"He (Peacemaker) said that as human beings have the capability of thinking, human beings can reach the conclusion that peace is a more appropriate state of being than war. All human beings who are capable of thinking will thus want to find ways to reach peace..."
- John Mohawk
Day 5 - Tuesday, June 27, 1995 - The Sunbow prayer walk passed through New Bedford and on to Westford, Massachusetts. Bright skies and a cooling sea-breeze offered uplift.
Although the weather was lovely, it was a day of difficulties. There’s just not enough space in Bess -- our little blue truck -- to move all the backpacks, tents, food, cooking supplies and so forth. Thus, some of the walkers have to make several trips to haul the equipment, and to shuttle those who are actually walking from wherever they are on the road to the campsites. This maneuver involves basic logistics, and the walkers have been all but clueless. In my home office in New Hampshire, I am of no help whatsoever.
New Bedford scene
The walkers passed through neighborhoods in New Bedford where drugs and alcohol have a ferocious grip. Some of the younger walkers felt uneasy, but they all said prayers and walked on.
Matt Bruno quit our walk today. That’s a real disappointment to me. A week ago Matt and I had driven together from New Hampshire to Cape Cod for the start of the walk. We had quickly become friends. I felt that his strength, vitality, and competence would be an enormous asset to our overall walk effort. He is just 18, and filled with idealism and determination.
But when Matt called today he told me that he’d had enough. He said that on a couple of occasions he had seen Tom blow his stack at people, and that Tom had gotten angry and yelled at him, too. Matt said beyond the incidents with Tom, while on the walk he had come to recognize that he has a fundamental responsibility to be with his young daughter; that rather than walking across America to save the planet, his work right now is to be a good father to his little girl.
We are going to miss Matt. He was vigorous and cheerful. With his departure there are now 14 people in the core group. More people are expected to join over the coming week. We shall see.
The walkers returned to the Watuppa Reservation to spend the night again at a place where they have been generously received by the Assonet Band of the Wampanoag Nation. Chief Windsong Blake came by in the evening for a pipe ceremony in the Sun Dance circle.
Tom reports many Wampanoag relatives have come out to visit the walk. "Chief Windsong has ensured that we have received a warm welcome,” he said. “They are taking good care of us."
Several members of the Acushnet Environmental Alliance also visited. They have been working to clean up the Acushnet River, which flows by the Watuppa Reservation. The river is one of the most polluted sites in America, loaded with PCBs and other toxic substances. The industrial pollution that arises from the cities near the reservation remains a vast, ongoing insult to earth and sea.
Copyright 2006 - by Steven McFadden
Read Day 6 - Odysssey of the 8th Fire