By Diane A. Rhodes
The Southern California route includes stops at Pechanga, Soboba and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians before continuing to Agua Caliente in Palm Springs on Saturday.
"If you're not diabetic nobody really moves to action--I was that way two years ago," said Dennis Banks, who is leading this trek across America. "But then I was diagnosed."
By Kathy Day
Pre-event presentations will begin at 6 a.m. with the walkers taking off at 9:45. They will spend the night at the San Pasqual reservation. On Tuesday they’ll go from Rincon to Pauma, Pala and then Pechanga reservations.
La Jolla was chosen as the starting point because of its historic significance to the Kumeyaay Nation. Members would stay along the ocean in the winter and journey back to the mountains and deserts as the weather warmed, said Louie Guassac, assistant coordinator for the Walk and a member of the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians.
A Facebook page describing the walk, being led by A.I.M co-founder Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, notes the route will cover Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Banks, himself a diabetic, says on the site that “diabetes has reached an epidemic state in Indian Country and the percentage of diabetes amongst Native Americans may be as high as 75 percent,” although the Indian Health Service’s estimate is at 35 percent.