"I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization.
"To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Day 56 - Thursday, August 17, 1995 - In a state of peace through the night, the walkers slept deeply. The tone for their rest was set in the evening with the sublime chanting they joined in at the World Peace Chamber, followed by the healing steam of the purification lodge. It was tempting for them to lie late in their sleeping bags and tents.
Yet morning called. The aromas of cooking summoned everyone to wakefulness: five dozen eggs, five pounds of bacon, and hot coffee being cooked for them on a nearby grill. This is the first time the walkers have been offered bacon and eggs on their journey. They moved toward the breakfast table as if drawn by an industrial-strength magnet.
Zoe Bryant, director of the the Foundation for Earth's Ancestral Voices in Swannanoa, North Carolina, and also keeper of the sacred chamber, hosted the memorable breakfast. She presided with gracious hospitality.
James (Jim) and Norma Duncan. Author photo.
Fresh from their many adventures on the Trail of Joy and filled with seasoned enthusiasm, the Duncan family showed up this morning, and joined the Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth. The Duncan family includes husband and wife James (Jim) and Norma, and their five daughters (Heather, Jennifer, Jacqueline, Miriah, and Alexis -- ages 12 to 3).
The whole family is experienced at walking and camping, having already accomplished a major spiritual pilgrimage. They intend to be part of the Sunbow Walk not just back to Talequah, Oklahoma, but all the way to the Western Gate at the Pacific Ocean.
As the day wore on temperatures climbed into the mid-90s, the sun beat down, and humidity rose to the familiar drenchingly high levels.
The walkers began their steps in the midst of this, getting on the road late, after 11 AM. When they finally started walking, their destination soon caused them to venture off the Blue Ridge Parkway and on to Route 19 -- back to civilization.
No sooner had the Sunbow walkers stepped off the sylvan beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway and back on to the byways of commerce, then they were stopped by the police. The officers were concerned about the safety of the group walking alongside Route 19, a busy four-lane thoroughfare.
Eventually, after negotiation, they resolved all concerns. For portions of the day the walkers had the high honor of a police escort as they made their way step by step toward Camp Adventure at Lake Junaluska in Waynesville, North Carolina.
The walkers pitched their tents on the shore of Junaluska. They pronounced themselves ecstatic to be near the water -- a great blessing for them under the relentless press of heat and humidity.
Junaluska, the famously lovely lake, is named for a highly regarded Cherokee spiritual elder of years past, chief Tsunulahunski, or Junaluska, chief in the Snowbird Clan. He lived in the era when the Cherokee were forcibly removed from their homelands. His name can be translated as "one who tries but fails."
During the crucial battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River in eastern Alabama in 1814, Junaluska drove his tomahawk through the skull of a Creek warrior who had Major General Andrew Jackson at his mercy.
Jackson, the Tennessee Militia, and allied Cherokee warriors went on to win the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, and to shatter the Creek Confederacy which had been holding back the tide of colonial settlement over millions of acres of land in the South. After that battle the only elements in the way of a massive land grab from the natives were the legally binding treaties in which the government of the United States of America -- representing all the people of the nation -- had pledged its full faith and trust.
Not many years after Horseshoe Bend, Junaluska was one of the natives who appealed to Jackson -- by then President of the United States -- to uphold the treaties, and to uphold the explicit 1831 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that the treaties and land titles were valid, and to let the Native peoples remain living on the land that had been theirs for generations.
Jackson finally granted Junaluska permission to speak on the matter. After listening, Jackson is reported to have responded curtly:, "Sir, your audience is ended. There is nothing I can do for you."
With this Presidential kiss off, the fate of the native peoples of the Southeast was sealed. They would be driven from their homes along the Trail of Tears to a strange, dry land in the West.
In the weeks to come the Sunbow 5 pilgrims will be walking this same pathway, praying for all the souls on all the sides.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 57 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire