Message From Dennis Banks - Lummi Nation, Dalai Lama Share Vision Of Peace
Submitted by the Western Shoshone Defense Project
By Dennis Banks
This is Dennis Banks - 30 years ago our first Longest Walk was in progress across Kansas. It was beginning to get hot and our walkers were getting thin and trim. Once again we take to the roads of America to cross this Continent in search of sacred sites needing to be protected and secured for the next generation - in fact for the next Seven Generations. We walk this land to listen to the people and hear their concerns about this Planet we call mother Earth. We walk to remind America that this is still Indian Land, that we are very concerned about the mistreatment and contamination of the Air, the Water and the Soil.
When the Great Spirit asked us to care for the land we accepted this task and duty. It is a committed duty with many responsibilities; within these duties are found the many Spiritual ceremonies that govern our way of life. These ceremonies are conducted daily, weekly, monthly, seasonly, and yearly. In preparation we look for Medicinal plants, herbs, and roots that accompany our ceremonies and songs. Now with this climate change we fear many of the herbs, roots and plants will be lost because of the warming of Mother Earth and of mankind's destructive policies.
In California, we have walked this land thru Rumsey Band of the Wintun Tribe, Yokuts, Santa Rosa Rancheria and the Mojave People at Fort Mohave. In Arizona, we walked through the Haulapai, Havasupai, Yavapai-Apache and Diné Territories. In New Mexico, we walked through the pueblo lands of the Ohkay Owingeh and are about to enter the Taos pueblo territory. Community after community the people welcomed us and fed us. they opened up their homes and shared many tribal stories with us. They showed us family pictures of son and daughters graduating from schools. We saw many photos of men and women in uniform. We became extended families to each other. Then they began to tell us of environmental concerns - what we heard is very troubling.
At this hour we are compiling a "Manifesto for Change." This Work will reflect our findings, suggestions, and Articles for change to members of the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. As we progress on this Document we realize that many Tribal Nations have not had an opportunity share with us their concerns.
We now wish to invite all tribal members and nations from Turtle Island to send, write, email any concerns of the environment in your area or of any outstanding congressional action which may have deprived you of ancestral lands, water or human rights. We shall include them in our Manifesto.
We will walk into Washington, D.C. united with the Northern Route, Michigan running team, many delegations from the Southwest will join us as we walk into D.C. on July 11, 2008. Please note we have less than 90 days before we reach D.C. We are planning the "Cultural Survival Summit" for July 8, 9 and 10, 2008. Should you wish to participate in this historic event, please register online at our website - you will be contacted by the Cultural Survival Summit planning committee. Cultural Survival Summit details will be posted on our website in the coming days.-
We invite Indigenous leaders from around the world to bring a delegation to join us at the Summit and walk into DC with us;
- We invite Indigenous musicians, drum groups, dancers, singers, and performers to join us;- We invite the Youth of our Nations to join us;
- We invite the Elders of our Nations to join us;
- We invite Native organizations to join us;
- We invite Tribal delegations to join us;
- We invite brothers and sisters from all cultural backgrounds to join us.
As we walk these final 90 days, I will make every attempt to update you at least once a week from this day forward. 30 years ago we did make some changes by walking across this country - now let's make more changes. This country still owes the first nations people a great deal and we shall not abandon what is rightfully ours.
Dennis J. Banks
- from The Longest Walk in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Lummi Nation, Dalai Lama Share Vision Of Peace
Lummi Nation, Dalai Lama share vison of peace
Posted by: "Eulynda Toledo-Benalli" mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tribe presents Tibetan leader with traditional hat, sash, necklace
April 13, 2008
JOHN STARK, SEATTLE — The Dalai Lama donned a Lummi Nation cedarbark hat Sunday as he urged a small audience of Native Americans to safeguard their culture. A Lummi delegation presented him with the hat as well as a sash and necklace during a brief meeting that followed his main address to a gathering of about 50,000 people inside the stadium. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetans and head of that land’s government-in-exile. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
The setting for his meeting with the native groups was a bit incongruous: the FSN Lounge inside Qwest Field, beneath larger-than-life portraits of Cortez Kennedy, Jim Zorn and other members of the Seattle Seahawks’ Ring of Honor. But the drums and chants of the Lummi, Tulalip and other tribes transformed a sports fan’s watering hole into a place of ceremony.
