Stop The Bombs International Peace Walk
Day 18 - Tuesday March 29th, 2005
Rest Day, Radford VA


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     A good and much needed rest day, the group scattered to take care of business such as showers, laundry, rest and exploration.

   In the morning, we met a man called "B" who had come to attend a regular event at Grace Episcopal Church where we are staying. His meeting did not happen for a reason I don't know, but he was delighted to find a handful of walkers to converse with. B is an Episcopilian priest who works regularly with the local indian tribe. He came back tonight with his wife, Mary Ellen, to share some history about the area and to dine with us. Here's what he had to say.

   At the time of Columbus' arrival, there were about 30,000 people in a little known tribe called the Monacans, also known as the forest indians. Historians figure that they were here for at least 10,000 years prior. The neighboring Iroquois tribe had a long history of sending war parties against the Monocans, but when the white settlers began taking the Monacans land, the Iroquois sent war parties to drive back the white settlers. In addition, the Iroquoi nation gave the Monacans some land in New York and Canada, to which a good number of them moved. It is in these places that the language, culture and spirituality were preserved. The 1900's proved to almost completely extinguish the remaing culture of the Monocan's, and about 1920, the Virginia state and Federal governments officially unrecognized the Monocan's as a tribe. During this time Monacan children were not allowed to attend white schools and would not attend black schools. The only school available to them was run by the Episcopal church and even this only went through the eighth grade. Thus, those who wanted to attend college had to relocate to other states. The current chief of the Monacan tribe, Kenneth Branum, was among these. About 20 years ago, the Virginia Government re-recognized the Monacan people as a tribe, and the people chose a chief and created a tribal council. At present, the tribe is trying to gain recognition from the Federal government in order to obtain funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. B's story about the history of the Native's of the area brings to light the need and desire of this walk to connect with and support the indiginous people of all lands, and our chance meeting makes this possible. B also spoke of Bear mountain, which is apparently a place of exteme spiritual signifigance to the Monacan people, and happens to be only slightly off our route. With a bit of luck and a bit more intention, we hope to be in contact with these people within the week and hope to tie them in with our walk for peace.

   Our rest day ended with a wondrous celebration of Atsushi Shimada's 18th birthday, and the breaking of his 2 day fast. There was gifts and music hugs and thanks. Words don't describe it well, but maybe in Japanese: Tanoshikatta desu. Kyoo mo iki tete ureshi arigatoo. It was great. Today also I am grateful to be alive.

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