Global Peace Walk Chumash situation, Jan4'00

Dear Pilulaw, [I am mailing this to you since your email is off]

This communication is perhaps long overdue but I wanted to offer some information in hopes of helping to clear up what I feel are some misunderstandings regarding both my efforts and also regarding the Global Peace Walk project as related to our hopes of its best success coming through the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara areas late this month.

I appreciate your offering the walk information and our invitation to the Chumash Coastal Band for their message of peace for the walk to carry with other such offerings to Washington DC and to the United Nations for its 55th anniversary and to help inaugurate the UN Year and Decade of Creating a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century, as well as marking the beginning of the second half of the UN's International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples 1995-2004.

Since the situation at Big Mountain is compounded now by the February 1st relocation deadline we are hoping that the walk can get some good media coverage of this issue by virtue of its activities especially in SLO and SB that last week before the deadline. Corbin Harney has made time on his schedule to join with the walk during that phase and he will also be taking part at the beginning in San Francisco for the sendoff/opening ceremonies January 15th. This past year a great deal of progress has been made in the scientific research towards fruition of the new energy technologies, to replace nuclear and fossil fuel power and the LENT Low Energy Nuclear Transmutation devices to neutralize radioactive wastes, that I have been discussing with you and with Corbin for some years now. The information about this coming into public knowledge can help end the need to mine the coal on Black Mesa to burn for electricity which is behind the Big Mountain relocation.

I'm afraid that there are some hard feelings or misunderstandings towards me from Wonono regarding his participation in the 1995 Global Peace Walk representing the Chumash people (by which in our eyes he became a shame on the Chumash and indigenous peoples he claims to represent) and perhaps some lingering misunderstandings compounded by that and my peripheral involvement in the end days of the walk to Santa Barbara a few years ago by Algonquin leader William Commanda's supporters to fulfill his Seven Fires Wampum Belt Prophecy mission.

I am especially sorry if all this puts you in an awkward position because we respect you so much and have very much appreciated working with you on various events over the years trying to offer you additional opportunities to share you spiritual insights and messages.

Commanda's group did not make proper advance arrangements with the Chumash folks for their endtimes in Santa Barbara and against Rev. Yamato's advice (since I didn't personally know anyone on that walk or of their level of understanding) I tried to offer some advice to them a week away from SB, especially that they contact Kote Lotah in Ventura before proceeding through that area to make proper connections with your people for the objectives of Chief Commanda's ceremony. It turned out that the organizers were not appropriately sensitive to my advice and a big problem happened when they ignored it and tried to set up at Point Conception. In the mixup I think Kote misunderstood my involvement and was quite upset about their disrespect and lack of understanding and he may still fault me for my involvement which in fact was only offered to try and prevent the kind of problem that actually happened anyway.

We were especially glad to carry the letter and message of the Chumash Coastal Band across country with Global Peace Walk 1995, which was arranged by Wonono at great effort on his part networking with the various leaders, but unfortunately due to his name being associated with it and the unfavorable circumstances under which he left the walk this message was removed by the walk initiator, Rev. Yamato, from the compilation of messages that he later hand delivered to the President of the UN General Assembly on October 26, 1995, during an NGO conference there on disarmament with Corbin Harney's participation.

The situation with Wonono is especially troublesome to me because I have been acquainted with him for quite a few years and during the last few years before he left in disgrace the Global Peace Walk in April 1995, I thought we had developed a fairly good friendship. In the last year of Skyeagle's lifetime he graciously accepted my request to do a prayer at UCSB to further the relighting of the eternal peace flame monument there and on that occasion he told me because of his advancing age that in the future I should work with Wonono on related occasions. I took his message very seriously and have tried my best to do so. As you will remember, in 1993 I think it was, I asked Wonono to lead a spiritual run that I organized, from that monument then relit, up to Diablo Canyon gate where we saw you on our arrival.

A key point of misunderstanding between him and me may have roots in my repeated mention to him of my following the message and admonition of one of my spiritual teachers, the late most venerable Nichidatsu Fujii (whom Mahatma Gandhi named his Guruji, or "revered teacher") that in order for the world peace movement to succeed that the indigenous American spiritual people should be given lead of it due to the strength of their spiritual practices and their history of oppression by the US government which he condemned as fostering improper values of violence while ignoring the natural divine law (True Dharma) from which the teachings of nonviolence manifest. I think in retrospect that Wonono may have interpreted this to mean that I should follow ANYONE who purported to be an indigenous American spiritual practitioner, specifically him. I tried to make it clear to him, when he decided in 1994 to join the Global Peace Walk and to help me in organizing it from Santa Barbara, that just as I had respected him to lead that spiritual run to Diablo Canyon, I respected Yamato to lead the Global Peace Walk which he had initiated following his and his people's long experience with this kind of spiritual practice since even before Gandhi's times. I am afraid that I did not make this clear enough to Wonono and he was under the impression that both Yamato and I were supposed to follow his lead or to respect his leadership role more than he thinks we did.

Under other conditions this may have actually happened, at least to a greater extent, and as it was Wonono performed very well in offering admirably his ceremonies and prayers and his suggestions but another less admirable side of his behavior was a continual "politicking" after the walk started from New York City trying to gain more personal recognition and "respect" among the walkers for an increased leadership role and what he felt was its prestige and personal gain rewards. It was only because he is Chumash that the walkers put up with and went along with his increasing personal demands and ultimately this not only discredited himself but his people in many eyes.

It was a great sacrifice for Wonono to take the time out of his life and make the hard effort required to help coordinate and to be on that walk under difficult conditions for over 4months. This and his sense of seriousness and dedication I greatly respected and still respect.

The real problems in attitude and values started becoming evident when after a few weeks on the road the women on the walk came to me repeatedly complaining that he was continually making unwanted sexual advances on all of them, unsuccessfully as far as was evident. At the time I did not see this as a serious problem, just a sad one. However as the months went by the tensions increased and came to a crescendo a couple of weeks before Wonono left, in a circle he insisted that we have (kind of a "kangaroo court") to deal with an abrasive guy who had just joined the walk and who was irritating everyone, including me, with his "in your face" attitude. The only person on the walk who seemed to relate to this guy and seemed to like him was a quiet small Japanese girl, Akimi, who had been on the walk from the beginning and who had most politely been refusing Wonono's advances. Against Rev. Yamato's advice Wonono pushed vigorously over long and loud lectures to the group from the center of the circle that this guy should be "voted" off the walk. Yamato's position was that this guy had to decide himself to leave or else there would be problems with this approach. Wonono was so persuasive that almost everyone, including myself, voted in agreement with his fervor and the guy was forced to leave, to Akimi's dismay because she (according to Yamato) saw through what was really going on and within a week or so she left the walk when her visa expired after what Yamato felt was this incident of international disgrace to its purpose.

The clearest demonstration of the problem was the scenario one day when Wonono and I and another walker named Joaquin took a drive ahead of the walk on a time critical mission to scout the route and mark down the exact route directions with distances between points and then get back to the walk quickly before they got to the point where they needed this information to keep on course and on schedule in one big city. I did my best to try and keep the focus between all of us needed to watch for street names, the mileage on odometer, take notes, etc., but the driver brought us back to the walk without a single result because Wonono and Joaquin were amazingly and continuously leering and jeering to one another over the women they saw along the way and what they looked like etc, ie, juvenile sex talk while completely ignoring our purpose and mission.

Part of the great difficulty on this 1995 walk was that Yamato was in nearly constant pain from what we found out by Pennsylvania was a stomach ulcer and could not as usual join the long distance walking very much (we nearly lost him in PA when he fainted vomiting blood and finally got a diagnosis and some treatment, but that condition was not fully resolved until 1997 when it was cured with antibiotics after I became aware of the latest medical breakthrough on ulcer treatment). Being new to long distance peacewalks Wonono was resentful of Yamato's leadership role while others including him were putting out strenuous efforts in sometimes bitter weather to actually conduct the walk. Also, sometimes there were delays in Yamato's appearances at walk events due to coping with this ulcer pain before we knew what it was, and especially on at least one occasion where this delayed his presence at presentations by indigenous practitioners along the way Wonono misunderstood this as some kind of disrespect to his arrangements and his spiritual associates.

