We Are The Daughters of Mother Earth,the Yuka and the Ze
mi.Blessed by Grandfather Wei (Sun ) to from the womb of Atabei be born.
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Think native walk in balance

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update of Peace and Dignity Run East Coast 2008..From Jennie Luna

Saludos! Greetings! From the East Coast Tributary route of Peace and Dignity Journeys:
We wanted to write to you all with an update and report back of our journeys since we began in New York City . The purpose of this communicado is to document our journey and to also let all our supporters know the wonderful work and sharing that is being done. Firstly, we want to thank all those who have supported this prayer and run. So many people from the community came together in NY with supplies and monetary donations to help sustain us in this journey. This tributary route would not be possible without your support and energy.
Our journey began on Friday, June 13th 2008 at Riverbank Park in Manhattan , NYC. The altar was prepared & ceremony led by Grupo Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl. The staffs, part of the larger bundle sent down from Alaska , were presented for the first time in a momentous event where many representatives from many Indigenous nations gathered in one circle to welcome the staffs and send off the runners. Over 75 people were in attendance. After the Danza Mexica offered the danzas, six representatives from nations in the East Coast received first each staff and offered a prayer. A Lenape elder, Richard Wolfpaw welcomed us to his people’s territories. Yvonne Beamer (Sandhill-Lenape/Cherokee) and other members of NICHEM, a Native organization in New York led a prayer and requested that we always remember the children when we run. Representatives from the American Indian Community House were present as well as the community at large. We were also asked to pray for the land especially since the park where we stood was once a sewage plant and is now a park overlooking the Hudson River . We were also asked to pray for those peoples/nations relocated or forced from their ancestral lands due to political, social, and/or economic repressions, now living in the urban reality. On this evening, a staff was presenteed to the bundle from Grupo Cetiliztli Nauhcampa presented by Lucia Olea Cruz. This staff representing the Group of the Four Directions was asked to be received and ran with to Panama . This staff represents all Indigenous people of the four directions living in New York City , but specifically the Mexican Indigenous community struggling for survival, both cultural and spiritual. A message to the runners was also sent from Tonya Fritchner, sending her support as a representative at the U.N. Permanent Forum and as a Haudenosaunee woman. Dwayne Perry Sachem Maqua—Chief Bear of the Lenape also sent a message of support to Peace and Dignity. The runners also presented themselves: Elizabeth Rexford (Inuit/Alaska), Elvira Colorado (Chichimec/Otomi), Hortensia Colorado (Chichimec/Otomi), Maximus Matos (Taino), Rafael Landron (Taino), Teyekahliyos “Dagots” Edwards (Onieda), Jennie Luna (Xicana/Caxcan/Mexica).
The evening ended with many people offering donations of food, medical supplies and other donations.
On Saturday 5am, runners and support gathered for a sunrise ceremony at Inwood Park in the Bronx . This park is a sacred site in NY city, with the only mountain in the city, caves and an eagle conservatory, appropriate for P&DJ to begin. Representatives of the Confederation of Taino Peoples were present. Cacique Roberto Mucarro Borrero and Vanessa Inarunikia were present. During the sunrise, Mucarro presented a staff to the bundle which comes from the Lokono Arawack people of Guyana , South America , the grandfathers and grandmothers of the Tainos. This sacred staff, which was presented to the Taino people was now asked to stay with runner Maximus Matos for the duration of his piece of the run and then returned to the cacique. This staff holds three feathers, The eagle and the condor, since the Tainos are also aware of the prophesy, and the hawk, the bird that stays on the islands and is seen as an intermediary bringing the eagle and condor together. Following the sunrise, we walked from the mountain down to Manhattan and then across the george washington Bridge to New Jersey . Core runners and supporters put down their miles and prayers for the day. Core runners continued the journey that day to the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania where they were greeted that evening by Eagle (Apache) and Messina (Lakota) near Easton , PA. They warmly welcomed us to the land they care-take which was once a campground for the Lenape people. Their sacred land is home to ceremonial grounds. The following morning they asked us to run/walk the perimeter of their land which also grows acres of corn and other crops that we were fortunate to eat. Messina shared with us sacred items and staffs passed down to her by her elders and ancestors. She allowed us