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Runners shared traditional dances
CONTRIBUTION · 5th June 2012
GG Miles
A prophecy tells that eagle of the north and condor of the south will join at a time when all indigenous people of the western hemisphere will come together spiritually to heal their nations and the earth.

Since 1992, every four years in the spring, runners begin a journey from far north in Alaska and far south of Argentina, passing through first nations communities and sharing spiritual traditions to inspire renewal ancient traditions of caring for the natural world, communities and original peoples.

Each foot beat of each runner is a drum beat and prayer for unity and healing. Each journey has a theme: women, children, families, and sacred sites. This year the journey is for the waters.

Runners carry sacred staffs, hung with many feathers of eagles and other birds, given by hosts on the way. The journey lasts half a year, ending as the runners reunite at a gathering in Guatemala symbolizing the spiritual unity of the prophecy of the eagle and condor.

‘Ksan, where the Skeena and Wetzin’kwa (Bulkley) rivers meet has been a resting stop for the Peace and Dignity Journeys since 1996 and community members welcoming runners with food and ceremonies, as they did over the June first weekend.

Sharah, a young Californian woman on her first run, says that as they talk to people they find there are common struggles. Mining interests are threatening water in Chickaloon, Alaska where the run began. One of the runners is from Fresno, California, where his people are uniting to keep a mining company out of their territory. A woman elder of the north came out to support the runners saying she is facing the damage of mining in her community.

“It’s been really an interesting journey because as we run and go along, people realize that though they may feel isolated in these battles against these multi-national corporations, they’re really not alone,” says Sharah, “ they’re doing it to everyone across the western hemisphere. “

At a time when the headwaters and valleys of the northwest rivers, lifeblood of ancient and modern people are threatened by big industry and divisions run deep, it was a timely and inspiring message of spiritual commitment, unity and hope that the runners brought to the Hazeltons.

The Peace and Dignity Journey 2012 has a Facebook group and a website:
Sharah, a runner, tells of shared struggles
Sharah, a runner, tells of shared struggles
Three of the runners relax at "Ksan
Three of the runners relax at "Ksan
A runner shares cultural dancing
A runner shares cultural dancing
The youngest runner joins the dance
The youngest runner joins the dance
Comment by Janice Robinson on 6th June 2012
Whenever dancers enter a Tsimshian feasthall, in regalia and with voices lifted, we stand. We stand to show our respect. We acknowledge the commitment and sacrifices involved in the process of readying an individual to put on that regalia, learn those songs, and put herself/himself out there for all to see and hear. It is a deeply personal and spiritual process. I take this opportunity to honour these runners and dancers. Kudos to the Terrace Daily for bringing this event to everybody's attention.

I love to watch the responses of Elders whenever a dance group enters the hall. It excites them, and brings them closer to the rest of us. They stand too....with pride and happiness. This is part of who we are. Alive.

It is "Seniors Week" now. Don't let them sit lonely today.