Peace and Dignity Runners on the Move

Sacred staffs from Kiskeia (Dominican Republic) and Boriken (Puerto Rico) unite in New York.In photo from left to right Vanessa Inarunuka Pastrana, Roman Guaraguorix Perez, Maximus Prophet, Raphael Landron, and Hector Cerda. Photo courtesy of Amy Ponce
New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) – A group of Taino people participating in the 2012 Peace and Dignity Journeys left New York this week toward the mid-west to begin a ceremonial run that will concluded later this year in Guatemala. The group’s original east coast route was changed to answer a call to assist other runners near the Chicago area. The Peace and Dignity journeys are intercontinental runs organized to link indigenous communities throughout the hemisphere and raise awareness on indigenous issues.

The contingent that departed New York was part of an historic ceremony at Brook Park this past Sunday, which introduced a sacred prayer staff or “matuko” from Kiskeia (Dominican Republic) to the bundle of staffs that arrived with runners from Boriken (Puerto Rico). These prayer staffs represent the “prayers of the people” and are carried by the runners throughout the run.

The two groups of approximately 18 runners, representing citizens of various indigenous Nations and communities, are now expected to arrive in the Pittsburgh area late tonight. They will be hosted by the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle and the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center. The participants and supporters are planning for ceremony on Saturday morning before they move on toward Ohio and beyond.

As in previous runs, the 2012 Peace and Dignity Journeys are a grass-roots effort, supported by the runners themselves, caring individuals, and various indigenous communities. Donations are still actively being sought to assist the runners with food, transportation expenses, and other necessities. Monetary donations can be made via Pay Pal until August 15 at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/164824. Organizers stress that “no donation is too small” and that those interested in supporting this historic initiative can contact vanessainaru@gmail.com  for more information.