Choctaw Nation Welcomes the Longest Walk 5 to Mississippi

Ron Alex

Ron Alex welcomed the long walkers into his home.

Published May 26, 2016

PEARL RIVER, MISSISSIPPI –  The Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence was hosted and taken care of by members of the Mississipi Choctaw community. Ron Alex allowed long walkers to stay at his home.

Alex has hosted previous Longest Walks as they have made their way across America. He reflected:

“Dennis (Banks) always starts the Walk and he includes the Mississipi Choctaw. I enjoy the walkers being here, I see old friends and make new friends.There is a lot of work but when you see the cooks and everybody in the community pitch in together and make it work.”

Two Choctaw youth joined the Longest Walk as they walked in their community were 13 year-old twins, Kenton and Kenyon Comby from Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Kenyon Comby thought the walk was good exercise and said:

“Drugs will kill you!”
Kenyon and

Kenyon and Kenton Comby, 13-year-old twin brothers joined their community as they walked with the Longest Walk.

Felicia Rose Deere-Roastingear one of the walkers told Native News Online, “I’m walking for my self i have 34 days of sobriety , but if I can be an example to the Choctaw people, that makes me feel even better.”

The drum group Buffalo Spirit drummed and sang for the long walkers when they finished walking in the afternoon

In the evening, another drum group Southern Pines Singers drummed and sang for the dancers.

Southern Pines Singers

Southern Pines Singers

During the evening entertainment, Kendall Lashaun Wallace (Slim), Demetrius Williams (Shukaa) and Isaiah Billy (Extreme) danced for the walkers.

Kendall Lashaun Wallace (Slim), Demetrius Williams (Shukaa) & Isaiah Billy (Extreme)

Kendall Lashaun Wallace (Slim), Demetrius Williams (Shukaa) & Isaiah Billy (Extreme)


Longest Walk 5 Crosses Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge

Longest Walk 5 getting ready to cross historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Longest Walk 5 getting ready to cross historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Published May 29, 2016

SELMA, ALABAMA — The Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge became a historical site on Sunday, March 7, 1965, also known as Bloody Sunday, when the police attacked with civil rights protesters with billy-clubs and tear gas.

Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965

Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965

Walking and praying the Walkers of Longest Walk 5 crossed the Bridge that a young John Lewis – now Congressman Lewis (Georgia-D) –  tried to cross  to bring the right to vote equally to all people.

The bridge’s name has become controversial in recent years because it was named after a former Confederate brigader general and grand dragon of Alabama Ku Klux Klan, Edmund Winton Pettus.

Co-founder of American Indian Movement Dennis Banks led the walk across the bridge.

Co-founder of American Indian Movement Dennis Banks led the walk across the bridge.

As the long walkers went across the bridge, prayers went up for the freedom of Leonard Peltier and to bring attention about the ill-effects of drugs on Native people throughout Indian Country.

“I feel great being here today.  History plays a good reminder to us many years later to understand Selma was the Wounded Knee to the black community,” said Dennis Banks, who is leading the Longest Walk 5. 

“It was a very bloody path to get Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act. The marchers back then did not realize until they got on the bridge that there was a huge swarm of state troopers that were waiting for them. And it turned bloody.”

Longest Walk V in Selma on Sunday.

Longest Walk 5 in Selma on Sunday.

Banks (Ojibwe) was a co-founder of the American Indian Movement. He has been involved with previous Longest Walks. On this one, he and the Longest Walk stop at Indian reservations in Indian Country they visit. At each reservation, Banks makes a stump speech about the ill effects of drug usage among American Indians. He also links drug usage with the high levels of violence against Native women. Banks lost a granddaughter, who had been involved in a domestic violent relationship,  late last year

The Longest Walk 5 began on Saturday, February 13, 2016, in La Jolla, California, near San Diego, its journey across the southern portion of the United States and will arrive in Washington, D.C. on July 15, 2016.


