Wednesday, February 11, 2015
This Day in History: The Longest Walk (1978)
On This Day (2/11/1978): In 1978 "The Longest Walk" started. It was an AIM-led spiritual walk across the United States to support tribal sovereignty and bring attention to 11 pieces of anti-Indian legislation; AIM believed that the proposed legislation would have abrogated Indian Treaties, quantified and limited water rights, and denied other rights to Native peoples The walk began with a ceremony on Alcatraz Island, where a Sacred Pipe was loaded with tobacco. The Pipe was carried the entire distance. This 3,200-mile (5,100 km) Walk's purpose was to educate people about the US government's continuing threat to Tribal Sovereignty; it rallied thousands representing many Indigenous Nations throughout the United States and Canada. Traditional spiritual leaders from many tribes participated, leading traditional ceremonies. On July 15, 1978, "The Longest Walk" entered Washington D.C. with several thousand Indians and a number of non-Indian supporters. After the walkers arrived in Washington D.C., the US Congress voted against a proposed bill to abrogate treaties with Indian Nations and passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.