Thursday, June 19, 2008

Longwalker Dennis Banks Calls for Manifesto of Change

Posted by: "Eulynda Toledo-Benalli" toledobenalli

Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:18 pm (PDT)

Message from Dennis Banks 4/12/08

This is Dennis Banks. 30 years ago our first Longest Walk was in progress across Kansas. It was beginning to get hot and our walkers were getting thin and trim. Once again we take to the roads of America to cross this Continent in search of sacred sites needing to be protected and secured for the next generation - in fact for the next Seven Generations. We walk this land to listen to the people and hear their concerns about this Planet we call mother Earth. We walk to remind America that this is still Indian Land, that we are very concerned about the mistreatment and contamination of the Air, the Water and the Soil.

When the Great Spirit asked us to care for the land we accepted this task and duty. It is a committed duty with many responsibilities; within these duties are found the many Spiritual ceremonies that govern our way of life. These ceremonies are conducted daily, weekly, monthly, seasonly, and yearly. In preparation we look for Medicinal plants, herbs, and roots that accompany our ceremonies and songs. Now with this climate change we fear many of the herbs, roots and plants will be lost because of the warming of Mother Earth and of mankind's destructive policies.

In California, we have walked this land thru Rumsey Band of the Wintun Tribe, Yokuts, Santa Rosa Rancheria and the Mojave People at Fort Mohave. In Arizona, we walked through the Haulapai, Havasupai, Yavapai-Apache and Diné Territories. In New Mexico, we walked through the pueblo lands of the Ohkay Owingeh and are about to enter the Taos pueblo territory. Community after community the people welcomed us and fed us. they opened up their homes and shared many tribal stories with us. They showed us family pictures of son and daughters graduating from schools. We saw many photos of men and women in uniform. We became extended families to each other. Then they began to tell us of environmental concerns - what we heard is very troubling.

At this hour we are compiling a "Manifesto for Change." This Work will reflect our findings, suggestions, and Articles for change to members of the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. As we progress on this Document we realize that many Tribal Nations have not had an opportunity share with us their concerns.

We now wish to invite all tribal members and nations from Turtle Island to send, write, email any concerns of the environment in your area or of any outstanding congressional action which may have deprived you of ancestral lands, water or human rights. We shall include them in our Manifesto.

We will walk into Washington, D.C. united with the Northern Route, Michigan running team, many delegations from the Southwest will join us as we walk into D.C. on July 11, 2008. Please note we have less than 90 days before we reach D.C. We are planning the "Cultural Survival Summit" for July 8, 9 and 10, 2008. Should you wish to participate in this historic event, please register online at our website - you will be contacted by the Cultural Survival Summit planning committee. Cultural Survival Summit details will be posted on our website in the coming days.

-We invite Indigenous leaders from around the world to bring a delegation to join us at the Summit and walk into DC with us;
- We invite Indigenous musicians, drum groups, dancers, singers, and performers to join us;
- We invite the Youth of our Nations to join us;
- We invite the Elders of our Nations to join us;
- We invite Native organizations to join us;
- We invite Tribal delegations to join us;
- We invite brothers and sisters from all cultural backgrounds to join us.

As we walk these final 90 days, I will make every attempt to update you at least once a week from this day forward. 30 years ago we did make some changes by walking across this country - now let's make more changes. This country still owes the first nations people a great deal and we shall not abandon what is rightfully ours.

Dennis J. Banks
- from The Longest Walk in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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