Indigenous Peace and Dignity Journey Reaches California's Bay Area
Staff - El Tecolote
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August 5, 2012

Marco Gomez, (Guadalajara, Mexico) closes his eyes in prayer as he begins his leg of the journey in Carcross, Alaska. (Michelle Gutiérrez)

Every four years since 1992, participants in the Peace and Dignity Journey begin their voyage across the American continent from both ends: Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

The journey is a spiritual run that embodies the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor, which mandates that Indigenous Peoples reunite in order to heal and work towards a better future for the generations to come.

“Water” is the theme of this year, reminding those who may have forgotten how important the shared resource is for all.

During a six-month period, runners visit communities where they participate in spiritual practices and traditions; spark dialogue on the issues of peace and dignity for Indigenous Peoples; model their responsibility to Mother Earth, Father Sky and themselves; and receive the community’s prayers.

The journey is broken down in several routes; there are participants running in Mississippi, New York City, Puerto Rico and all over South America. They will all converge in Central America for a final gathering on Nov. 28, in Tikal, Guatemala, where there will be a four-day closing ceremony.

Runners along the two routes in California - one along the coast following U.S. Highway 101 and the other inland along Intersate 5 - just reached Humboldt and Redding respectively.

Those on the coastal route - after visiting the Denali in Alaska, Gitxsan Nation in Canada, and Purépechas, Pomos and Wailaki in California, among many other Indigenous communities - are making their way down to the Bay Area.

Runners are expected to arrive in the Bay Area on Aug. 7, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Instituto Familiar de la Raza in San Francisco; there, they will be greeted by Danza Azteca.

Another group of runners is expected to arrive at the International Friendship House in Oakland at 7 p.m. On Aug. 8 there is an event at the East Side Arts Alliance in Oakland, and on Aug. 9, runners in Oakland and San Francisco will join to head south to San Jose.

“The number of participants varies, we are eight right now, the day before we were 25, including children, grandmas and uncles … It depends on how populated the areas are,” Sharah Nieto, a runner from San Francisco said. “We expect a lot of people to join us in the Bay Area.”

For more information and the latest updates please visit ‘Peace and Dignity Journeys’ Facebook page.

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