Runners representing the Caribbean-based FLIGHT OF THE RED TAIL HAWK contingent of the Peace and Dignity Journeys stayed for two days in the south western Pennsylvania area near Pittsburgh from Friday evening August 10, 2012 to Sunday morning noon August 12, having started their trek in New York City a few days earlier. They were on their way west to join up with the main group who started in Alaska, headed south for Guatemala. They all plan to meet in Guatemala with a similar contingent of runners making their way north from the southernmost tip of South America. The two groups will meet at the midpoint of the American continent in Central America as they have done every four years since 1992 in manifestation of the ancient prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor. This year the transcontinental run is dedicated as a form of prayer in behalf of the waters of the earth.
The epocal year 2012 marks the first year that a Caribbean Indigenous contingent becomes part of this beautiful prayer in action which is composed of members of Indigenous tribes from all over the Americas and their supporters. Our Taino runners began their historic efforts back in 2010 by making their way running all over the island of Boriken (Puerto Rico) sponsored primarily by the Bohio Atabex women's council, headed by Boriken Taino Grandmother Vanessa Inaru, as well as the United Confederation of Taino People and its president the Boriken Taino Kasike Roberto Mukaro Borrero.
Following that initial effort a similar run was sponsored on the island of Kiskeya (Dominican Republic) by Kiskeya Taino kasike Roman Guaraguaorix in 2011 also with the support and assistance of Inaru the Bohio Atabex and the UCTP. At around that same time Grandmother Inaru was able to acquire an additional symbolic staff representing the Tainos of the island of Cuba to be added to the sacred bundle of staffs of the Caribbean contingent.
The runners arrived in Western Pennsylvania on Friday evening and traversed a path through the Monroeville and Penn Hills communities until finally reaching the Verona Pennsylvania teaching lodge of the CANEY INDIGENOUS SPIRITUAL CIRCLE in the Pittsburgh suburb of Verona, PA, which is the home of Cuba Taino beike (spiritual guide) Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague.
photo taken in Monroeville PA minutes after the contingent arrived in the area.
As the designated local western Pennsylvania co-ordinator in my area I was assisted by our Taino sister Alliea Taitt-Martinez shown here with Waka, one of the Boriken runners.
photo taken at the home of Miguel Sague
After a brief respite during which the staffs were ceremonially put to rest in their bundles and also during which most of the runners showered and all of the runners rested the two-van caravan made their way to the "Singing Winds" site of the COUNCIL OF THREE RIVERS AMERICAN INDIAN CENTER in the Pittsburgh suburb of Dorseyville, Pennsylvania.
photo taken in front of the administrative building of the Indian Center of Pittsburgh
Two runners discussing one of the symbolic murals by the Cherokee artist Johnny Creed Coe that grace the walls of the Indian Center.
The Taino van in front of the Indian Center main building.
Accompanied by Caney Circle beike Miguel Sague the group spent a restful night at the Indian Center and mentally prepared for a morning of ceremony on the following day.
On Saturday morning the group awoke early and headed back to my home for breakfast and ceremony.
In this photo the Boriken Taino runner Waka sits at the entrance of my home's meditation room where the staffs and sacred bundles were laid to rest during the time when we were there.
After breakfast we set about preparing for a blessing ceremony and a guanara or kansi purification (sweatlodge).
We were fortunate that several of the runners who were with us that day and also my good Cheyenne friend Harold Roman Nose (known as "Dog" by his friends) are pretty handy at fire tending. We had a wonderful ceremony!
I had to leave the group right after the ceremony to take care of a commitment and I left the runners with Alliea and her husband who kept things under control during my absence. Some of the participants remained in the sweatlodge even after I left and others rested and ate food prepared by both my wife Leni and some of their own people.
That evening Alliea and her husband led the group back out to the Indian Center where I joined them later on that night.
On Sunday Morning the group awoke prepared to resume the run toward Ohio and points west. We had already connected the group with Caney Circle beike Rose Anao Quinones of Youngstown, Ohio, who made arrangements for their passage through her state via Cleveland and beyond.
Before they left I gathered them down in the area of the Indian Center that we in the Caney Circle know as the SHRINE OF THE FOUR TREES. This spot is the site where in the Spring of 1990, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of EARTH DAY we the members of the Caney Circle planted four pine seedlings in a configuration of the Medicine Wheel and the four directions. Each tiny little tree was planted in the North the South the East and the West. Now over twenty years later these trees are large and magnificent, and in the center there has been created a phenomenally sacred spot where I place vision questers during their stay at the center for blessing by the tree spirits.
We brought the staffs down there and placed each one individually one by one inside the sacred space at the center of the four trees to be blessed by them. It was a powerful ceremony.
This photo was taken in front of the SHRINE OF THE FOUR TREES
After the tree ceremony the group finally left the Indian Center for the last time.
We travelled back to my home in Verona, PA one last time and they resumed the run right there.
We parted company on Sunday August 12 at around noon and the run proceeded forth all the way to Ohio where Rose took over and handled the took care of them allowing them to camp out on her home property and helping to feed them while in the Youngstown area. Afterwards she helped find accomodations in Cleveland and also assisted in organizing their passage west from there.
It was a real blessing for us members of the CANEY INDIGENOUS SPIRITUAL CIRCLE here in the western Pennsylvania and Ohio area to have been given the opportunity to participate in this wonderful prayer for Mother Earth's waters. We pray that the run continues in a sacred manner until the Red Tail Hawk contingent unites with the main group of runners from Alaska and from there all the way to Guatemala in November.
Seneko Kakona (many blessings)
Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague