July 21, 2016 – This Friday, July 22, 2016 a group of Indigenous runners, known as the 2016 Peace and Dignity Journeys runners, will be running on to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, destined for the Boys & Girls Club. The running group invites everyone in the community to come join them at 11 am to welcome them and take part in a prayer ceremony with 50 staffs from various Native Tribes.
The intertribal prayer run began on May 1, 2016 with one group launching from Chickaloon, Alaska and another group starting out from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The two groups will run across North and South America and meet in the middle at Kuna Yala, Panama while carrying the prayers of many indigenous peoples from across the continent.
The Peace and Dignity Journeys began in 1992 and occurs every four years. The ceremonial run is a continuation of the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor, which states tha through the unification of the native people of North and South America a new era of peace and stability will come to these lands. The prayer is guided by over 200 sacred staffs, entrusted to the runners by elders of the different communities all across the continent.
Each year a theme is chosen to help highlight issues that are affecting tribal people throughout these lands. This year’s run is dedicated to Seeds. The seeds are of the utmost importance as indigenous people fight to defend access to our traditional foods, medicines and agricultural practices, which have offered environmental sustainability for ages. It is in the time of mass produced foods and genetically modified plants that the seeds are seen as memory keepers and defense against diabetes, cancer, alcoholism and other preventable diseases that afflict the people. The group view the Prayer for the Seeds as a metaphorical call to action reminding us of the labor and leadership we must put forward to preserve our lifeways for future generations by nourishing the seeds of activism, community, respect and stewardship in our youth.
This group has respectfully requested to come on to our common land and bring their prayer through the Potawatomi lands, with a spirit of unity. The group has traveled from Alaska, through Canada, into Minnesota, to South Dakota, Nebraska, and are currently in Kansas. They have stopped at Sac N Fox and Kickapoo Nations, will visit the PBPN then continue to Lawrence to visit Haskell Indian Nations University, before journeying on to Emporia and Wichita. From there the group will proceed through Oklahoma, and Texas on their way to Mexico with their final destination being Panama.