and it felt like I was never going to read it then I decided after the last person finishes talking I was going to go no matter what, then sammy stepped up at first he said things I've heard him say before, but being able to step into the circle and say what he wanted to was very strong of him. I wish I could remember what he spoke about ,but he just kept on going, about his family and his traveling and this was a really good experience for him the first time he spoke out in circle and it was amazing! Then i read the '78 quote it was read in a pretty timid kind of way my voice was shaking and my hand to even before I stepped in the circle. Yaynicut said I did a good job but I don't think so...

After that he mentioned the news crew again saying that they might want to interview some walkers and if you don't want to thats okay too.

It was a little while until dinner, a little while before the circle broke apart eloise brown from DOODA DESERT ROCK asked all the dine if they could meet up after circle was over to talk about some things like eloise leaving and coming back in a couple of weeks and other things. They took pictures and one of the japanese KAZUKI had jumped in the picture and they told him only dine and he said "brother" they still took the picture with him in it. The picture was with the navajo nation flag and the DDR (dooda desert rock) flag they took quite a few pictures just to get the flags right. Then shanti said its time for the 'adoptee' picture. She stepped in and they took one with her camera and then one with a digital camera.

Then after all that we ,and by we i mean the walkers, all just waited for the food to get here during circle one of the local women went to get stuff to make sandwiches it was a while before it got here. Then we ate and some people set up their tents ,well all the ones who haven't already, then people started to go to sleep and some where still taking showers and some were in a drum circle for a while. Lights out was maybe 8:30 but people were still awake after 9:00 doing manifesto stuff. Today was the day they turned in a rough draft to Dennis.

Then sleep time for it is a walking day tomorrow

South Route: May 28th E-mail
Written by Maggie Madden   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Happy Birthday to me. I had decided when we were in Dilkon, AZ, Dine Nation, that I would run my birthday miles. We have this tradition on the Longest Walk that you walk as many miles as the age you will turn. Since I would be 28 on the 28th of May I thought it would be a fun challenge to run my age. I trained by running more and more miles in each state we walked through, but Louisiana snuck up on me and pretty soon it was the night before my birthday. We slept in Dulac, in the Houma Nation that night and I tried to go to bed early but as usual it did not happen. At some obscene hour in the morning I heard the wake up call from Nathan and I thought "It's my birthday I can sleep in" and curled back up. Luckily the noise woke me up again because I really think they would have left me behind. It's amazing the way everyone wakes up and moves around at 4 am getting ready for the day. The person who had offered to support me on my run was nowhere to be seen so I quietly said good-bye to Dulac and climbed into Joe's red car with the runners. We drove to the outskirts of New Orleans, where the walkers would stop, to start our run and when we drove near the 9th Ward we were shocked to see Military Police. I didn't realize our nation had Military Police officers-that Marshal Law had been instated in this country.

Kid thought we could all run lucky 13 miles and we agreed on it. They dropped me off in the most beautiful spot right along side Lake Pontchatrain and I ran and prayed. We were in a wealthy neighborhood and I was surprised to see that 3 years later the locals still had not finished rebuilding. I had assumed that since they had money they would have taken care of things by now but I saw a lot of homes being finished and some abandoned houses also, or rather the cement pillars where houses used to be. I stopped a few times when I saw crosses on the side of the road and prayed for the ones who were lost. So many people died during and after the Hurricane, the place reminds me of death and makes me think of spirits.

It was hot and I drank lots of water. At one point I had a herum of bugs swarming around my head as I ran. I kept thinking "I didn't invite you to my birthday party!" (My party being the run) but the bugs didn't listen. I walked across a bridge over looking the Mississippi River/Lake Pontratrain and shortly after my run was over. I piled into the car and we picked up Richard and Kid then drove to Picayune, Mississippi. Joe and Richard offered to take us out to lunch and we were thrilled to find an authentic Mexican restaurant in town and I ordered Chilaquiles. Ben, another one of our runners, was out back and the restaurant owners almost called the cops on him because they thought he was a homeless person. We assured them that no, he's one of the walkers and then headed to the park to take a nap. I slept for maybe an hour then I hurriedly got up, bought a map and tried to figure out where I would run the rest of my miles. I still had 15 miles to run and I wanted to do them before it got to late. We drove to our campsite-tonight we would camp at a Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) building that had a bar attached to it. After we got there I headed to a park down the road and asked a ranger if there was a trail I could run. She showed me a trail that was a mile long so I ran a few miles-just running in circles and taking a water break after every mile. The park closed at 5 pm so just after that time I ran back to the VFW building.

