The Longest Wal…

Posted: September 24, 2013 by returntoalcatraz in Uncategorized

The Longest Walk in 1978 changed the face of Indian Country forever. In 1978 change was in process with the Indian Cild Welfare Act and the Indian Religious Freedom Act; however, the minds of the people were, in a lot of cases, still very stagnate.
The word sovereignty was not in our vocabulary nor in our minds as a doable concept. Many of our communities were just beginning to see the opportunities available to us with the passage of the Civil Right Act and the efforts of the American Indian Movement and the Black Power Movement.
The Longest Walk changed the way we thought, not only about our rights as people, but the way we thought about our responsibilities as Native people. We were reawakened to the concept of seven generations, ceremony, the relationship of everything on, in and above the earth, and that we had a greater responsibility to the earth than we were aware of.
From those very few who started that Walk in 1978, to the thousands who ended it we were changed. Many of us went on to change so many things in Indian Country and we are not done yet.
If you doubt the impact of the Walk in 1978, I challenge you to look at changes that were made on reservations, in urban areas, and even for those who are not recognized by the US Government in the years that followed and see if those change makers were not impacted by the Longest Walk.
Yes, the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Indian Religious Freedom Act and the American Indian Movement itself had a major impact on the shifts in Indian Country, but those individual Native people whose feet hit the pavement from San Francisco to Washington DC in 1978, were the foot soldiers of that change. Without those individual hearts and minds to move that change forward, to work, pray, and plan for the next seven generations, we would not be where we are today.
No, we are not where we need to be, but we are closer than we have been in over a hundred years.

Tawna Sanchez
Longest Walk 1978

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