to stay the night in her teepee on the grounds. The fireflies at night are like an amazing light show. The next morning we wer sent off with a pipe ceremony and made our way to our next destination which was a sacred site for the Sandhill (Lenape/Cherokee) people. A medicine man invited us to a “going to water” ceremony in the Delaware River , the only river that isn’t dammed. He asked us to pray for the waters that are being polluted and to remember the sacred mounds that his ancestors built, which are a connection to many peoples of this continent. He offered two stones from the Delaware River to our bundle and with tobacco offering to the fire he also offered an eagle feather to our lead staff. He also gave us a scroll to carry which lists the names of the people part of the Tsalagi nation. On the scroll it says “one blood” meaning that all his relatives/peoples must come together. He shared some stomp dance songs and sent us on our way. That evening, we made our way to Grantville , PA where our host, Art Woolsey, who was the PA coordinator for the Longest Walk and instrumental in the P&DJ organizing through PA, left his home open for us to rest.
The next day, Monday, we made our way to Carlisle , PA. The elders in the group, have been running 5-10 miles a day! Since we were down to 5 runners (others had left), Everyone had been running 10-15 miles a day. When we arrived in Carlisle, we took the staffs to the old Indian Boarding School (the first one in the U.S. ) which is now a War training school. We circled the boarding school grounds and buildings which were build by Native children. It is now called Jim Thorpe circle. We then had our closing at the cemetery where the children and babies who were taken away from their families and placed in the boarding school died. There were over 100 tombstones.
We continued to our next major destination, Pittsburgh , PA.
People on the road have been very supportive. We’ve only had a couple of minor run-ins with the Highway Patrol, but since we had permission to use the roads, all has been pretty smooth. One man pulled over with water for the runners and told us he was Shoshone and saw us running and wanted to support us. Two Mohawk brothers pulled over and helped one of the runners with water and a ride to the next runner/marker and they gifted him with a medicine pouch. We’ve had some challenges, such as getting lost in the beginning on some of the most confusing roads that have multiple names. We’ve ran in the wrong direction and have encountered some dangerous roads, especially leaving the city. But the rest has been calm, running through PA Amish communities and stopping to eat good pie. We ended our day at a beautiful place called Indian Lake and had our closing under the light of the almost full moon.
By Wed, we finally made our way to Pittsburgh . While on the Hwy 30, the Longest Walk and P&DJ were heading towards each other on the same Hwy. We met on the road in Greensburgh , PA and were so happy to finally meet the walkers. We had a circle in a park on the side of the road and made plans to have dinner in the camp together. We joined the LW2 for a little while and walked with them and then continued our run to Pittsburgh . An original P&D runner from 1992 was with the LW2, John Beck, and wanted to join us for the rest of the day. He helped us drive/pick up runners and shared stories about P&D. When we arrived in Pittsburgh , we were greeted by Miguel Sague, member of the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center, the only Native Center in all of PA. The LW2 joined us and led us to their campsite. Upon arrival, all the LW camp circled up as the P&D runners introduced the staffs. Paul Owns the Sabre received the lead staff and said a prayer with the staff and introduced the staffs from the LW2. He offered 2 songs and then we all had dinner. We did a radio interview on the LW2 media bus. That evening we were hosted by a family from Pittburgh, Johnny Coe (Dakota) and his 5 sons (Ute/Dakota). Shout out especially to Sun Bear and Eagle Boy for their hospitality! Johnny is a well-known artist was so kind to firstly share with us all his contacts in PA to get food donations and other supplied needed. He even donated many of his art posters to us for fundraising purposes. They were all such wonderful and kind hosts. The following day after breakfast with our hosts, we were invited to Miguel’s house and shared P&D pictures and video. Friday, We had a meeting with CCI, Council of Conservation Initiative, and environmental Organization in Pittsburgh . They were able to hook us up with a local food Co-op and with donations. The Co-op let us have a table outside the store to sell our fundraising items and even let us make an announcement to all the shoppers over the grocery store PA system about P&D!
Following this, we went to Miguel’s house for a healing ceremony. The Taino staff needed to be repaired a bit, so Miguel got permission from the Cacique to fix the staff. In addition, he introduced us to his prayer room and Taino healing lodge. He led us in the ceremony with songs and offered another Taino Staff to the bundle that would make its way to Panama . This staff holds ashes from a sacred fire in Puerto Rico . It holds the feathers of all the sacred birds for their people. Each bird represents the four directions, East- Hawk, West- owl, North- Hummingbird, South- Macaw and the Eagle and Condor. This staff is made from a wood found in the Caribbean and is carved with the symbols for fertility, the sun and represents duality of both male and female together. Bundles on the staff come from the different Caribbean islands where Taino people live (Quisqueya or Dominican Republic , Haiti , Borinken or Puerto Rico, and Cuba ). The stones/jewels also come from a Cacique woman from Cuba and represent the stones of the islands. The prayer of the staff is to bring all Taino people together.
Saturday, we made our way to the Farmington PA pow wow where we walked with grand entry and all the staffs of the Longest Walk and P&DJ were joined/united in a circle around the center drum for the duration of the day. We were given the opportunity to speak about Peace and Dignity and sell our fundraising items and meet people from the area. This pow wow was in honor of the summer solstice and also in honor of the white buffalo calf that was born in the zoo right next to the pow wow. That evening we were invited to eat dinner with a nearby Christian community that has done work with the Zapatistas and other Indigenous causes. They cooked us food from their farm and gave us a warm greeting. Later that evening, local folks from the pow wow invited LW2 and P&DJ to a sweat lodge. Two runners represented our group in the sweat. The next day three runners had to depart, the elders and Elizabeth. We were down to two runners, but Sunday, a group of LW2 folks offered to run for P&D for the day. We began the run at the White Buffalo and made our way to Friendsville , Maryland . Fortunately, a family and another runner from LW2 decided to join us for the duration of our route to help us. We now were back to five runners and three children. The next day we ran to Petersburgh , West Virginia and made our way to the Senecca Rocks, a sacred site for the Shawnee people. According to a local man, a descendant of the Shawnee, who guided us to this area, most of the Shawnee people were relocated to Oklahoma, but those that stayed ended up marrying into white families, he was a descendant of one of these families. He told us that when the Senecca Rocks area was being turned into tourist area, they found a burial ground in the location where the visitor’s center was to be built. This man and other AIMsters protested and had a victory. The burial site was left alone and undisclosed and the center was built in another location. We went to the rocks and ran our staffs from there.
The next day we made our way to Virginia . We were received in Harrisonburg by a Danza Family from Tletl Papalotzin. Their family offered danza to the staffs and hosted and received the lead staff and led us in prayer. They arranged a beautiful alter to place the staffs and built a sweat lodge especially for us. The next morning Miguel Angel Muniz ran a lodge for us and his family joined us on the run. They have been wonderful hosts and have given so much to our journey.
As of now, we are preparing to make it to Richmond , Virginia and the Pumunkey Reservation in the next two days. On Friday, we have been invited to Washington DC to the Cuban embassy/intrasection to have an exchange and dialogue with our hosts surrounding issues of political prisoners and other issues of concern that we are praying for. We have been given permission to have ceremony with them and they are looking forward to receiving the staffs. In the evening the Aymara ( Bolivia ) community will be hosting a gathering to receive the staffs and meet the runners. In the next few days we will also join with the Haudenosaunee Spirit of the Youth Unity run and continue running with them for the duration of our route until July 5th when we will unite with the Trail of Tears route in Tahlequah , OK for the closing ceremonies of our legs of the route. From there the staffs will be ran to Taos , NM where they will join the main route making their way south to Panama . This route will unite all legs of the East coast tributary routes and connect them to the main route, carrying all our prayers, work and energy towards Panama .
Thank you for allowing me to share this update in an effort to include all those of you that have been in solidarity with this journey and prayer in your own homes and in your own ways.

Jennie Luna

Tezcatlipoca-a reflection, a moment of reconciliation of the past with the possiblities of the future, not a vision of the light but an awareness of the shadow that is the smoke of lights passing. It is the smoking mirror into which the individual, the family, the clan, nation and barrio must gaze to acquire the sense of memory that steers intuition, the sense of history that calls for liberation.

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