Mark De Anda on Longest Walk 5 Shares His Knowledge with the DeChilly Family


Sarah Autumn DeChilly, Mark De Anda, Blu Sky DeChilly (left to right)

MONTGOMERY – The Longest Walk V – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence is on it’s way to Washington D.C. Mark De Anda is a Pomo walker, from Big Valley (Mission Rancheria) . He creates all sorts of Indian arts and crafts, specializing in beadwork. He started beading when he was 14 at Johnson O’Mally Summer Youth Program at the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, California in 1975. He has created cradleboards, six-way dream catchers (hoops inside hoops at 90 degree angles), custom fit moccasins, and other items. Mark has been beading for more than the last 40 years. He teaches a beading class at the Tulley Boat festival on his reservation. He has taught beading to students in  a Suicide Prevention class. Mark said he does this because it is “every beader’s dream to bring other beader’s into this world, I love teaching. Beading itself is soothing and brings me to another world where creativity is born.”

When there is downtime on the Longest Walk, Mark teaches people of all ages how to bead. He taught Sarah Autumn DeChilly and Blu Sky DeChilly Their Aunty Sheila DeChilly, who is blossoming into a leader on the Longest Walk 5, brought them on the walk because she wanted to show them the traditional way of  life.


Sarah Autumn DeChilly, Blu Sky DeChilly and Sheila DeChilly (l to r)

Blu said:

“Mark showed me how to make a necklace, and I felt very peaceful and my mind was not distracted by other things and I was focused just on the beading work.”

Sarah said:

“Mark showed me how to make a hair stick, I enjoyed taking the colors and putting it on the string and i got all the stuff in order to make it. I put all my effort in to it, and Mark pretty much made it easy for me. I liked it a lot.”



Seminole Edwin Garcia, Steve Osceola and Mitchell Cypress of Big Cypress Went the Extra Mile for Longest Walk 5


Edwin Garcia

Published June 7, 2016

BIG CYPRESS RESERVATION, FLORIDA – The Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence was in south Florida, when the Seminole Tribe of Big Cypress extended a warm welcome with activities for the longest walkers.

A special effort was made by Edwin Garcia of the Panther Clan. Edwin and his wife, Sherri Jumper and daughter Katrina,  made pumpkin fry bread for the long walkers and delivered the bread for lunch.  Edwin became a walker when he walked 5 miles through town beside the Longest Walk 5 team. He stood up for them when he saw they were not being treated correctly because he knew it was the right thing to do.

Donald Banks

Donald Banks holding the pumpkin fry bread

Tropical storm Colin, was to make landfall in South Florida yet the Longest Walk 5 was going to spend the nights outside in tents. Edwin rallied to help the walkers, he went to the tribal council meeting to get accomodations so the long walkers would be out of harms’ way. The council agreed with him and gave them a building to allow the Longest Walk 5 walkers a safe place to sleep for the night.

The whole Seminole tribe made the walkers feel at home. A few stood out, however, Steve Osceola took time out to take Ray St. Clair, Nathan Thunderhart and Larry Bringing Good to a Miami Marlins baseball  game.

Steve Osceola and Mitchell Cypress along with other Seminoles proudly led the walk  through the reservation.


Steve Osceola and Ray St. Clair

Longest Walk 5 Welcomed in South Carolina by Native Southern Charm walkingSC
HARDEEVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Longest Walk 5 – War Against Drugs and Domestic Violence has made it to South Carolina as it continues its way to Washington, D.C.

Mike Benton , welcomed and fed the longest walkers at his restaurant La Botana, in Hardeeville, South Carolina. Mike was a Hardeeviile police officer for 25 year, but now is retired and is happy feeding the people.

Chief Harold “Buster” Hatcher, of the Waccamaw Tribe of South Carolina helped greet and serve the longest walkers.

“First I think the Longest Walk is a very worthwhile cause. I ‘m impressed with people who do things for other people. Nobody on this walk is gaining anything from it, except what they do to help somebody else. For me that speaks a heck of a lot for the heart of the people that are here.  If they’re willing to walk across this country, I can be willing to come down here and make sure they get fed.”

Chief Harold%22Bust%22 Hatcher

Chief Harold Buster Hatcher

Severl people, including Chief Michelle Wise Mitchum, Rebecca Pounds, Robert Johnson, III, Mike Benton, Chief Harold “Buster” Hatcher, Susan Hatcher, Rev. Cathy Nelson and Paul Carden, got involved helping, feeding and providing comfortable camping space.


