'We have just entered the greatest period of change the world has ever known. We have reached a crossroads in human evolution where the only road which leads forward is toward a common passion. In spite of all the apparent improbabilities, a fresh kind of life is starting."
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Day 10 - Sunday, July 2, 1995 - The walkers hit the road early, departing from the home of Kahuna Sassacus. To lend his steps and his prayers for the day, Kahuna went with them.
A light sea breeze and cool mist wafting north from Long Island Sound helped as the walk covered 25 miles, led by VaLaine Lighty, Clayton Peters, and Alycia Longriver. They are all strong walkers.
"The Eastern Pequot people opened their hearts to us," Tom told me, as we checked in with each other by phone. "They are very humble and very true to the Native tradition of greeting strangers who come to their land. We were welcomed with respect and love. They were generous and warm hearted, even though we were strangers." Two other members of the Eastern Pequot Nation walked with the walkers to Niantic this day: Latasha and Joivanna Maddox.
New London - Connecticut, the piers on Long Island Sound.
As they traversed New London the walkers saw the housing projects where some members of the Eastern Pequots now live. Tom observed that highways have cut up the neighborhoods around the projects, and a "gross failure of urban planning -- and an excess of asphalt and concrete -- have created conditions degrading to the human spirit."
Delphine Redshirt, Oglala Lakota, met the walkers and joined them along the road for 13 miles. She is Chairperson of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) Committee for the UN's International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995-2004), and she has been working exceedingly hard. Still, she found time to walk and said she enjoyed finding herself with a group of people representing all the colors of humanity.
Delphine Red Shirt
Delphine honored the walk with a hoop woven from the sage plant for a Sun Dance in South Dakota,a dance she recently returned from. She also offered KnickKnick (red willow).
Delphine is concerned that the walkers are not drinking enough water. "They need good water bottles and canteens," she told me. "They've got to start drinking more water. They could also use a banner to help people identify them and why they are walking."
Delphine let the walkers know that she would open a door for them at the United Nations in New York, so that the walk could speak with some people associated with the House of Mica.
The walkers were guests at a potluck supper in Old Lyme, Connecticut hosted by the Congregational Church. The church also offered a place to camp for the night.
In the days ahead as they journey the length of Connecticut, the walkers will be taking steps along what some scientists consider the worst air-quality corridor in the nation. Massive quantities of toxic air routinely drift up from New York and New Jersey, especially noticeable in the summer. The walkers can feel the toxic crap in their lungs.
From the Kitigan Zibi Reserve in Quebec, Ned Paschene and Grandfather Commanda phoned me in New Hampshire. They told me they have been hosting a gathering of over 200 people up there on the shore of Bitobi Lake over the weekend.
Ned offered tobacco to William on Friday (June 30), and then Grandfather gathered a large circle of people together to make a special pipe ceremony for the Sunbow 5 walkers. Grandfather asked me to let the walkers know that "everything is going to be alright."
Grandfather mentioned that last week in Ottawa he had helped to open a big meeting involving the First Nations chiefs from across Canada. He told me that spoke with the chiefs about the walk.
They asked Grandfather: "Why are they walking? What is this all about?
"I told them that it was time," Grandfather said. "I told them to look around the world at the floods, the earthquakes, the unexplained diseases, the hatred, and all of that. I told them it was time to walk."
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 11 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire