The Longest Walk 2

This spring, Native activists will walk across the United States together. The Longest Walk 2 will mark the 30th anniversary of the historic Longest Walk — the last major event of the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement in which several hundred Native Americans marched from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. to symbolize their forced removal from their homelands and to draw attention to continuing problems plaguing the Indian community. Longest Walk 2 will take two routes from the Bay Area to Washington, DC to raise awareness about issues impacting the environment, to protect sacred sites and to clean up Mother Earth. The five month journey will conclude July 11.

The original Longest Walk in 1978 was conducted in part to protest proposed legislation that would have dissolved Native Treaties which protected Native American sovereignty. As a result of The 1978 Longest Walk those 11 bills were defeated and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978 was passed.

“In 1978, our communities faced many hardships such as non-existing religious rights and criminalization of our people who fought for cultural survival, this is why the Longest Walk was necessary. As Indigenous Peoples in the United States, our environment and our cultural survival are directly correlated and are still imperiled today; this is why we must walk once again” states Jimbo Simmons of the International Indian Treaty Council.

The Longest Walk 2 is an extraordinary grassroots effort on a national level to bring attention to environmental disharmony; it is part of many communities’ ongoing commitment to protect sacred sites, preserve cultures, and create awareness about the environment. The message from the Longest Walk of 1978 will be carried and continued: “The Longest Walk is an Indian spiritual walk, a historical walk; and it is a walk for educational awareness to the American and the world communities about the concerns of American Indian people,” according to American Indian Movement Co-founder Dennis J. Banks.

The Longest Walk 2 will take two routes. The Northern route will travel the original route of 1978 across 11 states and 3,600 miles. The Southern route will follow the 2006 Sacred Run route across 13 states and 4,400 miles. Both routes will visit sacred sites across the Nation and promote educational awareness for sacred sites protection and preservation. The Southern route will be launching The Clean Up Mother Earth Campaign where Longest Walk participants will work together to clean up our country’s highways and roads by collecting debris found along the Longest Walk route.

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