"Mik'Maq...Respect for their elders has given them wisdom about life and the world around them. The strength of their youth has given them the will to survive. The love and trust of their motherhood has given them a special understanding of everyday life."
Day 19 - Tuesday, July 11, 1995 - Having found a place to camp for a day or two, the walkers slept late at the home and in the yard of Jim Dunning and Jane Therese in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, close to the New Jersey line. In the morning about half the group headed back to Trenton, to break into smaller patrols again, and to make some prayerful miles.
The walkers carried the Eagle Staff through Trenton and down the west edge of New Jersey close to Camden, covering about 27 miles.
|Trenton - Capital of New Jersey. (Photo by Umlaut Steve, courtesy of flckr.com)
Once again the walkers got separated and lost. They had to expend reserves of energy to find one another. This kind of confusion has happened repeatedly, and some have started calling these routine episodes "The Sunbow Zone."
Tom tried to explain the dilemma by observing that when state highways hit the inner city they rarely continue directly; they zig and zag a lot, and often the signs marking the way are inadequate. "That's what's goofing us up," he said.
At the invitation of Denise Tababan (Nez Perce) and Chris Whillett (Mik'Maq), the walkers visited in the evening with members of the Native American Alliance of Bucks County, Even with short notice, the gathering had a tremendous turnout, and members of the Bucks Country group were keen to hear about the walk and the reasons for it.
Jim Dunning, a member of the Alliance, stood up at the gathering to say "These Sunbow 5 walkers are individually and collectively, one of the strongest, most committed spiritual alliances it has ever been my privilege to meet. They are doing what must be done, not just for Mother Earth, but also for the soul of the world."
After the meeting the walkers visited with a Mik'Maq elder named Ed Fell, 76, who has lived in the region since he was five years old. Ed told them how he had found a canoe and some bones buried on his land. The artifacts turned out to be over 1,000 years old, and belonged to an Indian woman and her children.The walkers tried to imagine how life would have been for that family on this land so long ago. Ed told them that, with full ceremonial respect, he had reburied the remains.
Late that night on Ed's land the walkers participated in a Metachan lodge ritual. Metachan is the Cree term for what is sometimes called purification, or sweat, or stone people's lodge. Others may know it by the Lakota word, Inipi, or the Wampanoag term, Pesuponk. "It's where we go to renew and purify ourselves," Ned explained. "It's a way for us to communicate with Great Spirit, our ancestors, and Mother Earth."
The women entered the lodge first, while the men waited in a nearby cabin and told stories. Then the men made their lodge. That night after the lodges had cleared their senses, under the Full Moon all beheld a natural wonder. They saw hundreds upon hundreds of lightning bugs dancing gently in the soft night air. "It was a scene of unforgettable beauty," Clayton Peters said, "unforgettable beauty."
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden