Navajo Walkers bring awareness to Adams State


Article by Maya Ramirez '16

navajo walkers presentation fall15 main image

On October 27, the Adams State University Cultural Awareness and Student Achievement (CASA) Center hosted a presentation of the Navajo Walkers in Nielsen Library. According to Oneyda Maestas, CASA director, Navajo elder Tom Johnston, requested shelter for the walkers who had recently traveled from Dulce to Chama, NM and were making their way to the San Luis Valley.

The Navajo Walkers are currently on a 1200 mile journey through the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado visiting their four sacred mountains. This walk, Journey for Existence, will raise awareness about the historical and present day issues faced by Diné people.

Journey for Existence also commemorated the "Long Walk," in 1864, under the command of General James Carleton. During the Long Walk, 9,000 Diné and 500 Mescalero Apache men, women, children, and elders were marched at gunpoint for 300 miles to the land known as Bosque Redondo, NM. Many died on this journey.

Currently, Navajo lands are being harmed by industrialization of attaining fossil fuels. Those on the journey believe their people's land and water is being destroyed. Water is becoming contaminated and the people of the land are becoming sick. The Navajo people have tried communicating their concerns to tribal leaders and have not received much help.

By taking their walking journey and praying to their sacred mountains, the group hopes to reconnect to their heritage and traditions as well as raise the public's consciousness regarding current issues.