Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians, Navajo Nation, Seneca, Tanowanda Reservation
Published February 19, 2017
YAA-KAA-AMA, FORESTVILLE, CALIFORNIA –
This past week, Melissa Hill spent time running with the relay runners on the Longest 5.2. She shared her experiences with Native News Online:
“The night before was beautiful on the Pomo territory. How I wish I could stay, for today is my last full day with the Longest Walk 5.2. I cannot express the appreciation i have for these people for this ceremony–for every step is in prayer. I need to come back to this walk.
It was my first time running like this, in a relay fashion. The run was hard, there was long and hilly terrain in northern California. It rained just the night before so the ground was wet, and the skies were clear. The air was cold and a bit humid. As I was running I kept thinking about my nieces, my cousins, my aunties and uncles–my family and my friends. The day started out beautiful, with a wonderful prayer circle, and there was a beautiful golden eagle that soared over us as we prepared to leave for the 70-mile endeavor. A soft rainbow in the tall trees behind us. I could not believe what a perfect morning it was. How blessed we were to have had great weather when it was rainy and windy the night before.
When we got into the motorhome it became clear of what we were doing. We are running for the people. For the people who cannot run, for the people who have no way of getting to this place. Everyone who isn’t with us, that is who we are running for–raising awareness for alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and domestic violence. As Native people we are impacted by all these poisons since invasion. I started running, and began to doubt myself. I began to think about all the problems I have in myself. All the problems that are happening in my life right now. The struggle of not drinking, of living a normal life without alcohol. My driving accidents because of alcohol. I couldn’t get it out of my head, of me not being here with these people. These people that are on the run are phenomenal. I have nothing but love for these guys. They have heart and dedication, and truly believe in what they are doing. And I believe in them as well. I only did about five miles all together but those miles were for myself and my family and my friends.
I was running for my life.”