They started at Alcatraz on February 11th.
Five months. Two routes. Over 4,000 miles. From sea to shining sea.
175 days (4200hrs.) ago walkers from all over Indian country as well as international allies embarked on a journey that carried them through rain, snow, and even a tornado.
Two paths were taken to make the journey, both a Northern and Southern route, in order to bring awareness to and address environmental and sacred sites protection, cultural survival, youth empowerment and Native American rights.
Thousands of walkers, which included new born babies and elders in their 90s, representing more than 100 Nations joined the Walk along the way. The Navajo (Dine’ Nation), Hopi, Apache, Havasupai, Tunica-Biloxi, Anishinaabeg, Wintun, Hualapai, Lakota, Six Nations, Ute, Washo, and many others as well as representatives from New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Italy, Holland, Poland comprised the diverse Walk. As they walked they picked up more than 8,000 bags of trash on the roads they traveled.
And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
This speech was delivered the night before his assassination. The power of it was, and remains, incredible. Each time I’ve heard it, I feel a thrill in my heart – and a terrible chill down my spine. As others have wondered, I too wonder if he didn’t know or have some inkling of what was to come.
Perhaps he knew – not that he would die very soon – but that his power, the power of his words and his actions, the power and strength of the movement as a whole, was becoming too great for those who opposed equality, and so – eventually – they would find a way and he was reconciled to that.
Perhaps he was simply at peace with death, because death could not hurt him; it could only unite him with the Lord he served.
And so I’m happy, tonight.
I’m not worried about anything.
I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!