Native Americans Walk for the Water in Georgia

(APN) LAKE LANIER ISLANDS - Native Americans and others have completed a journey along the Chattahoochee River, to walk and give thanks to the river.

Walk For the Water is part of a movement conceived of by Robertjohn Knapp in 1988 to raise awareness of humanity to care for the environment.

The Walk began in north Georgia on June 1, 2008, at the source of the Chattahoochee River, and ended in the front of the Georgia Capitol building in downtown Atlanta on Monday, June 9 in a rally from 12pm to 3pm.

"Water is the reason we do Walk for the Water," Gary Fourstar, one of the event founders, of Assiniboine and Ohlone lineage, told Atlanta Progressive News.

"Governor Perdue said we have to pray for water. We have a problem with water. States are fighting over rights. Water has become like everything else: a commodity rather than being given to us freely by the creator and used as it was meant to be. It is being used for commercial purposes... It becomes a resource, and like all resources is to be used up rather than taken care of," Fourstar said.

"So we are here to talk to the water, we are here to say we are going to take care of it, we are here to say thank you to the water, to the creator. Water is alive, it hears our words, and responds to our speaking, to our thoughts, and to our words. The creator made nothing dead. We cannot separate ourselves from living things. We are all part of the same world," Fourstar said.

At the Capitol on Monday, tribal elders spoke about water and taking care of the natural world.

Dr. Masaru Emoto of Japan, whose research on water corroborates the teachings of Native Americans, gave a lecture and PowerPoint presentation on the following day, June 10.

Tribal elders came from across the country to join Emoto in the closing ceremonies.

The walk averaged 25 to 28 miles a day and the first two days it rained.

It started in the town of Unicoi in northern Georgia, then followed the headwaters of the Chattahoochee.

The walkers went down to Lake Lanier Island on June 3. The walk continued from there to the State Capitol.

"There is a forgiveness that I think we have to ask for," Fourstar said.

"If you do something wrong, then you ask for forgiveness. If you don't ask for forgiveness, then you are doomed to perpetuate the action because you are in denial that it ever took place. If we continue to pollute the water, then we are doomed to repeat it. And we are repeating it - and the water is dying," Fourstar said.

"The water will carry our intent, so the Earth knows that we care," Knapp, of Talabalaba Sioux lineage, told Atlanta Progressive News. Knapp is a spiritual elder for the Seneca Nation.

"We no longer give thanks for anything. This is what this is about..... Wacaires (wah-kah-res) is a word that we have created to mean doing something to show you care individually or in a group... Love is caring for something. To love the Earth you have to care for it," Knapp said.

"There are a lot of humans running around the Earth but very few human beings. You have to work to become a human being to take care of life. So we are here to take care of life and become human beings," Knapp said.

Mohalk, Shoshone, Dine, Cherokee, Creek, and about 15 other tribes were also represented.

Along the walkers' journey, the group stopped at various points and performed ceremonies along the Chattahoochee River.

"Traditional people, Native Americans and others who have followed the traditional ways, are attuned to the natural world and know we have to respect, honor, and take care of the natural world. And the perspective permeates the life of Native Americans. They're trying to bring to light and build a bridge to people other than Native Americans. It's a have-to," Debora Fourstar, wife of Gary Fourstar, said.

"Corporate American lifestyle is to use the natural world as a resource and have no regard for future generations. And seven generations down the road or even two, we're not going to have anything. The water's not going to be drinkable, and it's receding its energy. The life force for the natural world is receding. It's getting so bad we drink out of bottled water now," Debora Fourstar said.

"Our thoughts and words and songs and prayers have power. There's power in the spoken word. If we put our attention to honoring the natural world, it will respond," she said.

The Georgia State Senate adopted a resolution on April 1 commending the Many Horses Foundation for organizing the walk. SR 1287 was sponsored by State Sen. Curt Thompson.

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