Saturday, March 1, 2008
By Brenda Norrell
ELY, Nevada -- Western Shoshone elders from the Ely Indian Colony joined the Longest Walk 2 Northern Route for a parade with a float through downtown Ely on Friday, Feb. 29. The parade was welcomed to the Ely Indian Colony, with a drum song and a huge feast of chicken, meatloaf and large pots of stews and cornbread.
Julie Brown, Lakota from Pine Ridge, came all the way from her home in Ethete, Wyoming, in a memorial tribute to her father, Henry Red Bear Brown, Lakota from Pine Ridge, who was an original Long Walker in the 1978 walk. Brown joined her sister Bernice Thompson, who lives in Ely, to host the memorial honor.
Brown and Thompson presented star quilts to Jimbo Simmons, coordinator of the Longest Walk northern route, and Tomas Reyes, keeper of the Staffs and Eagle feathers.
During the evening, Shoshone community members spoke out against a proposed coal-fired power plant here and water extraction for the insatiable thirst of Las Vegas. Shoshone also said the BLM and Forest Service are profiteering from the Shoshones' traditional lands and demanding that Shoshones pay fees for willows gathered for basketmaking. Shoshone women were told they would have to pay 10 cent per willow.
"The BLM and Forest Service are armed," said one Shoshone elder, pointing out that a permit is also required for traditional gathering of pine nuts.
Further, because of the US government's actions of eradicating many of the jackrabbits and coyotes, the ecosystem here is out of balance. "Men can not play god and that is what they are doing," said one Shoshone elder.
"Now we don't see the birds, coyotes and rattlers. There is no ecological balance." The Western Shoshone elder said that the recent earthquake here should have sent a signal to halt plans to pump water out for Las Vegas and stop the destruction and poisoning of Mother Earth.
Western Shoshone spiritual person Johnnie Bobb, Yomba Shoshone, led a sunrise ceremony on Saturday, March 1, for walkers and community members. After a breakfast feast at Ely Indian Colony, the Longest Walk 2 walkers and runners continued their prayer journey for Mother Earth, on Hwy 50, to Baker, where the Longest Walk will stay two nights.
Photo: In Ely Indian Colony, Nevada, on the Longest Walk Northern Route, Julie Brown and Bernice Thompson honor their father, original Long Walker Henry Red Bear Brown, Lakota from Pine Ridge. Photo Brenda Norrell