Linda Seeley, special correspondent in Native Challenges. Discussion »
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA - From October 22 to November 6, a band of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Indigenous People Organizing for Change, and Nipponzan Myohojji Buddhist Order walked from the gates of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant near San Luis Obispo to the sacred Ohlone shell mound, Sogorea Te in Vallejo, California, site of the 109 day spiritual encampment that ended in July with a legal easement to preserve the site for Indigenous people.
Each Day They Walked 13 -16 Miles
This 300 plus mile journey on Mother Earth sought to help people along the way remember the deep links between nuclear power and nuclear weapons production, the desecration of Indigenous lands for the extraction of uranium and other ores to feed the US empire, and to recognize the suffering of the Japanese people as a result of the catastrophic release of radiation that continues to this day at Fukushima Dai-ichi. I was lucky to be there. The walk started with a blessing from Fred Collins, Chumash tribal representative, with prayers and dedication to end the deadly nuclear technology.
All along the way, as we walked on narrow country roads and into urban noise and traffic, we prayed for the earth to be restored and for justice to rise up for the many. We stopped along the way at churches, community centers, and private homes for shared meals and stories. We met old friends for the first time, and we met with Occupy camps in San Luis Obispo, San Jose, Oakland, and Berkeley.
We took part in Watsonville's Unity Day Walk, where we walked with the Brown Berets in support of nonviolence and the end of police repression. We held a vigil at Lawrence Livermore National Weapons Lab, and we prayed outside the walls of the Vallecitos nuclear generating station.
We gave our thanks to the ancestors at the gravesite of 13,000 Oholone people in Mission San Jose. Each day we walked 13 -16 miles, and each night we fell gratefully into rest.
The Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhists chanted and drummed every step of the way.
Their prayer translates to: "One step, one step, mindful, mindful," said Jun San, Japanese nun who has walked for peace for the last 37 years. "From rock, from wind, the answer comes." Jun Sun was sent to North America in 1978 by her teacher, who recognized that the USA would never be a land of peace until the prayers of Indigenous people are heard. She walked on The Longest Walk in 1978, and she hasn't stopped since.
Plans are currently underway to walk from Diablo Canyon to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente sometime next year. The website will be updated with information as soon as plans are finalized. We hope that people from all walks of life and all ages can join for a few steps or for the whole walk.
Linda Seeley was one of the organizers of the Sacred Sites Peace Walk. She resides in San Luis Obispo, California.
posted November 16, 2011 8:20 am est
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