Odyssey of the 8th Fire is the true tale
of an epic pilgrimage for the Earth
across North America

by people of all colors and faiths.

  - A creative non-fiction book in online evolution - ◊
© - 2007 by Steven McFadden

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"We are living in a period of time in which we expect to see great changes in the economy of the colonizers...We will soon see the end of an economy based on the supply of cheap oil, natural gas, and other resources, and that will greatly change the face of the world.”

– Basic Call to Consciousness

Day 159 - Tuesday, November 28, 1995 - I had breakfast with Grandfather Commanda, Rita, and Jacki at the Albuquerque motel where he is staying. As we clustered around our coffees in a well-upholstered booth, he told us about his meeting a day ago with Leonard Crow Dog, the Lakota elder. He told us also about a Medicine dream he'd had last night.

Grandfather said he dreamed that the native elders of this region—the Southwest—came to him in spirit.

They communicated with him, and said that they are with our walk. In the dream they told him that they support what we are doing, and that they will overlight our efforts from here to the west.

Grandfather said he talked with the spirits during the dream, that they were encouraging, and that when he woke up this morning he felt good: rested, strong and happy.


Grandfather also told us a story about when he was a young man and worked for the Weyerhauser Lumber Company in Canada. His job was to grade and to mark trees deep in the forest. A Frenchman who was a lot smaller but who had a similar job, was continually hostile and antagonistic toward him, routinely calling him names.

Grandfather said he never answered the man back with an angry word. He said he recognized the insults as a challenge, and made a point of responding only with love. Eventually, he and the Frenchman became friends.

This kind of sacrifice, Grandfather said, is similar to the kind of sacrifice he is asking all the walkers to make now as we step toward the Western Gate.

“It's time to end all the hating and wars,” Grandfather said. "This is the big lesson. Love is the only way."


Jerome Gabriel - of Canada, joined our Sunbow pilgrimage at Santa Rosa, NM. Author photo.

We put a large patrol of walkers out on the road at first light. The plan is for the group of 20 people on the road to walk at least 15 miles toward the west.

At the invitation of Pueblo elders, our base camp has settled on the old ceremonial plaza of Paguate, one of six villages that make up the Laguna Pueblo. This is an honor for us. The Pueblo, alas, is infamous as the home of  the world's largest open-pit uranium mine, ground zero for some of the world's worst mining atrocities.

There are now about 30 pilgrims in our group. No one has seen or heard from Tom, Charlie, Stacey or Lauren since Sunday. We thought we had all put our differences to the side for the sake of the walk, and that they would travel side by side with us from now on. But no one has seen them. No one has heard from them


Laguna Pueblo lies in the San Juan Basin Mineral Belt, which extends over parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah, the Four Corners.

Blue Bead Mountain - Turquoise Mountain/Mount Taylor, NM from the south.

The region is dominated by the massive presence of the Blue Bead Mountain, now known as Mount Taylor, or Turquoise Mountain. It is one of the sacred mountains that mark the Four Corners area of Turtle Island.

Turquoise Mountain is a dormant volcano, towering more than a mile above the desert plateau. The village of Paguate, where we are camped, sits near the foot of the great sacred mountain of the south.


Dump chute at work - in an open-pit uranium mine.

The world's largest open pit uranium mine was situated within 1,000 feet of the village of Paguate.

The Jackpile Mine opened in 1953. It operated 365-days-a-year for 30 years, removing over 24 million tons of ore. When our Sunbow walk arrived, the mine was closed but its remains existed as a festering sore in the middle of the desert.

When the wind blows from east to west, the people of the Pueblo are directly in line with heaps of mine tailings and waste overburden that have been dumped at the edge of the village.

Uranium extraction has been a curse against indigenous peoples, leaving native lands with over a thousand abandoned mines. These mines have, in many cases, poisoned water systems. Miners and their families have suffered long and horifically from cancers and pernicious, death-dealing corruption of the lungs.


Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 160 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

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Odyssey of the 8th Fire Copyright © 2006-2008 by Steven McFadden