Jerry Brown

Dr. Dewey Painter and Rev. Cathy Nelson

Dr. Dewey Painter and Rev. Cathy Nelson

Paul Master Chief

Paul Carden is a master chef.

Chief Michelle Wise Mitchum of the Pine Hill Indians , gifted the Longest Walk 5 with six dozen eggs. She brought the eggs and surprised the walkers when they arrived. During Longest Walk 3, in 2011, Dennis Banks said he was tired of fry bread (a very rare occurrence) and requested boiled eggs.  Chief Mitchum’s husband, Sheriff Deputy Jeff Mitchum, brought Longest Walk 3, eggs and cooked Banks and the long walkers.

Leonard Seabolt a walker in 2011, is again walking  on Longest Walk 5. He was pleasantly surprised when he reconnected with Chief Michelle Wise Mitchum. when she arrived at camp bearing eggs with her daughter and daughters boyfriend.

The Longest Walk 5 – War Against Drugs and Domestic Violence started in La Jolla, California in February of 2016


Leonard Seabolt, Chief Michelle Wise Mitchum, Rebecca and Rob Johnson

Land of 2 Sands Welcomes Longest Walk 5


Brenda Bishop and Jeremiah Arkel hosted the Longest Walk 5

Published June 18, 2016

LUGOFF, SOUTH CAROLINA – Longest walkers Kenneth Reid, Tyrus White, Donald Banks and Felicia Roastingear met Brenda Bishop (Micmaq and Passamaquody) and Jeremiah Arkel, a flintknapp expert, at a powwow in North Carolina. During conversation it came up that Long Walk 5 walkers and runners needed a place to stay for a week. Dennis Banks was called and all the arangements for Brenda and Jeremiah to host them on their land called “Land of 2 Sands” were made.

Land of 2 Sands is a  retreat in Lugoff, South Carolina. It was created in the year 2009 by Brenda Bishop. Jeremiah serves as the assistant director. The motto of this Spiritual Center is “Together Not The Same.” This motto runs parallel to how the long walkers on the Longest Walk 5 are all working ‘together’ to bring awareness about the dangers of drug use to Indian Country and beyond. These problems are ‘not the same’ or they are different for each individual user.

The long walkers, as they were treated like relatives out of natural reciprocity, did what they could for the Land Of 2 Sands.. Longest Walk 5 helpers, replaced the kitchen floor, built a new outdoor shower, wood shed and tent cover. William Knapp, Tony Mejia, and Windy Rivers were instrumental in the new constructions.

The Longest Walk 5 began on Saturday, February 13, 2016, in La Jolla, California, near San Diego, its journey across the southern portion of the United States and will arrive in Washington, D.C. on July 15, 2016.

Longtime Cleveland American Indian Leader Explains the History of Cleveland Racist Logo to Longest Walk

Dennis Bank and Robert Roche

American Indian Movement leader, Dennis Bank and Robert Roche, director of the Cleveland Indian Center.

Published June 19, 2016

AYNOR, SOUTH CAROLINA – Robert Roche (Chiricahua Apache)  is currently at the Longest Walk 5  based at the Waccamaw tribal grounds in Aynor, South Carolina, headed by Dennis Banks. They are supporting the fight against domestic violence and drug abuse. Robert Roche ran with Dennis Banks in the original Longest Run. Robert plans to continue to fight for the Native American people, along with Dennis and other warriors.

Time to Educate America Why Cheif Wahoo has to Go

Time to Educate America Why Cheif Wahoo has to Go

Robert Roche has been active in the American Indian community in Cleveland for 49 years. Yesterday, he relayed the history of the four lawsuits against the Cleveland Indians’ racist logo, Chief Wahoo. In 1972/73 a federal lawsuit was filed by attorney Joseph Meissner of the Legal Aid Society for Russel Means, et al. There were about 10 people who filed that original lawsuit as plaintiffs, most of the plaintiffs have passed on.  Robert worked with the plaintiff’s team to brainstorm for this original filing. In 1985, the lawsuit came to fruition with a compromise and a settlement of $35,000 to the two remaining plaintiffs (Russel Means, Jerome Warcloud, and attorney Terry Gilbert).