This is clearly a misunderstanding since Rev. Yamato's respect for the native peoples and their spiritual responsibilities is well evidenced over his years of work with people like Thomas Banyacya who he introduced on several occasions to His Holiness Dalai Lama and who his people brought to Japan as they did Dennis Banks, Jake Swamp, Crow Dog, et al, to inspire the people of his homeland with their messages. For the last three years Yamato has taken part in the Sundance Ceremony under Leonard Crow Dog in South Dakota, and at Big Mountain where years ago Yamato alone built the sundance grounds and spent many months there working with the Dineh elders who eagerly welcome him there whenever he comes. He has also worked closely with Corbin Harney on various occasions at the Nevada nuclear test site, Santa Barbara, etc. What Wonono does not yet understand is that Yamato himself is descended from the traditional indigenous Ainu people and culture of Japan and he is a spiritual elder arduously schooled and trained in his people's ancient traditional culture of peace, with a lineage of teachers going back 2500 years from teacher to one of his disciples and on thusly through the succeeding generations, etc., ie, he is a title holder of his ancient traditional people and culture, and unique in that way among the monks I have worked with. (Yamato, or "Great Peace" is his title name given by his teachers, the same name that was previously applied to the whole territory later called Nippon or Japan after the traditional culture was usurped by nationalism -- usually, traditionally, the whole Earth is considered One Vehicle not separated by military and "nations" as they have become) He knows who is a real spiritual leader or a political person when he sees one, regardless of their nationality, culture or religion.

The situation with Wonono in 1995 in the days before he left the walk were more and more difficult struggling with dissention that led to my serious mistake one day while he was going over the maps before the day's walk trying to convince people we should stop the walk until....(he got his way about something?). I left camp as was my job to drive ahead to make arrangements for the day and I left a note with one of the walkers as to where we would rendezvous up the road for the evening. After I left (I should have waited but felt that would only feed continued arguing) my note was never delivered to the rest of the walkers and Wonono decided on a different rendezvous point and the mixup resulted in the walkers being separated overnight from their bedding and the kitchen bus due to a breakdown in their close support vehicle at the campsite they found but that I did not know where it was they were. In the morning when I found them, nothing would do but Wonono wanted to fight me over it and thought it cowardly of me to walk away from fighting him. He pulled his big knife and threatened to slash my van tires if I did not give him a ride right then to the bus, which I refused given his state of mind. Other walkers calmed him down a bit and when I opened my van to give them a lift to the bus Wonono got in and said he would not get out unless I agreed to fight him. Next to where he was sitting were many loose papers containing important walk contacts information, etc., and he then started looking around like he was going to throw them all out of the van into the wind so to get him out of the van before that happened I agreed to his challenge only just to get him out of there before he created a problem (it was never my intent to fight him as this is not my style having committed my life to the teachings of nonviolence). As he started to get out I made the mistake of grabbing his wrist to pull him out (I was more upset by all this than I would like to have been) and I slipped on the gravel as he jumped on top of me pulling a tuft of my beard out and offering it to the wind while one of the walkers jumped in between us to prevent what they assumed was going to be the two of us slugging it out. (almost humorous in retrospect and also at the time except for the emotional hostility then in the air precipitated by my mistake stranding the walkers overnight)

After this incident Wonono told us of his decision to leave the walk which he had been considering in the preceeding days. He unpacked a huge mountain of stuff from the walkers' gear storage trailer and said it was all his. Someone offered him transportation so he left with all this stuff but later several folks told me that he had also taken things that belonged to them, tents, etc, that they saw in his mountain of stuff but were too intimidated to confront him about. Some of the walk signs etc he also took with him.

Before he left we had a talk and he explained his reasons for leaving as being mainly that neither Yamato nor I "respected the native peoples", that we were "using him and them" for our own purposes, and that when I got back to Santa Barbara he was going to get a bunch of his friends and "beat me up". From my perspective Wonono was using his role as a Chumash spiritual practitioner perhaps more for his own personal purposes than for spiritual purposes. Yamato's observation was that sometimes Wonono acted admirably doing his prayers and ceremonies, etc., and other times he just acted like a "street guy".

I told him that I thought the best thing I could do was to offer to meet with him and you, Pilulaw, and anyone else of the Chumash people he wanted to include, to discuss this matter where he agreed he would present a detailed account of his grievances and I would respond with my views in an effort to resolve these problems.

When I eventually did get back to Santa Barbara I did not immediately pursue this and when we next had a related conversation and I told him I wanted to have that talk with him, he said that he did not want to talk and he just delivered an ultimatum to me that I should stop all my peace movement activities in Santa Barbara or else he was going to "beat me up" to make me stop them. I continued anyway but by a couple of years ago I had to move full time again out of town to Tehachapi here to take care of my elderly mother who is in late early-stages of Parkinson's condition which makes it very difficult for me to be away from here for very long for the forseeable future or go to Santa Barbara very much.

In these last years I can only assume that for his own reasons Wonono has been speaking ill of me, Yamato, and probably the Global Peace Walk project to in some fashion justify in his mind and to others his behavior which I have not discussed as above until now that I feel I must in fairness to Yamato and his urgings to me over several years to write this letter to you.

Normally, I would just ignore such things but now Global Peace Walk 2000 is coming through the Santa Barbara area during the last few days before the Big Mountain relocation deadline February 1st and so I am writing all this in hopes that before the walk gets to San Luis, during the January 25-26 Morro Bay to Cambria area, that such meetings as necessary might take place to resolve this problem when Yamato, Corbin and I will be in that area before the main walk events in SLO/SB. If this is possible we will welcome the opportunity.

You have known me for several years and we have worked together on several occasions trying to use ourselves and be useful for good purposes. I don't feel I need to enumerate the various events over the years where we have had what I hope you also feel has been a good working relationship. I feel badly that all this, which now apparently must come to light, puts both of us and our relationship in an awkward way.

My recommending Wonono to Yamato for the purpose of offering the Global Peace Walk opportunity for strengthening his indigenous spiritual/traditional practices has ended up with my judgement being discredited by both parties.

All this became compounded a few years ago when Commanda's walkers came into the area after what they thought months earlier were proper advanced arrangements for a positive reception by the Chumash community to end the walk in Santa Barbara with the Seven Fires Wampum Belt Prophecy Ceremony on the beach somewhere in that area. This ceremony did happen and I was glad to take part but it was only after their organizers ignored my warnings about any plans to go to Point Conception without connecting first in a good way with Kote who was at that time in Ventura and whose area they would come into first. Somehow because I mentioned that only in this way might this location for that ceremony even be possible, somehow somebody misunderstood and thought that I had suggested this destination without need of following traditional manners. The result that was the walkers were stopped by the Coastal Band people and forced to abandon their spiritual walk in Zuma Beach and they were sequestered in Ojai until the rogue organizer could be tracked down and the situation resolved. When I showed up at the circle at that Ojai camp coming from Tehachapi to see how I could help resolve the situation, what I got from the Chumash Coastal Band representative was "I'm going to kill you".

At one point some years ago Wonono asked for my help and advice regarding the requests from native people around the country to do a walk on President Reagan's Ranch to try and get him to fulfill his promise to meet with the native people and discuss their grievances. As it happened I had over some years discovered the protocol and locations where the Western White House was in Santa Barbara and had noted recent newspaper articles telling dates of the President's upcoming next visits. I suggested a plan by which a letter requesting such meeting was hand delivered to the right person to whom I guided the Chumash representatives, but instead of from the coalition of various indigenous folks (AIAG American Indian Action Group), the letter was from the president of the Coastal Band, which I did not question out of respect even though it was not exactly according to my advice. This was followed a couple of weeks later, at the beginning of Reagan's announced second visit, with another personal appearance at that office after receiving no response to the letter, to announce plans for the walk to Reagan's Ranch coming less than a week hence. As I predicted, it being in the height of VP Bush's campaign for President, the White House capitulated and the meeting with President Reagan was offered. The Coastal Band had control since the letter was from their president and the meeting with Reagan at the White House happened, but only with some Chumash representatives who had apparently decided to exclude all other native peoples and issues in favor of trying to further their personal interests. I wanted to be used in that situation for a good purpose. Was I misused? I do not think so because I could only do my part faithfully as always and could only accept the result as it was beyond my control.

The bottom line is that in some eyes the Coastal Band could use this opportunity of the vehicle of the Global Peace Walk 2000 to correct some of these mistakes by offering its spiritual support to this project which is proceeding across country to deliver the message of peace and the traditional peoples messages for a genuine culture of peace to Washington DC and to the United Nations. Until then this message is the only one that the walk has to carry regarding the Chumash people.

I hope you and your people will be able to help resolve these problems in a good way and will be able to lend your spiritual support and guidance to the walk as it comes through your area.

I will be leaving for San Francisco in a few days and will communicate with you through Sheila Baker via email to try and minimize any awkwardness for you in these matters. The walkers will be at Morro Bay City Hall at Noon on February 25th to pick up a proclamation of support from the mayor. We hope to see you there or before then by any arrangement you would like made.

With respect,

David Crockett Williams
Outreach & Local Coordinator, Tehachapi CA 661-822-3309
Global Peace Walk 2000 -- SF 415-863-2084


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