Caring runners hold ceremonies in Mobridge
Runners on the Peace and Dignity Journeys stopped in Mobridge last week Wednesday bringing with them their message of unity for the North America’s indigenous people.
“This run is a metaphor for suffering,” said Iron Eyes. “The indigenous people have been given suffering as a way of life and we have still found ways to receive blessings from it.”
In 1989, a group of indigenous people in Chicago became concerned that the time for the Condor and Eagle to reunite was coming near. They began a North American run to prepare themselves and reconnect native people throughout the continent. Every four years, two groups begin at opposite ends of North America and meet in Guatemala to hold conference. The group passing through Mobridge began in Chickaloon Alaska. Canadian Prairies organizer Glenda Abbott said she hopes to rekindle lost relationships among natives along the way.
“As a culture of indigenous people, we have become a body broken into pieces,” said Abbott. “We need to go back to the knowledge of the ancient people.”
Each cycle, the runners choose a cause that affects Native culture and society. In the past they have run for HIV awareness, abused women, native children, and this year they run for water. It is a problem throughout the world, but particularly on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The three-million acre reservation has very little water. Most of the reservation uses a single water source, the Cheyenne River, near Eagle Butte for clean water. Periods of drought over the last 10 years have only exacerbated the reservations water problems. The runners will collect water from rivers and streams along the way and unite them together in Guatemala.
The group runs to unite the native people of the Western Hemisphere. They believe in the ancient prophecy held by many North American cultures but most notably recorded on the Sacred Stone Calendar of the Mexica people. The 52-cycle calendar began its last cycle in 1992 and many believe this final cycle to bring on the earth a time of awakening. They point to the ancient prophecy of the Eagle and Condor to explain this phenomenon.
The prophecy speaks of two cultures on the continent. One is represented by an Eagle and the other a Condor. The Eagle, a technological people who become vastly powerful in the North and the Condor, a people who are referred to in the prophecy as a spiritual, intuitive people from the South. Believers say that when the Eagle and the Condor reunite people of the world will be liberated and there will be peace. Runner Chase Iron Eyes from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said the run is a time for deep introspection as a person and as a culture.
The runners carry staffs made by tribes throughout Canada and the Upper United States representing each tribes struggles. There are 25 total staffs involved in this years run.
“The runners carry with them the stories of the afflictions of the indigenous people,” said Melissa Ortiz.
Runners from the Cheyenne River Sioux and Standing Rock tribes joined the group on their journey. Stan Cadotte ran from Sisseton to Mobridge in honor of his son, who was murdered in 2010. He wore a shirt depicting his son during his part of the journey.
“For me, this run is something very personal,” said Cadotte. “It’s a way for me to remember my son.”