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The Longest Walk

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Longest Walkers meet police in Columbus.

In my office is an American Indian Movement emblem, and at home is my AIM t-shirt. I became all the more interested in the movement after reading Dennis Banks’s autobiography Ojibwa Warrior, and then meeting him in 2006 at the conclusion of the Sacred Run. We are both friends of Jun Yasuda, who joined Dennis from California when he went "underground to the Onondaga Reservation in New York" after California’s Jerry Brown — who refused to extradite Dennis to South Dakota concerning criminal charges over the Wounded Knee event — left the governor’s office.

1978 saw the Longest Walk, which is described by the 2008 Longest Walk page as "a peaceful, spiritual effort to educate the public about Native American rights and the Native way of life. Native American Treaty Rights under the U.S. Constitution are to be honored as the supreme law of the land.  The 3,600 mile walk was successful in its purpose: to gather enough support to halt proposed legislation abrogating Indian treaties with the U.S. government."

Thirty years later is a new Longest Walk, with the following purpose:

"We walk with the message: All Life is Sacred, Save Mother Earth.

"We shall walk for the Seventh Generation, for our youth, for peace, for justice, for healing of Mother Earth, for the healing of our people suffering from diabetes, heart conditions, alcoholism, drug addiction, and other diseases.

"Through the elements of the seasons, we shall walk through the rain, snow, over mountains, high winds, through the heat and cold, nothing shall deter us from completing our mission: All Life is Sacred, Protect Sacred Sites.

"Let those who doubt, hear our pledge. Let those who believe, join our ranks. As we walk the final miles, by our side will be elders, families, children, people of all races, from many walks of life, the old and the new America. All Life is Sacred, Clean Up Mother Earth."

As the Longest Walk winds down, a signing ceremony of the Sovereignty Declaration of One Nation will be held in Greenbelt, Maryland on July 8,9, 2008, at Greenbelt Park. The announcement of this signing ceremony says that "many Elders and Nations from around the world will be present."

The same website alleges unjust harassment by police in Columbus. Above is YouTube footage.

Finally, I recently updated Nipponzan Myohoji’s local website to announce the welcoming of the Longest Walkers on July 12 at the conclusion of the walk. If you go, let me know you are there.

What does this blog entry have to do with my law practice? It is about never giving up in the face of adversity, and focusing on victory through hard work, patience, and time. Jon Katz