July 20, 2008

Walking and rocking

Longest Walk II reaches Washington

Northern, southern routes converge to deliver manifestoThe 2008 walk, under the theme "All Life is Sacred: Clean Up Mother Earth," successfully drew attention to universal issues like global warming, as well as the hard issues currently affecting Native communities, said Dennis Banks, organizer of the walk.

Banks, flanked by a crowd of walkers, delivered a manifesto to Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., in a park near the Capitol building.

The manifesto specifically mentioned health, environmental exploitation, poverty and Native mascots as ongoing issues.

Sixteen resolutions in the manifesto asked Congress to enact legislation to protect Native sacred sites, ensure Native consent and sovereignty over actions affecting their lands, and halt resource exploitation and environmental damage in the Arizona Peaks, Pilot Knob, Glen Cove, the Colorado River, Black Mesa and Desert Rock.

A call for improved Indian health services, the ratification of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, federal recognition for the Houma Tribe, freedom for Leonard Peltier and the establishment of an Environmental Bill of Rights were among the other resolutions.
The longest rock

Musical harmony caps the Longest Walk IIAfter walking 8,300 miles from Alcatraz to Washington, some people's feet were no doubt hurting. But that didn't stop them from dancing.

Several bands and individual musicians were on hand to perform at the closing ceremonies of the Longest Walk II, held in the shadow of the nation's Capitol July 12 and 13. The event took place in recognition of the original 1978 American Indian Movement Longest Walk for Native Rights.
And:The highlight of the closing ceremonies for many young Indian people in attendance was an appearance by the increasingly popular metal group Bloodline. The band, composed of vocalist Loren Anthony, guitarists Virgil Wilson and Leland Anthony III, and drummer Davidson Steel, has been performing in the Southwest region since 1998.

Bloodline is set to soon release a full-length album and is currently seeing its music rotated on a growing number of rock stations nationwide.

The group decided to join Longest Walk II for its closing events to help spread awareness of the mission. In their effort, the band premiered a song especially for the movement called "My Blood, My Sweat, My Tears." Anthony, a member of the Navajo Nation, said that they will be playing the song on an upcoming airing of the popular "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" late night show.
Comment:  I wonder how successful this "successful" walk was. The walkers didn't get much coverage in the national press. They came up about 1,999,000 people short of their goal of getting 2 million people to gather in Washington.

Now that Rep. Conyers has the manifesto, will we ever hear of it again? I'd have to guess no.

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