In 1995, a second federal lawsuit was filed with Judge Manos, presiding. This suit was filed against the Gateway Economic Development Corp. and the Cleveland Indians by Juanita Helphrey and American Indian Movement director Robert Roche, et al. This was filed because the Cleveland Indians refused to allow us to demonstrate at the new stadium, which was constructed with public taxes, and is taxpayer owned. Judge Manos stated that he would rule in our favor if a compromise was not obtained. A settlement allowing demonstrations four times a month with a seven day notice was reached.

In 1998, a civil rights action was filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), as a prelude before filing a federal lawsuit. The goal was to have the OCRC attorneys represent our efforts to have the racist name and logo changed. This action was filed by Robert Roche and tribally enrolled community members. Three months later the OCRC dismissed the action for what they ruled as lack of probable cause.

In 2016, People Not Mascots, consisting of its American Indian constituents, including Robert Roche and Cleveland American Indian Movement Director, Sundance, and others, filed a federal lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians. This suit parallels the Harjo and Blackhorse suits against the Washington Redskins, as it seeks to have the federal trademark registration cancelled. Dr. Lisa Mach is the lead attorney for this action, with the assistance of a great legal team whose members include the attorneys who were involved in the prior suits. The suit seeks to cancel the trademark registration based on section 2 of the Lanham Act (the logo is disparaging to Native Americans, as well as scandalous and immoral) and on the theory of res ipsa loquitur (Chief Wahoo’s offensiveness speaks for itself). The Cleveland Indians filed for a motion to dismiss the action, which was denied. The action is currently suspended as we await final disposition on the constitutionality of this section of the Lanham Act, which the Patent and Trademark Board has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Longest Walk 5 is Welcomed like Magi at South of the Border, North Carolina

DennisSB Dennis Banks pointing and speaking about the Longest Walk 5’s journey across the country.

ON THE BORDER OF SOUTH & NORTH CAROLINA – Around 100 members of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina greeted Dennis Banks and longest walkers as the Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence walked across the border of North and South Carolina on Saturday morning. The long walkers were greeted with a  great welcome and fanfare.

Kid Valance handing running staff to Chief Buster Hatccher of the Waccamaw Nation Kid Valance handing running staff to Chief Buster Hatccher of the Waccamaw Nation

The Long Walk 5 spent 12 days in South Carolina where it was hosted by the Waccama Nation.

“We were treated very nicely and we were able to rest. We are ready to continue on to Washingon,” stated Dennis Banks to Native News Online.

Chief Hatcher hands running staff to Denise Hunt Chief Hatcher hands running staff to Denise Hunt

Denise Hunt received the staff from Chief Hatcher and handed it to the runner Jonathan Brooks of Moccasins Across America.

Denise Hunt handing running Staff to Jonathan Brooks of Moccasins Across America Denise Hunt handing running Staff to Jonathan Brooks of Moccasins Across America

Kid Valance will get the running staff back before the runners enter Washington D.C.

The Lumbee Nation fed the long walkers and runners at the Prospect United Methodist Church.

Bernard Mitchell, Louise Mitchell, L,ydia West

Bernard Mitchell, Louise Mitchell, L,ydia WestDenise Hunt and Dennis Banks Denise Hunt and Dennis Banks


Karon Hunt Karon Hunt

The Longest Walk 5  – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence began walking in LaJolla, California, outside of San Diego, on February 14, 2016 and plan to end in Washington DC on July, 15, 2016.


Coharie Tribe of North Carolina honors Longest Walk 5 With Open Arms
Clinton, North Carolina- Cohaire Tribe of North Carolina feeds, houses and hosts a PowWow  for Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence. The Walkers walked into The Coharie Tribal Center at 2:00pm on Wednesday, June 29th.

Greg Jacobs, Tribal Administrator of Coharie Tribe said,

It was the Coharie’s pleasure to be hospitable to the Longest Walk participants. It is the Coharie way! We wish Mr. Dennis Banks a huge success in his war against drugs and domestic violence. We support all effort that is to the betterment of mankind!

