June 13, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Unprovoked Columbus, Ohio police attacked Long Walkers, by first pointing a taser at the head of Michael Lane and then forcing Luv the Mezenger to the ground and handcuffing him.
The Longest Walk Northern Route was walking this prayer through Columbus on Monday, June 2, when police squad cars and arrest wagons arrived. Without discussion of the purpose of the prayer walk, or verifying that the Ohio Department of Transportation had been notified of the prayer walk, police attacked the walkers.
Michael Lane, who arrived on the walk with his wife, Sharon Heta, Maori, and their children from New Zealand, was targeted by police with a taser.
As dozens of police came at the walkers, a police officer held a taser three feet away from Lane’s head.
Luv the Mezenger from Los Angeles went to the aid of Lane. At that point, police officers threw Luv on the ground and handcuffed him. Luv has been on the walk since it left California in February, walking on snowshoes over a stretch of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Lane, who has a law degree from the Arizona State University, said the worst part of being targeted by a police officer with a taser was that it terrified his daughters who only knew that a gun was being pointed at their father’s head.
Across the continent, police-induced deaths from tasers have increased.
Luv suffered minor injuries from the police attack. Police made no arrests.
Govinda Dalton, broadcasting on the live Longest Walk Talk radio on Earthcycles web radio, said, “They came to arrest the walkers with paddy wagons without even having a discussion as to what the walk is about, or the fact that the Ohio Department of Transportation has already been contacted.”
The harassment by Ohio police continued, Tuesday, June 3, when police ordered Longest Walk drummers off an area at the Ohio State Capitol. However, the Long Walkers continued with their press conference and aired statements on their loud speaker at the capitol.
It has been almost four months since the prayer walk began on Alcatraz, on Feb. 11. Up until June 2, there had been no attacks on the walkers. In fact, the majority of the governors in the states that the northern route has walked through have issued proclamations of support for the Longest Walk 2.
The Longest Walk 2 for Mother Earth and protection of sacred places is being walked thirty years after the original 1978 Longest Walk, a prayer walk for Indian rights and the recognition of the inherent sovereignty of Indian people and Indian Nations.
Earthcycles’ Longest Walk Talk Radio has archived 400 interviews with walkers and people along the route since the walk left Alcatraz, on issues all across America.
The radio topics, voiced by people across America, have included the rise of the police state in the United States, the targeting of American Indians by city, state and federal police, the rise of xenophobia and the television-fueled, fear-mongering by the Bush administration. As a result of the fear-mongering, the Bush administration has found it easy to void federal laws, including waivers of more than 30 federal laws to build the US/Mexico border wall and seize private lands by way of eminent domain for the border wall. Across America, people are alarmed that the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, including free speech, have been violated.
On the Yankton Indian Nation, about 50 South Dakota police units recently swarmed a group of Yankton peacefully standing in defense of their sovereign land from a corporate hog farm under construction near the Head Start. About 40 Dakota from Yankton were arrested in two waves of arrests. The arrests and construction are now being challenged in court, but the construction of the disease-producing hog farm has accelerated.
The radio topics include global climate change, nuclear testing and gold mining on Western Shoshone lands and violations of treaty rights. Another issue is the loss of Paiute traditional hunting and gathering rights. Scientists are battling Paiutes for 10,000 year old Spirit Cave Man. Paiutes have gone to federal court in an effort to rebury the remains with respect. In Kansas, the Kickapoo are a nation without water and having to haul all their water.
Other interviews focus on the proliferation of censored news concerning Navajo coal mining and relocation, Nazi-type forces at the US/Mexico border and the destruction of Tohono O’odham ancestors’ remains for the border wall. The news has also been censored on ceremonial and religious rights denied to Native inmates in U.S. prisons.
Those interviewed include Mohawks at the northern border, Navajo from Big Mountain, Arizona, Apache and Tohono O’odham from the southern border and Maori from New Zealand. Indigenous Peoples also discuss the continual oppression of Indigenous Peoples, particularly from the four countries who refused to vote for adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia did not vote for the Declaration, which was adopted by the U.N. in 2007 and recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their traditional territories. Following the U.N. vote, New Zealand police raided and arrested Maori in the sovereignty movement there and new mining and disease-producing energy developments proliferated in Indigenous territories around the globe.
The newest threat to Indigenous Peoples survival is carbon credits, a fictional concept which allows polluters to continue polluting. The carbon market is a scheme creating millionaires which has increased the attacks and displacement of Indigenous Peoples. The World Bank and corporations are seizing Indigenous’ lands for new projects, particularly in South America. Indigenous Peoples were assassinated in Colombia as land was cleared for a wind project.
On the Longest Walk Talk Radio, there are also interviews on the economic collapse and war profiteering in the United States, the proliferation of power plants to enrich Bush’s corporate donors, profiteering by private security contractors such as Blackwater and the rapid expansion and construction of private prisons to imprison migrants for profit. At the Hutto migrant prison in Taylor, Texas, women, children and babies are imprisoned. Women have been sexually assaulted and children are deprived and abused. The United States denied entry to the prison by a United Nations Rapporteur documenting abuses of migrants.
Another reality voiced on the radio talk show is the cost of the bogus war in Iraq. American Indians and people of color, along with poor whites, are considered expendables to die in Iraq.
Meanwhile, on the Longest Walk northern route, on Wednesday, June 4, the walkers were all safe and well, but with a great deal of wet camping gear, after another night of lightning and rain in an eastern Ohio campground. During the past four months, walkers have camped in below freezing temperatures in the west and then camped in weeks of rain and winds from tornados in the Midwest.
Walkers on the northern route converge with walkers on the southern route, now in Alabama, to march into Washington on July 11. A four day Cultural Survival Summit is planned for July 8 – 11 and rallies and events for July 12 – 13.
Listen to the latest interviews about the prayer walkers attacked by Ohio police:
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