13 August 2002, New Mexico -- About 20 people gathered in Chimayo, NM August 6th through 9th to prepare for the Family Spirit Walk (FSW), a 2-month 800-mile walk to protest the devastating impacts of military weaponry and test programs on people and the environment. After a sweat lodge, Danny & Levina Johns from the Navajo Nation and Little Big Medicine Sundance in Arizona arrived to offer blessings and a pipe ceremony; Willy brought the walking staff from the European Peace Pilgrimage & Walk For Mother Earth so that it could be carried again.
The FSW represents the tangible continuation of a decade of prayer and activism which activists hope has slowed the nuclear arms race. This year the walk addresses current military initiatives such as the "star wars" program, which, according to Bruce Gagnon of the Florida-based Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, consumes US resources and tax dollars to the detriment of the environment and global security.
The FSW started out beautifully on Friday, August 9th, with about 48 miles travelled in the first three days from Tsankawie, through Los Alamos, and on into the Santa Fe National Forest. The next day's Albuquerque newspaper for Santa Fe had a large full-color photo of "No More Nucs Norb" wishing a passing motorist peace and encouraging all to remember Nagasaki (the words on his shirt) for the day. Nights are quite chilly at 10,000 feet above sea-level forest heights, and the Perseid Showers (falling stars of early August each year) were terrific sights. The walkers took advantage of the comfortable climate for a day of rest on Monday the 12th and began walking again today. 30 people began the walk, including local Colorado & northern New Mexico folks and some from out of state; the core group of 23 walkers is continuing today.
According to walker Marc Page, on the third evening the women of the Redondo Retreat Center at Jemez Springs, NM made a great dinner, and Kevin Camps & Susi Snyder told the group about the politics of the Yucca Mountain Project, the sacredness of the mountain and the trouble with nuclear energy/waste. Many bathed in the nearby hotsprings that night. The walkers have had much contact with local people who drive by, some of whom stop to offer words of encouragement or to discuss nuclear issues. Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 14th, the walkers will arrive in Cuba, NM and then take a day off Thursday to rest and clean up.
The walkers will be sending telephone updates to their website coordinator, so you can see what they're up to on the site at http://www.angelfire.com/retro/nuclear. You're invited to join them in Gallup, NM on August 26th, and/or at the Action for Nuclear Abolition Nonviolent Direct Action Peace Camp at the Nevada Test Site on October 11th.