Flag bearers walking into Coharie Tribal School

Flag bearers walking into Coharie Tribal School

Flag bearers

Flag bearers




Leading the walkers (left to right )Chief Gene Jacobs , Chief Kindness, Ray Sinclair and William Knapp


Greg Jacobs


Dennis Banks and Great Grandson


Cierra Riley


Coharie Youth dance for the creator with Dennis Banks


Cathy Ammons






Longest Walk 5 – War Against Drugs and Domestic Violence to Host Day-Long Event at Lincoln Memorial on July 15th
Longest Walk 3 - Reversing Diabetes enroute to the White House in July 2011. Photo by Levi Rickert

Published July 8, 2016

WASHINGTON — After a journey of 3,600 miles across America, the Longest Walk 5 – War Against Drugs and Violence will arrive at the Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital on Friday, July 15, 2016 for a day-long gathering.

“Because of the extremely high rate of suicides, and other drug-related deaths, I issued a state of war declaration between the American Indian Movement and drugs across America,” stated Dennis Banks, the Longest Walk’s senior advisor and co-founder of the American Indian Movement.

“If we don’t’ act now, the seventh generation will condemn this generation for doing nothing to halt this massive abuse and drug storm this generation is caught in. During this Longest Walk, we collected data on drug usage from various reservations visited during this journey across America. This information will help us plan for a new generation of Native leaders and community leaders to guide us to a better future,” said Banks.

Longest Walk 5 War - on drugsThe July 15th day-long event is being billed as “Visions – A Call to Action.” It will focus on the raw reality of the suffering in America and how it extends beyond the individual. Reflections will be shared by participants of the Longest Walk 5 and what can be done to combat the invasive drug problem that impacts Indian Country—and the rest of the United States.

Among those performing strong messages of healing and hope will be Kid Valance, who will sing the Longest Walk 5’s theme song, “To Be Here (A Blessing).” Three-time Grammy winner Bill Miller will also perform.

The Ojibwa Equa will bless the audience with a water healing ceremony.  Banks will lead the crowd with his “Still Strong” song.

Dennis Banks, Norman Goggleye, Wounded Knee

Dennis Banks, Norman Goggleye, Wounded Knee at LaJolla, California to start Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs and Domestic Violence

The Longest Walk 5 began in LaJolla, California, just outside of San Diego, on Saturday, February 13, 2016. It made it’s way across the southern part of the United States; next year the 2017 walk will be the center route, and the 2018 walk will be the northern route.

Though planning for the Longest Walk 5 was complete by the fall of 2015 and the focus was on a war on drugs, Banks added domestic violence as an added theme after his granddaughter was found murdered in December 2015 as the result of domestic violence.

Arthur Jacobs, who accompanied the Longest Walk 5 across the United States, contributed to the article from Virginia.

Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs & Domestic Violence Arrives in Washinton, DC
We are still here

Native News Online photo by Mark Charles

“WE ARE STILL HERE” is an important message for Americans to see

Published July 15, 2016

WASHINGTON– Dennis Banks, the co-founder of the American Indian Movement, has been fighting for American Indian rights for five decades. On Friday, he led the Longest Walk 5 – War on Drugs & Domestic Violence into Washington, D.C. to host a day-long rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Dennis Banks addresses the rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo by Weldon Grover.

Dennis Banks addresses the rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo by Weldon Grover.

The message “We are still here” was spelled out for the nation to see with large letters that were placed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Banks reflected on the 3,600-mile journey this year’s route that took the Longest Walk across the southern portion of the United States. The Longest Walk 5 begin on February 13, 2016 in LaJolla, California, outside of San Diego.

Banks inspired and created the Longest Walks since 1978. The first Longest Walk highlighted legislation that threatened to eliminate treaties that were signed with tribal nations and the United States government.

Native News Online photo by Arthur Jacobs

Native News Online photo by Arthur Jacobs

Since then, Longest Walks take on a theme to highlight a problem in Indian Country. Banks chose this year’s theme of drugs because of the serious problem in Indian Country with drugs and domestic abuse.

As it made its way across the continent, the Longest Walk made presentation about the ill-effects drugs are having on the American Indian population in Indian Country. Added to the message was domestic violence faced among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Domestic violence was added late last year after Banks’ granddaughter was murdered in a domestic abuse incident in Minnesota.

Photo by Mark Charles

Photo by Mark Charles

Many American Indian nations were represented at the rally. Several flags from Indian Country were posted to represent the great tribal nations.

Mark Charles, Arthur Jacobs and Weldon Grover contributed to this story from Washington, D.C.

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