Dennis showed up with his daughter Tiopa and they drove a mile down the road so I could run there and back 6 times and that would cover the remaining 12 miles I still had to run. I ran the first six by myself and the walkers started to show up so I asked if anyone would join me. I saw Andre and Verna walking towards Wal-Mart and Verna said when she got back she would run with me. Crystal, who was visiting from Flagstaff, also volunteered to run but I couldn't find her. I took a water break and when I went to start my last six miles Verna had gotten back. She's a very strong walker but this was probably her first time running on the walk. She helped me keep a strong pace and encouraged me to keep going so I could finish them before it got to late. It started to get dark so I grabbed a reflective vest and borrowed Jun-San's headlamp. I was worried about pot holes, drunk drivers from the bar at the VFW and also the road was very narrow but Verna and I were alert and careful. It was nice having someone to run with. I was surprised that the run wasn't very difficult for me. It just became mechanical and natural after awhile. The only hard part was that I was very sleepy.

I still had a little bit of energy at the end of my run so I sprinted in and Roman-the trash king-was waiting at the finish line applauding as I ran my last 50 yards. I felt really good about what I had done. The kitchen crew had saved dinner for us so I ate a couple hot dogs and a salad. Alex and others had given me a birthday cake made out of a twinkie and cinnamon rolls the night before and I was spoiled with presents from the walkers! They gave me t-shirts, hats, a kimono and more. Jun-San made me 100 cranes so I would live to be 100! I was pretty grateful for all the presents-I hadn't expected any. I was so tired when I finally finished running that I didn't put up my tent, I just rolled out my tarp to fall asleep but the bugs kept me up all night. Another great day on the Longest Walk.

-Margaret K.O. Madden, "Maggie"
North Route: Ohio Police Attack Long Walkers E-mail
Written by Brenda Norrell   
Wednesday, 04 June 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Unprovoked Columbus, Ohio police attacked Long Walkers, by first pointing a taser at the head of Michael Lane and then forcing Luv the Mezenger to the ground and handcuffing him. The Longest Walk Northern Route was walking this prayer through Columbus on Monday, June 2, when police squad cars and arrest wagons arrived. Without discussion of the purpose of the prayer walk, or verifying that the Ohio Department of Transportation had been notified of the prayer walk, police attacked the walkers.

Michael Lane, who arrived on the walk with his wife, Sharon Heta, Maori, and their children from New Zealand, was targeted by police with a taser.

As dozens of police came at the walkers, a police officer held a taser three feet away from Lane’s head. Luv the Mezenger from Los Angeles went to the aid of Lane. At that point, police officers threw Luv on the ground and handcuffed him. Luv has been on the walk since it left California in February, walking on snowshoes over a stretch of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Lane, who has a law degree from the Arizona State University, said the worst part of being targeted by a police officer with a taser was that it terrified his daughters who only knew that a gun was being pointed at their father’s head.

Across the continent, police-induced deaths from tasers have increased.

Luv suffered minor injuries from the police attack. Police made no arrests.

Govinda Dalton, broadcasting on the live Longest Walk Talk radio on Earthcycles web radio, said, “They came to arrest the walkers with paddy wagons without even having a discussion as to what the walk is about, or the fact that the Ohio Department of Transportation has already been contacted.”

The harassment by Ohio police continued, Tuesday, June 3, when police ordered Longest Walk drummers off an area at the Ohio State Capitol. However, the Long Walkers continued with their press conference and aired statements on their loud speaker at the capitol.

It has been almost four months since the prayer walk began on Alcatraz, on Feb. 11. Up until June 2, there had been no attacks on the walkers. In fact, the majority of the governors in the states that the northern route has walked through have issued proclamations of support for the Longest Walk 2. The Longest Walk 2 for Mother Earth and protection of sacred places is being walked thirty years after the original 1978 Longest Walk, a prayer walk for Indian rights and the recognition of the inherent sovereignty of Indian people and Indian Nations.

Earthcycles’ Longest Walk Talk Radio has archived 400 interviews with walkers and people along the route since the walk left Alcatraz, on issues all across America.