“There was a lot of good feeling in the room,” said Darrell Hillaire, a former Lummi chairman who serves on the organizing committee for the five-day Seeds of Compassion
event that brought the Dalai Lama to Seattle. The gifts the Dalai Lama wore as he departed had been crafted at Lummi Nation’s Cultural Learning Center under the direction of Doralee Sanchez.
“I’m honored that he went out wearing what we’d made at our cultural center,” Sanchez said.
“It kind of brought tears to my eyes to see him with the hat, the sash, the necklace.”
Sanchez said the youngsters who learn Lummi crafts at the center worked for weeks on the gifts for the Dalai Lama and his entourage. She said the Tibetan leader had expressed interest in learning how native Americans preserve their cultures after being displaced from their ancestral lands, as he himself has been displaced since his exile to India in 1959 after the Chinese government in Beijing tightened its grip on Tibet. “We wanted to show him how we do it through our youth,” Sanchez said. “I think he really did get an up-close look at who we are and what we do.”
She added that the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion is a natural fit with traditional Lummi ways. “You have very little but you share what you have,” Sanchez said. “That’s how we were raised.” Other people from Whatcom County also went to Seattle for the event. “It’s been one of my lifelong dreams to get a blessing from the Dalai Lama,” said Bellingham resident Shelley Muzzy.“It was fabulous.”
Before the Dalai Lama spoke to the stadium throngs earlier in the day, the Lummis joined a colorful procession of cultures marching into the stadium on the first warm and sunny day of the year to greet the spiritual leader. Among the marchers were Cambodian, Indian, Vietnamese, Iranian and Chinese contingents.
James and Lutie Hillaire of Lummi were among the small delegation of dignitaries who joined the Dalai Lama on the rostrum, along with Gov. Chris Gregoire. James Hillaire, wearing a feathered headdress, also addressed the crowd, thanking the Duwamish tribe for allowing the gathering to take place on their ancestral lands. “We are always honored when we receive guests from so far away, from different lands,” Hillaire said. He got enthusiastic applause when he added, “We have been taught that we are all brothers, we are all sisters. It doesn’t matter the color of our skin or our culture.”
The Dalai Lama opened with words of humility. “Some people come to listen with great expectations,” he said. “That’s a mistake. … I am just one human being.” Consulting occasionally with an interpreter at his side, he sat in a red upholstered armchair to tell his audience that a more peaceful world must begin with them.
“Many of the problems are essentially man-made problems,” he said, adding, with a mischievous grin, “Women may be less troublemakers. Sometimes, in the home, in the family, women are the top troublemakers.” But at the global level, he said, men are causing most of the trouble. Later, as an obviously appreciative Gregoire clasped his hand, he mused that female leaders may help the world become more compassionate.
“Women may have a greater, important role,” he said. “Females, I think, should take a more important role in this age.” Observing that the 20th century had been marked by bloodshed, he urged his audience to make the 21st century “the century of dialogue.”
“If you use force in order to solve one problem, it often creates unexpected side effects,” he said. “The concept of war is outdated.” While he agreed that world leaders need to consider nuclear disarmament, he also observed that laying down weapons is not enough. “We need inner disarmament,” he said, calling on his listeners to root out suspicion and fear from their hearts. By taking care of the needs of others, we make it more likely that others will meet our needs, he said. “Selfish should be wise-selfish rather than foolish-selfish,” he said.
After his address, he answered questions that organizers had selected from hundreds submitted in writing. One questioner wanted to know what compassionate people could do to get their leaders to move away from use of force. “The real answer for that question? I don’t know,” he replied. But he also said he saw small signs of hope, small signs of gradual change in the way world leaders address problems.
He suggested that world leaders and their families should get together for a week or two to get to know one another without discussing any weighty matters. Then, he said, when weighty matters must be discussed, they will be more likely to see one another as fellow human beings. “If each individual makes the effort, without losing hope, I think this century will be a better century, a happier century,” he said.
Reach John Stark at 715-2274
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