Ute People Welcome the 30th Anniversary of Historic Native American Rights March, The Longest Walk 2
Longest Walk 2 Support the Ute Peoples' Right to protect their Sacred Sites and Homelands
By Longest Walk Northern Route
MONTROSE, CO- On Sunday, March 16th, after traveling almost 1,000 miles on foot from San Francisco, CA, the Northern Route of the Longest Walk 2 will be hosted by the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, CO. On February 11, 2008 Longest Walk 2 participants embarked on a five-month journey from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. to bring attention to the environmental disharmony of Mother Earth and the effects of environmental destruction on Native American people as well as the need for the protection of Sacred Sites as a means for cultural survival.
Sunday evening at 5pm the Montrose community and Ute tribal members will join walkers arriving at DeMoret Park on Main and Townsend. Walkers and their supporters will pass through town on their way to a community potluck hosted at the Ute Indian Museum. The walkers will spend two days resting, sharing stories and learning about the local region's rich cultural legacy of rock art sites, sacred places and Ute history, as well as issues affecting the local community.
"Open space being eaten up is the biggest thing here." Says CJ Brafford, Director of Ute Indian Museum. "Our mother earth is just being developed. We are just trying to preserve our open space so we can see the mountains."
Monday at 1:00 pm, following a morning blessing and a therapeutic trip to the hot springs, producers Beth and George Gage will join the walkers to show and discuss their film, Our Land, Our Life which documents the struggle of Western Shoshone Grandmothers, Carrie and Mary Dann, to maintain their ancestral ways and protect the land from gold mining degradation on their homelands.
On Tuesday walkers will visit Shavano Valley to hear archaeological and native perspectives on the Rock Art site. Afterwards a Community gathering potluck dinner prepared by a delegation of Ute Mountain Ute supporters of stew and fry bread, will accompany an evening of sharing and welcome at 6 pm. The evening will include a prayer welcome by Roland McCook, an Uncompahgre Ute; Montrose Mayor, David White; CJ Brafford, Director of Ute Indian Museum; and an American Indian Sign Language presentation. The hosts will invite Walkers to share with them the mission for this walk and ask them to share their stories as well.
A sunrise blessing at 7 am Wednesday morning will send the walkers on their way, with donations and prayers, as they push ahead towards snow covered Monarch Pass on their long journey to Washington D.C.
The Longest Walk 2 is stopping in communities all across Turtle Island to listen to Native peoples concerns and pressing issues, to document and deliver them to U.S. officials in D.C. A contingent of Walkers will also make a special trip to the Ute Mountain Ute reservation and tribal peoples to hear the concerns of their community.
This walk consists of Indigenous peoples from North, South, and Central America, as well as people from Europe and Asia. The 2008 walk will mark the 30th anniversary of the original Longest Walk of 1978 that resulted in historic changes for Native America. In July of 1978, thousands converged on the Nations' capitol to oppose and successfully defeat 11 pieces of legislation in Congress that would have terminated many significant treaties between the federal government and tribes nation wide.
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