The radio topics, voiced by people across America, have included the rise of the police state in the United States, the targeting of American Indians by city, state and federal police, the rise of xenophobia and the television-fueled, fear-mongering by the Bush administration. As a result of the fear-mongering, the Bush administration has found it easy to void federal laws, including waivers of more than 30 federal laws to build the US/Mexico border wall and seize private lands by way of eminent domain for the border wall. Across America, people are alarmed that the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, including free speech, have been violated.

On the Yankton Indian Nation, about 50 South Dakota police units recently swarmed a group of Yankton peacefully standing in defense of their sovereign land from a corporate hog farm under construction near the Head Start. About 40 Dakota from Yankton were arrested in two waves of arrests. The arrests and construction are now being challenged in court, but the construction of the disease-producing hog farm has accelerated.

The radio topics include global climate change, nuclear testing and gold mining on Western Shoshone lands and violations of treaty rights. Another issue is the loss of Paiute traditional hunting and gathering rights. Scientists are battling Paiutes for 10,000 year old Spirit Cave Man. Paiutes have gone to federal court in an effort to rebury the remains with respect. In Kansas, the Kickapoo are a nation without water and having to haul all their water.

Other interviews focus on the proliferation of censored news concerning Navajo coal mining and relocation, Nazi-type forces at the US/Mexico border and the destruction of Tohono O’odham ancestors’ remains for the border wall. The news has also been censored on ceremonial and religious rights denied to Native inmates in U.S. prisons.

Those interviewed include Mohawks at the northern border, Navajo from Big Mountain, Arizona, Apache and Tohono O’odham from the southern border and Maori from New Zealand. Indigenous Peoples also discuss the continual oppression of Indigenous Peoples, particularly from the four countries who refused to vote for adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia did not vote for the Declaration, which was adopted by the U.N. in 2007 and recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their traditional territories. Following the U.N. vote, New Zealand police raided and arrested Maori in the sovereignty movement there and new mining and disease-producing energy developments proliferated in Indigenous territories around the globe.

The newest threat to Indigenous Peoples survival is carbon credits, a fictional concept which allows polluters to continue polluting. The carbon market is a scheme creating millionaires which has increased the attacks and displacement of Indigenous Peoples. The World Bank and corporations are seizing Indigenous’ lands for new projects, particularly in South America. Indigenous Peoples were assassinated in Colombia as land was cleared for a wind project.

On the Longest Walk Talk Radio, there are also interviews on the economic collapse and war profiteering in the United States, the proliferation of power plants to enrich Bush’s corporate donors, profiteering by private security contractors such as Blackwater and the rapid expansion and construction of private prisons to imprison migrants for profit. At the Hutto migrant prison in Taylor, Texas, women, children and babies are imprisoned. Women have been sexually assaulted and children are deprived and abused. The United States denied entry to the prison by a United Nations Rapporteur documenting abuses of migrants.

Another reality voiced on the radio talk show is the cost of the bogus war in Iraq. American Indians and people of color, along with poor whites, are considered expendables to die in Iraq.

Meanwhile, on the Longest Walk northern route, on Wednesday, June 4, the walkers were all safe and well, but with a great deal of wet camping gear, after another night of lightning and rain in an eastern Ohio campground. During the past four months, walkers have camped in below freezing temperatures in the west and then camped in weeks of rain and winds from tornados in the Midwest.

Walkers on the northern route converge with walkers on the southern route, now in Alabama, to march into Washington on July 11. A four day Cultural Survival Summit is planned for July 8 – 11 and rallies and events for July 12 – 13.

Listen to the latest interviews about the prayer walkers attacked by Ohio police:

South Route: Interview with Maggie Madden E-mail
Written by Nik Jardin   
Thursday, 29 May 2008
I was really fortunate yesterday to get hang out with self-titled Trash Queen, Maggie Madden. I was driving support for the walkers and was able to rope her into driving the truck while I asked her a few questions. Maggie has been with us since Alcatraz and is one of those people who makes me smile at least once a day, even when she’s mad at us…which is frequently. As we drove down the highway under heavy rain, we had the following conversation.

NJ: So…when did you start getting into fights with chipmunks, Maggie?
MM: (giggling) - You’re going to start the interview with that?

