WASHINGTON - July 11 - AP is reporting: "Some 500 American Indians are gathering near the White House to mark the end of a 8,300-mile walk across the nation. The trek from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., aims to bring attention to the impact of global warming on the environment.
"Organizer Ricardo Tapia says the Longest Walk 2 also was an effort to spotlight concerns among American Indians, such as the destruction of sacred sites by developers.
"Organizers plan to present a manifesto of American Indian concerns to Democratic Congressman John Conyers of Michigan.
"Actor and civil rights advocate Harry Belafonte is also scheduled to appear at a traditional pipe ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
"The walk began February 11 and marked the 30th anniversary of the first such journey. That 1978 effort gathered support to defeat congressional bills that American Indians said threatened their sovereignty."
Organizer for the Longest Walk 2, Tapia said today: "Thirty years ago, the government was going to strip us of our sovereignty -- our fishing and hunting rights -- and so we marched across the country. We had the support of Muhammad Ali, Marlon Brando and others and soon after we got the Native American Religious Freedom Act.
"Now our sacred sites are being destroyed with the mining and malls being built. We're concerned about the future to the seventh generation. The G8 just met and put out some words about global warming. But we're concerned with what they do. Modern man has become ignorant and arrogant. We're walking the talk with our 8,000 miles over five months and need everyone to really change direction." More Information
Franco, who is 20, is a spokesperson for the Longest Walk 2. She said today: "We need to protect our sacred sites and stop harming the earth."
CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167