"Our leadership does not make decisions without consulting the women within our nations. Because the mothers, the women, are life givers themselves. So as the Earth is crying, the mothers of the nations are bleeding in their hearts and crying also for the future generations of people."
- Audrey Shenandoah
Day 114 – Saturday October 14, 1995 – So much for my four-day retreat from the walk. The phone rang early in the day. Alycia was checking in from somewhere on the road. I had to answer.
She told me that all five of the Rainbow Walkers are well, that they are in good spirits, and that they are making swift progress walking west across Oklahoma.
By way of explaining further why the Rainbow Walkers split from the main group, and expressing their intentions, Alycia said, “This is not about men versus women...
"Our walk is about balanced energies, using the different gifts and skills of the masculine and feminine to bring balanced thoughts and partnership to the decision-making process.
"Our walk is about replacing competition and conflict with cooperation and connection.
"In traditional Native American spirituality there is recognition of the importance of spiritual and energy balance between Father Sky and Mother Earth, and the One Spirit, which is both masculine and feminine.
"Our Rainbow Walk is about bringing forward that recognition, and demonstrating through our example that the masculine and the feminine can be balanced, not just within individuals, but also in groups and in the world.”
The land that the Sunbow walkers and the Rainbow walkers are crossing is today recognized as the state of Oklahoma. That's a relatively new word created from two old Choctaw words: okla meaning people and humma meaning red, Oklahoma literally meaning "red people."
But this land was inhabited for many thousands of years before ithe word Oklahoma was attached to it.The old ways began to change in 1540 when the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto entered part of the region from the east on his fruitless search for gold.
A year later Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado entered the territory from the west. He also was looking for gold. Coronado had been sent on a wild goose chase by the natives in New Mexico who wanted to be rid of him and the brutality he and his conquistadors were inflicting upon their families. The natives lied to Coronado and told him he would find gold and the mythical city of Quivera if he just kept marching out across the plains.
Basing their actions on the declaratons of the Pope in Rome, the Spanish claimed all the land they explored for their King and Queen. The Spanish claim to this portion of Turtle Island territory passed to the French, and then in 1803 from Napoleon and the French to the recently established government of the United States of America via the Louisiana Purchase
The U.S. government generally regarded this land as barren and of no profitable purpose. Thus a few years later, in the 1830s, the land emerged as be a convenient place to banish all the eastern native peoples who were being uprooted from their ancestral homes in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. With the natives expelled from the Southeast and driven en mass to the "wastelands," European settlers were free to sieze their fertile eastern land.
Eventually in the late 1800s the European settlers realized that Indian Territory was, in fact, valuable. It was good farm and grazing land. They devised to lay ahold of it. The Indians were relocated once more, and in a series of manic free-for-all scrambles starting in 1889, settlers poured into the region.
|Oklahoma Land Rush - a mural painted by John Steuart Curry in 1939 as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project at the U.S. Department of the Interior building in Washington, D.C. The mural
depicts the land rush at full tilt in 1889. Riders dash forward, while wagon drivers urge on their galloping horses.
The series of government land rushes amounted to organized madness driven by hope, greed, and fear. Settlers lined up at starting points in mobs numbering from 20,000 to 100,000 people, then all raced forward at the sound of gun shot to try and claim 160 allotted acres. Hundreds of people were injured or trampled in the land rushes. Lawlessness prevailed.
Oklahoma earned its nickname, the "Sooner State," from the fact that many settlers, spoken of as the ‘Sooners,’ jumped the starting gun. They snuck or rushed in ahead of the signal to steal the “unassigned land” sooner -- before they were legally entitled to do so under the terms of the Indian Appropriation Act of 1889.
Across all this territory, both the Sunbow and the Rainbow pilgrims now walk, praying for the welfare of the land and praying for the souls of all the people, none excepted. This is our way. This is how our pilgrimage has been instructed to try and strike a spark for the 8th Fire.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 115 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire