Peace marchers stroll through Window Rock
Global Peace Walk 1995 underway

Navajo Times

The newspaper of the Navajo people

Window Rock, Navajo Nation, Arizona

Thursday May 11, 1995

Peace marchers stroll through W.R.

Global Peace Walk 1995 underway

[photo, not shown here, captioned:]

Miss Navajo Nation Karen Leuppe, center, joined members of the Global Peace Walk Project as the walked through Window Rock on Friday. (Times photo by Marley Shebala)

Peace marchers stroll through W.R.

Global Peace Walk 1995 underway

By Marley Shebala
Navajo Times Staff

Window Rock - World peace is a "noble effort" that everyone should aim for, Navajo Nation President Albert Hale recently said to the Global Peace Walk Project.

Hale's statement came in a brief letter of support to the United Nations 50th anniversary Global Peace Walk 1995, which recently passed through the reservation's capitol on its way to San Francisco where they will celebrate the UN's call for global peace from June 20 to 25.

Hale noted in his letter to the global peace walkers, "We are spiritual people whose belief is based on the harmoniously existence of all things of Mother Earth, Father Sky and the universe. We are only a part of this great creation and are not given the option for the disharmony or displacement of other spiritual creations."

The small group of national and international walkers, who were lead by Zen Buddhist monk Yusen Yamato, were joined for a short time by Miss Navajo Nation Karen Leupp.

Yamato, who spoke with a heavy Japanese accent that was sometimes difficult to understand, was very pleased with Hale's "nice" letter, which he described as "most artistic".

The Buddhist monk explained that he initiated the cross country walk, which started in New York City on January 15, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., for "our new generation".

This generation, he emphasized, needs global peace now, which means an end to uranium mining and the nuclear industry.

According to Yamato, the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan were made from uranium that was mined on Navajo lands by Navajos and then tested in New Mexico on military people and on Shoshone land in Nevada.

And so, Yamato said, the survivors of the federal government's nuclear activity are not just the Japanese.

He said uranium mining also is happening in Tibet and Manchuria, where it is directly affecting traditional people, like the American Indians.

"All around the world, nuclear testing. Why all people should walk," Yamato said in his broken English. "Seven hundred year old message: someday all people recognize globe one house and have to pray for global peace."

He added that Leonard Peltier, an American Indian prisoner, fasted for three days inside the Leavenworth, Kan., federal penitentiary in support of the walkers. Peltier stated in a letter to the walkers, "It pains me to witness violence against our international neighbors as well as against ourselves. Planting bombs in buildings is as great an atrocity as arming and training overseas death squads. Constructing nuclear arsenals is as devastating as saying and doing nothing to stop their production."

Yamato said society is "taking land and life apart" because they have no spirituality. That is why Hitler relocated and abused Jews, he said. And it's that same mentality that is behind the relocation of Navajos and other Indians.

Tribal Council Speaker Kelsey Begaye said the peace walkers, by coincidence, became part of the tribal legislative branch's first Day of Prayer last week.

Begay said the peace walkers offered prayers for world peace. The legislative branch's support came in the form of fried chicken, which was quickly devoured by the walkers.

Mary Ann Ben, a teacher's assistant at Jeddito school, also happened to be at the council chamber with about 18 fourth grader students when the walkers were there.

As she listened to Yamato talk about some of his people's traditional teachings, ben said she realized they pray to the Mother Earth in the same way the Navajo people do.

Their history, which involves holy beings, is similar to Navajo history, she said. Even their hats, which have some turquoise, are similar to the Navajo's.

I wish a Navajo was part of the group," Ben said.