NJ: Hey, you brought it up at the lunch stop…
MM: I think that happened up in Yellow Knife, during Canoeing Camp. I was on a 42 day trip up in the Canadian Arctic. I like nature and camping….this is kind of like camping, but not really. On the canoe trip we didn’t have showers or ice cream or cars…or like the one day that we walked in the rain and people called us heroes. That was funny, I’m like…it’s just raining. Hey, I just noticed that you’re using one of those pen things, and paper.

NJ: Yes I am.
MM: (giggles)

NJ: So, here is the obligatory Walker question. Sorry. How did you hear about the walk?
MM: I was at a Power to the Peaceful Concert in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco)…Michael Franti and the Indigo Girls…and I ran into Nathan there…

(Nathan is one of our major support folks here…he is in charge of making sure the gear gets loaded, and waking us all up, making sure we get to bed at a decent time…it’s a hard and thankless job)

NJ: You knew Nathan from before the Walk?
MM: Yeah, I have a lot of friends who are in music, putting shows on, and Nathan does security for a lot of them. So I ran into him and he gave me a flyer for the Walk, told me it was going to be a historic event and that it was environmentally focused and that got my attention. So I quit my job, which I was ready to do anyway…I was going to travel in Mexico but I heard there was a revolution going on down there and decided it wasn’t a good time to be there.

NJ: Second Obligatory Question. Why are you here?
MM: Mainly because I was sick of changing diapers (laughs). I was a preschool teacher, but I was also disturbed by the War on Mother Earth and talk is cheap. I also heard that we were about the awareness of Sacred Sites. I heard about the Shellmounds, did you know that the biggest one is in Emeryville? Yeah, there’s a mall there now. That’s why I’m here.

NJ: I remember you being sooo quiet in the beginning, and then all of a sudden you just came alive. It was really cool and beautiful. What happened?
MM: Well, we got out of Bakersfield and the oil wells…oh, and let’s not forget about the 420 Club (the firing range we stayed at for 4 days). I was depressed and pretty shy and then we got to the Sierras - those are my mountains by the way - so, maybe that was why.

NJ: So, let’s talk about the Trash Queen label.
MM: Yeah, I was feeling early on that I should maybe get approval to be in charge of trash, or get appointed or something. I was getting really frustrated about it all and then I decided that I should just become a dictator (laughs). I remember that, saying that I was sick of figuring out how consensus works so..I am the Queen of Trash.

(for our readers, Maggie appointed herself this role, which is a completely grueling and all-encompassing task. She makes sure we are collecting trash every day AND separating recyclables, finding out in each town what can be recycled and what can’t be. The task became so overwhelming that we now have an appointed King of Trash, Roman..who I’ll make sure I’ll get an interview with him shortly).

NJ: I remember that. And, so now…as if that job wasn’t big enough…you are now working on the Manifesto…why?
MM: Well, I was interested in it from the beginning but I didn’t think I was a good enough writer. And then I saw that nobody was doing it.

NJ: You are incredibly busy.
MM: Yeah, I don’t get to Walk much anymore. But I get to talk to a lot of people, locals about issues, which is cool, interviewing people. But now I have so many notes that sometimes I have to take days off the Walk just to write. And I get really over stimulated sometimes because there is so much to do and think about and then write about it.

NJ: You seem really driven and focused for having so much stuff on your plate
MM: Yeah, I suppose I have a good work ethic..but I think it also comes from being a preschool teacher. In preschool if you sit down for a second someone will put a bean up their nose; if you stop - children will fall off play structures.

NJ: Do you have any free time?
MM: No

NJ: If you had any, what would you do?
MM: Well, when we were in Taos, Takuya and I went to this pretty cool place called Earth Ship, it was all built with recycled materials, cans, plastic bottles. They collect rain water and use it like 4 times, they have solar set up so that they are completely off the grid.

NJ: Very cool.
MM: There was also this place called Angel’s Nest that was a little fancier. They had this space ship chair that was for Vitamin D.

NJ: What?
MM: Yeah, it was for Vitamin D deficiency. They also had this floating bed that tree sitters use. I got in it and started to fall asleep and felt bad about it and then realized that I was kind of on vacation so I took a nap and then this guy with really intense blue eyes came up to me and started saying things like, ‘do you ever think about ninjas?’ And talking about eating grass and I was thinking, I don’t remember having three stomachs.

