Left to right Lesha Deere Yargee, Ben Yahola , Panoske (Phillip Deere), Bonny Deere ( Samuel).
Published April 28, 2016
OKEMAH, OKLAHOMA – The Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence was welcomed by the Muscoggee Creek Peoples this week.
The Longest Walk began in 1978, it was the brain-child of Dennis Banks, who was then under scrutiny by the FBi for jumping bail after a prison guard was overheard saying Banks would not last 10 minutes in jail). Banks who was in California was protected when then Governor Jerry Brown gave him immunity. Governor Brown’s protection only pertained to California, so Banks was not able to cross the border and leave the state when the Longest Walk ’78 moved on from California on its way to Washington, D.C.
With the the exception of the Longest Walk 4, Banks has been on all the other Longest Walks. The Longest Walk 2 was to draw attention to the state of the environment and to get press to protect sacred Native American sites. The Longest Walk 3 was to call attention and to teach American Indians on the reservation and across the country about diabetes.
The Longest Walk 5, which is in process now, has walked half-way across the country and is on the Muscogee Creek Nation now.
The Muscogee people opened their ceremonial land and prayed for the long walkers. They also opened their hearts, kitchens (prepared food) and even their wallets or purses to help the long walkers.
The long walkers were hosted at the Phillip Deere Roundhouse and the long walkers were pampered by the Deere family and others.
Ben Yahola said:
“Living the life of the Indigenous activist, caring for the land, water, air, sun and the children, keeps me moving from place to place. When there is a call for someone to address the issues, I go alone to keep the cost of travel to a low budget. I sleep in my small van that carries solar panels and a good small sound system, but loud. So, the messages I share are done with singing the melody that comes with each event and the people that I see make the lines for each expression for the music I write and sing.
I am a nomadic Indigenous person believing the earth is for everyone to know and learn far into the universe. The places between the stars are the sources of inspiration.”
Nova Deere Wise made fry bread that was devoured because of it’s cake like texture and flavor. Many people at the gathering said it was the best fry bread they ever had.
Nova Deer Wise
reheating fry bread
Pokhvpe (bok-ha-bee) Ball pole used by ceremonial grounds where men and women throw a small ball at the head and the upper part of the pole.