"Contrast the mushroom cloud, the crown of an anti–king who dispenses death, illness and suffering, against the coming in the clouds from the east, the radiant sky forms crowning a heavenly source of grace."
- Charles Lawrie
Day 28 - Thursday, July 20, 1995 - From Gunpowder State Park to the neighborhoods of Baltimore city, Maryland, the Sunbow walkers traversed 23 miles. All went well; no confusion.
In the evening the walkers joined the American Friends Service Committee at a photography exhibit that stunned some, and profoundly impacted all: "The Human Face of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." The exhibit commemorated the 50th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Japanese cities at the end of World War II. Within seconds the nuclear bombs destroyed the lives ofhundreds of thousands of families, and released radioactive pollution that lingered for decades.
In remarks to the group at the photo exhibit, Tom said, "It's heavy stuff for us to look at. Two years ago I visited Hiroshima and made a pipe ceremony at Ground Zero, the precise place where the atomic bomb hit in 1945. It really had an impact on me and everyone else. This exhibit brings it back.
"All instruments of war made in the United States for the last 300 years have been taken from the sacred Earth Mother that we are charged with protecting. All those weapons -- the atomic bombs, the bullets, the guns, the tanks, the cannons, all of it -- have been made from the metals, woods, and other materials that are part of this Turtle Island continent. Those materials were taken from sacred places on the Earth without the permission of the spiritual caretakers. No one asked, and the caretakers could not stop them.”
"The uranium used to make the atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was mined in sacred areas of the Hopi and Navajo people in the Four Corners region. The places where the ore was mined are places specifically warned about in traditional teachings," Tom said. "Those teachings make it plain that the earth should not be disturbed there; very destructive things would come from it. No one listened to the traditional spiritual caretakers.
"For the Hopi, the tragedies of Nagasaki and Hiroshima represented the 'gourd of ashes' image that is held in their traditional teachings, passed down, they say, since a messenger met them after a great flood covered the whole Earth. The Hopi elders' recognition of the significance of the gourd of ashes -- which fell twice in Japan at the end of World War II -- set in motion the actions that led to the delivery of the prophetic Hopi message at the House of Mica (UN Headquarters). See Day 15.
|Gourd of Ashes - the mushroom-shaped radioactive cloud emerging from the detonation of a gourd-shaped atomic bomb.
"Where was the uranium mined?" Tom asked. "The uranium used in the nuclear bombs, where did it come from? It came from their sacred land. From the Four Corners. From the Sacred Heart of Turtle Island. The place they are charged with protecting."
Our Sunbow 5 walk is headed toward the Four Corners in the Southwest of the United States. We expect to get there sometime in December, to meet with the traditional elders along the side of the trail, to learn more.
Tom apologized to everyone at the photo exhibit, and “to all who have suffered as a consequence of these weapons made from the flesh and bones of the Earth Mother. It is wrong,” Tom said. “We native people were unable to fulfill our mission of protecting the earth, and protecting the people. We ask forgiveness for this. It's a lot to think about. But it's something people should think about, because it's still going on. We need to renew our vow to protect the Earth."
Late in the evening the walkers were driven to the Lake Montebello Elementary School, where the Friends Society of Baltimore had prepared a campsite. About 40 people, including large contingents from the city's Hispanic and Black communities, came to join the walkers, to talk, to enjoy guitar music, and to eat.
Ms. Hydai Marylou Rodrigues DeLeone joined the gathering to bring greetings from Baltimore Mayor Kirk Schmoke, and to present a citation officially welcoming the Sunbow 5 Walk to Baltimore.
Before retiring for the night, the walkers and many of the people who had come to the community gathering went out on the lawn behind the school and stretched out on their backs. They talked quietly and looked up at the stars for a long time on a warm summer night.