NJ: In the real world, what do you like to do for fun?
MM: Canoeing, soccer, music, hanging with my friends and family.

NJ: Anything else you would like to say?
MM: I like trees.

NJ: Anything else?
MM: Okay. Sometimes it’s really hard to hear about all these issues. (she pulls out a piece of paper from her notebook) - Here they are talking about Yucca Mountain and all of this radioactive waste being dumped on tribal lands. They would never propose that in San Anselmo.

NJ: No doubt
MM: I guess I also want to say that I’m learning how to be a leader here and it’s empowering to be in charge of something. I want to be a teacher, but I didn’t feel I was ready yet. I am really concerned about education in this country, our country is dumb and that’s not the kids fault. It’s not always about being smart either; it’s knowing about people, it’s learning how to garden. And what kids are learning about Native Americans in school is just wrong. I think that children should have access to all the information that’s available and know what their options are.

(At this point Maggie noticed there was a little issue with some of the flagging going on with the Walk and mentioned it)

MM: You know they shouldn’t be doing that.

NJ: You’re right
MM: It’s not their fault, they just don’t know ‘cause they’re new.

And with that she leaped out of the truck (it was stopped at the time) and jogged over to do a little flagger maintenance. It effectively ended the interview, but at the same time illustrates how dedicated she is to so many different aspects of this walk. When she got back into the truck she realized we were pretty much done and jumped back out to finish walking the last couple of miles. We are lucky to have her here and I appreciate so much her dedication and stamina.

South Route: Interview with Jun-San E-mail
Written by Nik Jardin   
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
I've mentioned Jun Anju-san several times over the course of the last three months and really wanted to sit and do an interview with her. When I asked her, she said, "Nikki-san -- you read these articles, get your information."

I couldn't tell if it was modesty or that she was just entirely too busy to sit with me - but she handed me these wonderful articles written about her this past February for the Bennington Banner, a New York area paper. "These are front page stories. It is amazing - this is conservative paper, from conservative town, it's amazing to me that they write about Buddhist nun in this paper." She let me know that I only had tonight to read them because she was sending them to her mother in the morning.

And it kind of struck me that Jun-san had a mother. Not that she wouldn't of course, but....I would love to meet her mother.

As a disclaimer, before we get any further, I would like to add that any background information in this piece is from the Banner article, written by Mark E. Rondeau, including some quotes. Anything written specifically about the Longest Walk is my work. Okay.

I have grown to have incredible affection for this woman over the past several months. She used to scare the crap out of me...she is so feisty and determined and just has this strength of spirit and body that is simply impressive. She will be 60years old this year and can walk circles around anybody in this walker camp -- she mentions this frequently when she sees people not walking. Especially the young people. "I am 60 years old. I walk every day 15-16-17-20 miles. You should walk every day..all you young people."

I have loved hearing her stories -- she was a wild child, she talks about having an evil twin. She grew up in Tokyo riding motorcycles and hanging out with a rowdy bunch of kids. She married, divorced and headed to India. She was unhappy.

It was here in India that she saw people connected to a more natural way of living. Because of their poverty, most people didn't have electricity and rose and slept with the sun's movement. and she came to realize that her unhappiness was related to her not living a natural life.

And it was here in India that she met a man named Nichidatsu Fujii who founded the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order, of which she was ordained in 1977. This order is known for their fasts and for their building peace pagodas around the world. They are a walking, chanting order - using the small hand drums they chant Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. This chant is at the center of their order and comes from the Lotus Sutra teachings of the Buddha.

If you ask Jun-san what the chant means she will tell you something like, "you know what it means." or something equally Buddhist. She will chant it. She will also greet you with it when she hasn't seen you for a bit. It's how she answers the phone. It's her spirit. It is said that this chant encompasses prayer for all beings and all things and is essential for bringing peace to the world.

Jun-san recently left the Walk for 10 days to return to her Peace Pagoda (one of only two Peace Pagodas in the U.S. - she was gifted this land in 1983 and work was completed in 1998) in Grafton, New York where her community hosted their annual Flower Festival, honoring Buddha's birthday. We missed her while she was gone. She said that we wouldn't, because of the evil twin theory, but we did.

There is an order to things when she is here and a consistency of spirituality...her drumming, her chanting..even though we had the wonderful monks Gilberto Shonin and Kenaida Shonin here to keep the chanting and morning prayers going...Jun-san keeps us moving. If we have more than a couple of days in one place, she will make sure we do directional walks, or sunrise walks...for her, these are not walks for walking sakes, "it is good discipline, to walk every day." Sometimes we tease her and tell her she's addicted to it. "like cigarette," she's said. "but, I no give up walking. I give up cigarette." She was a heavy smoker in her day...drinker, partier. "I crazy woman."

I find her inspiring because of her commitment to her order, to her prayer. Since coming to the states and walking in 78 - she has walked thousands of miles all over the world. For the disarmament of nuclear weapons, for the end to war, for political prisoners. She has chanted outside prison walls for Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and for Dennis. She fasted outside the White House for 55 days in protest of the first Gulf War. According to the Banner article; “Fasting is a good way to connect, to understand suffering people. When people see me fasting, people change their mind.”

This morning I was able to sit with her for a few minutes and ask her about the differences between the 78 and 08 walks, and how she felt this one was going. She told me: "In 1978 I was still just 29-30 years old. My personal way was that I know no English, nothing about Native culture, so I just walk, walk, walk, walk. In 1978 we walk many more miles. Thirty miles everyday and no stopping sometimes for 2 or 3 hours. But sometimes people were tired and they ride bus. But monks were crazy, we just walk, walk, walk, walk."

At the end of the walk, in D.C., her teacher Fujii came and spoke at the closing ceremony. "He told us Japanese people," she remembers, "That our mission in United States is to support Native people because if you make United States for peace, Native prayer is center to this land."

She continued, "And this is most important to me. Not bringing Buddhism, but I feel that Native people's prayer is center for making peace. Native people have a very deep connection with Nature. When my teacher told us this, I felt very same thing and understand what he's talking about. He also said that Native people's history has been so much destroyed by Western culture and Western civilization and so the Native people get weak; so we should beat drum and walk behind them. When I was young nun, just ordained in 1978, I know nothing about Buddhism. But I know I could walk and drum and pray behind Native people. And I have been doing that for 30 years, walking and drumming behind Native people."

I asked her about the difference in focus on these two walks.

"In 1978 the issues were focused on Native people's rights, water rights, treaty rights. Today this is focused on everybody, all nations - so there is more connection to Earth. This walk is very key to the world because we are all related to the planet. Native people have most deep connection to nature and their prayer is deep connection to nature and this is very important key for the world and for all nations. All of these issues are the same all over the world, so I mean everywhere we have to raise up consciousness; so this is a good chance for all nations to come together to do this. So my message to people is that there is no time for war, we have to take care of this beautiful planet and we should be taking care together."

We talked about hopefulness, I told her that some people have lost hope for the healing of Earth. "There is no meaning, hope or not hope. You just have to do, otherwise this planet is finished. People say I am one person, Jun-san cannot change Earth, she has no power, it is not possible. But first you have to so some action. But I have lots of hope, this walk we see many people waving, many people saying hello, many people bringing water. This is hopeful, many people are becoming aware and raising consciousness."

"I appreciate very much people giving up their lives, their money, their school, their family to come on this walk. I think all people here have very deep connection to Earth spirit. People will start talking about other people not walking, or other people are lazy. But I do not believe that. Every person here has good things to offer, each person is helping in their own way. It does no good to look at other people and point fingers. You look at yourself and ask yourself if you are doing what you can do."

I told her I was impressed with the fact that she is up early, chanting; walking every day, drumming every day...that it was hard work.

"Oh no," she said, and she laughed, "hard work is having family life, seeing same guy all the time, same cooking for same people. Having to make money. Go to office. Go to computer. That is hard. This is easy."

Well, when you put it that way...

I love her sense of humor. She is so approachable and I rarely see her take things to seriously (except for walking of course). The other day, one of our walkers, Amy Wagner, asked a question about why she walks behind the monks, so we asked her.

"Oh, because they are monks, I am nun. Woman. That's because when we go through the forest and the elephants come, the men get stomped first."

Nice one Jun-san.

I have had moments of frustration with her though too...I'll admit. But it's fleeting. This morning I was surprised by a 5am walk. I have never missed a walk by being unprepared for it..I was tenting behind the building and really just missed all the hustle. I was up, but not quite ready when the bus was filled up and ready to go.

"Nikki-san -- you walk today?"
"Jun-san! I didn't know!"
"Where you hiding that you don't know?"

I was mad. Mainly because I would've walked - I like drumming behind her and didn't yesterday and would've welcomed the opportunity. But mainly I felt a little ashamed, didn't want to let her down...think I was a slacker. Thought she was mad at me.

But tonight she came up to me, while I was writing my runner blog and gave me these articles. Looked at my pictures on the blog and all seemed okay. Of course it would. I remember her telling me one day in the parking lot about how all peace walks are the same. "Sometimes people walk, sometimes they don't. It no matter really, people do what they do."

But...as with everything...

"So...you run today Nikki-san"
"How many miles"
"Only four?"

Thanks Ju

North Route: GREEN DAYS- LONG WALKS E-mail
Written by Brita Brookes   
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Hello to all from Longest Walk Northern Route. Today's Memorial Day walk began sunny, got cloudy and ended sunny...kinda sounds like my moods sometimes...Anyways Starting early in Richmond the walkers headed east on route 4- towards Englewood which is just outside of Dayton, Ohio. On route the walkers first came upon a farmer family- looked like husband wife and grandfather who were hard at work today clearing rocks from their fields. They were collecting grandfathers I thought... As we approached they asked about the walk and Paul Owns A Sabre and Marie handed out a Longest Walk info postcard.

As a farmers work is truly never done they smiled and went back to work with a really cool green John Deere tractor!

Very cool indeed.

As the walkers continued they went by fields of wheat growing and blowing in the breeze, older farmhouses and field of fresh turned soil. Everywhere we walked, people in the landscape were in the process of growing something- planting, tilling, tending, watering...Spring.

Willie and Patti Lonewolf walked many miles today- Willie held the head staff and Patti held the childrens staff. Oglala Lakota and original walker, Billy Mesteth led with the staff acoss the green landscape of Ohio.

Marsh also carried staff today and Yukio drummed and chanted the entire walk for the day with some very sore toes- I saw those toes!! Pray for Yukio's toes!! :-)

About half way through the walk today, the walkers came through a small town and were joined by two young ladies who were carrying a feather. The two young girls had heard about the Longest Walk and their mother drove them to join us in order to gift us a feather. As the walkers stopped for a break, the 2 young ladies very kindly presented their gift to the walkers via Willie Lonewolf. It was a kind hearted act of goodwill from 2 very promising future leaders and women!! Migwetch for your actions girls.

At this time we also joined again by the Crowdog family and had some fun taking photos during the break- and even one of Lil'crowdogs shoes which are signed by all the walkers! See photo of sooooome sneakers.... :-)

Ok , so where was I in this story, oh yes....The walkers ended the day in Englewood, Ohio at the Future Energy and Conservation Center where we were greeted by a very tall handsome, animated........um group of ...strong as steel.......ummm...windmills!!! HA!! It was a good day for them- wind was constant and as we closed in a prayer circle and smudge you could hear the blades quietly moving in the wind from all 4 directions I am sure....

Due to a technical logistics issue the Walkers went ahead of schedule and drove into Antioch College for a night of food, friends from 1978 and campgrounds in the State Park. As we pulled up to the Corretta Scott Center we were greeted by drums from the Antioch College Community.Paul Owns The Sabre sang a song and then Antioch and Walkers exchanged welcomes and handshakes.

After setting up camp at the State Park, walkers returned to the Corretta Scott King Center for an incredible dinner prepared with no warning in one hour by the Antioch people. The food was incredible- fresh greens, Buffalo, All kinds of really healthy grains and rice dishes with veggies and sauces, delicious desserts, pastas, hot dogs , chips and salsas , gourmet pizza...I though to myself...hmmmm I think I could move in here!! and be one of those...y'know "full time couzins...who are always in the fridge!!" LOL

The walkers enjoyed reuniting with some of the Antioch orginal walkers from 1978 and closed the night with some drumming and singing- the AIM victory song and others. Jimbo, Paul, Billy, Patti, and Willie. A 1978 mini-reunion!


North Route: The Transformation of Scott Mandrell E-mail
Written by Brenda Norrell   
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
When the requiem of the American Indian Holocaust transformed 'Lewis' of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

By Brenda Norrell
Human rights editor
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report

WOOD RIVER, Illinois – When Scott Mandrell walked onto the Earthcycles radio bus on the Longest Walk, there was a surreal moment. Could this be the same person that was dressed in those “funny clothes,” as Carter Camp called them, and postured as Meriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark Discovery Expedition in South Dakota.

