A prophecy tells that eagle of the north and condor of the south will join at a time when all indigenous people of the western hemisphere will come together spiritually to heal their nations and the earth.
Since 1992, every four years in the spring, runners begin a journey from far north in Alaska and far south of Argentina, passing through first nations communities and sharing spiritual traditions to inspire renewal ancient traditions of caring for the natural world, communities and original peoples.
Each foot beat of each runner is a drum beat and prayer for unity and healing. Each journey has a theme: women, children, families, and sacred sites. This year the journey is for the waters.
Runners carry sacred staffs, hung with many feathers of eagles and other birds, given by hosts on the way. The journey lasts half a year, ending as the runners reunite at a gathering in Guatemala symbolizing the spiritual unity of the prophecy of the eagle and condor.
‘Ksan, where the Skeena and Wetzin’kwa (Bulkley) rivers meet has been a resting stop for the Peace and Dignity Journeys since 1996 and community members welcoming runners with food and ceremonies, as they did over the June first weekend.
Sharah, a young Californian woman on her first run, says that as they talk to people they find there are common struggles. Mining interests are threatening water in Chickaloon, Alaska where the run began. One of the runners is from Fresno, California, where his people are uniting to keep a mining company out of their territory. A woman elder of the north came out to support the runners saying she is facing the damage of mining in her community.
“It’s been really an interesting journey because as we run and go along, people realize that though they may feel isolated in these battles against these multi-national corporations, they’re really not alone,” says Sharah, “ they’re doing it to everyone across the western hemisphere. “
At a time when the headwaters and valleys of the northwest rivers, lifeblood of ancient and modern people are threatened by big industry and divisions run deep, it was a timely and inspiring message of spiritual commitment, unity and hope that the runners brought to the Hazeltons.
The Peace and Dignity Journey 2012 has a Facebook group and a website: http://sandiego.indymedia.org/pdj/