Friday, July 15, 2016 the Longest Walk 5 reached Washington, D.C. , five months after walkers and their supporters set out from San Francisco to call for an end to drug abuse and domestic violence in Native communities. In a new interview on the NMAI blog, Dennis Banks talks about the history and spirituality behind the movement and why he cares so much about this Longest Walk:
". . . It is now 2016, and I can say unequivocally that we have lost the right time to strike to end drug abuse. What can we do to end drug abuse, prescription abuse? Walking across the country collecting information is only one part. The only thing that is really going to help us is our spiritual and cultural beliefs. We have to recover using our traditional spiritual beliefs like the Sun Dance ceremony, sweat lodge ceremony, pipe ceremony, walking, and running to have a clean and healthy life.
"This is all within our grasp, but if we do not get up and take a stand against drug abuse then we will never get ahead. We are losing generations upon generations of our young people to suicide and drug abuse, and we need to do something to stop this epidemic. We might not be able to stop it within my lifetime, but we need to start something: I will be sure that there is a beginning. We can only blame ourselves if we don’t provide for the seventh generation a much better outlook in life. Let’s start talking about domestic violence, about drug abuse, let’s put these issues on the table and discuss what we can do to help our people."
Read the complete interview at http://bit.ly/LW5DBanks.
|Walking the first Longest Walk in 1978 the length of the country calling attention to treaty rights & defeat 11 anti-NDN bills then before Congress. photo National Walk director, Longest Walk V.|
Since 1978, American Indian activists have used protest marches across the United States to call attention to issues of great concern to their nations and communities. Beginning today, a short blog series traces the history of the Longest Walk movement and reports on the Longest Walk V: Declaring War on Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence, which will reach Washington, D.C., on July 15:
|Dennis Banks leader, teacher, lecturer, activist and author, is an Anishinaabe born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is also Nowa Cumig in the Ojibwe language meaning In the Center of the Universe.|
He has been a longtime leader of the American Indian Movement, which he co-founded in 1968 with Native Americans in Minneapolis.