Dennis Banks At the Barona ReservationPublished February 15, 2016
RINCON INDIAN RESERVATION – On February 14, 2016 Valentine’s Day the Southern California Native community came out to show LOVE for the Longest Walk Five War on Drugs.. They included the Southern California Chairman Association, fire and police departments, as well as community members from Barona, Pala, Viejas, Sycuan, Soboba, Pechanga, San Manuel, Rincon, Pasqual, Morongo, and others.
The day began with impassioned pleas by many who have had a personal reason for supporting this walk (Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs). Dennis Banks had a very personal reason for supporting this endeavor, as he recently lost his granddaughter to domestic violence. Drugs and violence affect many Native American communities. A unified effort is needed in tackling these issues that affect our communities. Dennis stated, “ It was great to see so much support of this event from the tribes, five or six communities in the Southern California area came together to pull off a great event. I see now, that it’s off to a roaring start!” He felt that it’s important to discuss these issues he said, “You can’t hide it anymore, you have to bring it out and keep it out. In an effort to bring about positive changes in our communities.”
Dennis Banks and Orlando Vigil: All pictures courtesy of Patricia Montes Gregory
Orlando stated “I am here because sometimes as parents there’s nothing we can do, but pray. We have found other parents that are in the same boat, and we’re praying together. We are trying to uplift our people that are on drugs, and tell them we LOVE them. Yesterday we had a guy that was walking, that I’ve been praying for and he was clean, and he was walking with us. Another guy that just got out of jail two days ago, joined us today, this is proof that this walk is already working. We are just raising awareness all over, people are finally waking up! My cousin got involved in Albuquerque, New Mexico, they already have the route planned. We have a state senator coming to meet us in New Mexico. This thing is getting BIG. The team effort is great, because everybody has lost somebody that they love. In Barona we have the Lisa Marie Memorial, as she lost her life, we don’t want anybody else to die. In Pasqual, our next stop we got the rest in peace Josiah memorial, he was a good friend. We have relatives that are here walking for him and in honor of our people trying to say hey WE LOVE YOU, ALL YOUR LIVES MATTER! We don’t want to leave our people alone. We don’t want to say, They’re drunk leave them alone, they’re on dope. So were walking, and inviting them to come join us and we are also sending that invitation to everybody. If you were using yesterday, we don’t care, stay clean today and join us.
This was a community effort, in Rincon, Dennis Banks acknowledged the support of all those that contributed to this effort. He thanked the 135 people from the community that turned out this morning to greet the walkers as they came in. He also thanked the Rez Riders and the Native Riders, who ensured that we were safe on our journey. The Sycuan bus driver Mac, provided us with rides, he kept us hydrated and happy. It was a good day! Dennis said, “We’ve had overwhelming support in Southern California. To those who are supporting this beautiful path, this beautiful recovery program, I say thank you.”
We would like to thank Tribal Chairman, Robert Smith of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and Tribal Chairman, Clifford LaChappa of the Barona Band of Mission Indians for providing us a place to stay, so we could report on this event.