Was this the same Mandrell that sat in a circle of Lewis and Clark re-enactors as Lakota, Ponca and Kiowa delivered a requiem, recalling the holocaust and genocide of American Indians.

Yes, it was the same Mandrell and memory served up the legacy. Carter, Ponca, and his son, Vic Camp had revealed that Mandrell had left the Lewis and Clark Discovery Expedition after that fateful encounter on the banks on the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota, in September of 2004, when an American Indian delegation delivered an ultimatum to the expedition.

What had happened? Here, four years later in the relentless rain of Illinois in May of 2008, Mandrell dipped into memory and poetry. “The hoop has come full circle," Mandrell said.

Mandrell described his transformation, from Lewis re-enactor to the host of the Longest Walk Northern Route at Camp Dubois, near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi River in Illinois. In a beautiful land now saturated with toxic spills and asbestos, with most its Native people long gone, Mandrell welcomed the Longest Walkers who spent three months walking here on their way to Washington.

As Mandrell, a science teacher, sat in the Longest Walk radio bus, I read the words delivered to the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Lakota, Ponca and Kiowa in 2004.

Surrounded by a heavy buildup of federal agents and police, Carter Camp told the Expedition in 2004 that Lewis and Clark were harbingers of the Holocaust. “What they wrote down was a blueprint for the genocide of my people. You are re-enacting something ugly, evil and hateful. You are re-enacting the coming of death to our people. You are re-enacting genocide.”

Deb White Plume, Lakota from Pine Ridge gave the expedition a symbolic blanket of small pox. Another Lakota woman from Pine Ridge said she carries the DNA of the Lakota women who survived the slaughters that Lewis and Clark opened the door to. She said she is prepared to die for this cause.“I believe in armed struggle,” Wicopy Wakia Wi of Pine Ridge said. “The act of genocide stops here. We are tired of living poor. We are not afraid to die. I am willing to die.”

She told them they would not proceed up the river.

“You are not going on. I will organize every sister from here to Oregon to stop you.”

After that day in 2004, Mandrell did stop. He left the Lewis and Clark Expedition and formed his own journey, his own adventure that included American Indian friends that he made along the way. Seated on the radio bus, Mandrell remembered meeting with Carter Camp’s son Vic Camp from Pine Ridge, on that day in 2004. “I still have his number on my speed dial.”

Earlier, Vic Camp had remembered the victory of hearing Mandrell had left the Expedition. During an interview in April, 2005, Vic Camp said, “That was a great victory for us.”

But on the banks of the Missouri River in South Dakota on that day in 2004, Lakota elder Floyd Hand, among four bands of Lakota spoke from the well of Holocaust that was chilling.

“We are the descendants of Red Cloud and Crazy Horse.”

“I did not come here in peace.”

Hand said they would not smoke the pipe and if the expedition continues up the Missouri River, the families of the expedition members would suffer the spiritual consequences of small pox.

Referring to the tribal governments who welcomed the expedition, Hand said those tribal governments reflect the same type thinking as the re-enactors and are not the voice of the grassroots people. “The tribal governments are not a voice for us. They are imitating us, like you are imitating Lewis and Clark.”

“We want you to turn around and go home,” Alex White Plume, Lakota from Pine Ridge, told the expedition.White Plume said Lakota are here on this land for a reason.“We were put here by the spirits.” He said the Lakota never lost their language or ceremonies and now they are making these requests: Lakota want their territory back, their treaties to be honored and to be able to continue their healing ways.

White Plume said many Indian people have become assimilated and colonized. “We pray for our own colonized people. We say they are in a prison in the white man’s world.” White Plume said there was no point in the expedition coming here.

“All you did was open up these old wounds.”

Carter Camp warned the expedition to halt or they would be stopped. He said the expedition has been told lies and are spreading lies.

Camp said Lewis and Clark are a part of the American lie.

“They had no honor. They came with the American lie. They murdered 60 million people.”

Read more from that day on the Missouri River of the Stop Lewis and Clark movement in 2004, including the words of Russell Means and Alfred Boneshirt:
Listen to Scott Mandrell's transformation (Earthcycles, Longest Walk Radio May, 2008)
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