From Morning Star Gali
Copyright © 2008 Gali
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - On February 11, 2008, Longest Walk 2 participants will embark on a five- month journey across America to Washington, D.C. arriving on July 11, 2008. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the historic Longest Walk of 1978 that resulted in historic changes for Native America, hundreds of communities are participating in the Longest Walk of 2008 to raise awareness about issues impacting our world environment, to protect Sacred Sites and to clean up Mother Earth.
The original Longest Walk of 1978 was conducted in response to proposed legislation in Congress that would have abrogated Native Treaties that protected our Native American sovereignty. It defeated those 11 bills and in the following month, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978 was passed. As a result of The 1978 Longest Walk, Indigenous people were granted the federal legislative right to freedom of religion, a fundamental right guaranteed to all Americans under the U.S. Constitution.
"In 1978, our communities faced many hardships such as non-existing religious rights and criminalization of our people who fought for cultural survival, this is why the Longest Walk was necessary. As Indigenous Peoples in the United States, our environment and our cultural survival are directly correlated and are still imperiled today, this is why we must walk once again" states Jimbo Simmons of the International Indian Treaty Council.
The Longest Walk 2 is an extraordinary grassroots effort on a national level to bring attention to the environmental disharmony of Mother Earth. The Longest Walk 2 intends to create educational awareness about the health and wellbeing of Our Mother Earth, The health and wellbeing of our people and communities and the protection and preservation of Sacred Sites. The message from the Longest Walk of 1978 will be carried and continued: "The Longest Walk is an Indian spiritual walk, an historical walk; and it is a walk for educational awareness to the American and the world communities about the concerns of American Indian people." American Indian Movement Co-founder Dennis J. Banks states, "From Alcatraz Island to Washington, D.C., through the elements of the seasons, we shall walk; nothing shall deter us from completing our mission: All Life is Sacred, Protect Mother Earth."
Longest Walk 2 is part of many communities ongoing commitment to protect sacred sites, cultural preservation, and to create awareness about the environment. We are walking to promote positive change in our world. The Longest Walk 2 invites veteran walkers that participated in the 1978 Longest Walk and reach out the new generations of the future to join us.
The Longest Walk 2 will take two routes. The Northern route will travel the original route of 1978 across 11 states and 3,600 miles. The Southern route will follow the 2006 Sacred Run route across 13 states and 4,400 miles. Both routes will visit Sacred Sites across the Nation and promote educational awareness for Sacred Sites protection and preservation. The Southern route will be launching The Clean Up Mother Earth Campaign where Longest Walk participants will work together to clean up our country's highways and roads by collecting debris found along the Longest Walk route.