By MelHuey - Posted on 17 July 2011

The Brandon, Manitoba, gathering brought together Peace and Dignity supporters from all over Abya Yala from June 17 to June 19. Here is a report on the ceremonies and meetings with a few photos.


medium_Circle3Mail_1.JPGThis report on the Peace and Dignity gathering in Brandon, Manitoba, is a little late because after the gathering I bicycled for two weeks in the Rockies. Barbara Blind of Brandon had a difficult task organizing for the conference as flooding in the area forced last minute changes of site for the meeting. A park about 10 miles from Brandon was secured. It worked out well as the site used to be a meeting place of different nations during buffalo hunts. The gathering began on the evening of Friday, June 17, when runners arrived after a 5 day 500 mile run from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Along with the Eagle staff there were 112 staffs that were tied to the stakes around the medicine circle. (See attached photos) A fire was tended for 3 days while the staffs were up. Introductions and songs took up most of Friday evening. I met a lot of old friends from Peace and Dignity People from past runs through Oregon, plus I made new friends with people from other parts of the hemisphere. Besides Brandon and Saskatoon, attendees came from Vancouver BC, Denver, New York, Tucson, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, Puerto Rico, 3 people from Mexico, 3 from Guatemala, 1 from Uruguay, and 1 from El Salvador. Karina from Sinaloa, Mexico, did a good job of translating into Spanish or English depending on the speaker.

Saturday morning Jerry from San Diego demonstrated the new web site they have created . There are photo galleries, videos, blogs, postings by region (though they have not yet set up the Northwest), administrator files for download with graphics, flyers, and sample letters. Hector Cerda of Fresno presented a power point file to explain Peace and Dignity. It is now available for us to use in organizing.

medium_Gustavo_Hector en circleMail_1.JPGRegional reports were given the rest of Saturday and into Sunday. Many areas are doing runs connected with local events, one is connected to celebration of Dia de Los Muertos, and several with water issues. Several areas discussed their fund raising efforts and offered to share materials with other regions. One good idea was a Peace and Dignity Calendar to be available at the end of the year. Other merchandise that will be available are a new audio CD, T-shirts, post cards, a quilt raffle, and a craft fair in Brandon. Brenda Quintero of Los Angeles is asking for photos and stories of water to be published in a zine. If you have something to contribute send it to Brenda at . Hector Cerda in his report of Fresno area said the tax exempt depository, “Friends of Peace and Dignity” should be in place by December. This is important if we are to obtain donations from organizations that will only donate to tax exempt organizations. A Canadian woman who is an attorney is going to set up a Canadian version of a tax except organization to collect funds in Canada. Vanessa reported for the Taíno community in New York and Boriken (Puerto Rico) stating it was her ancestors who discovered Columbus. In 2012 they plan a run down the East Coast then hopping through Caribbean islands and finally joining the main run in Yucatan, Mexico. I reported on the Northwest conference held last December in Olympia and the Winnemum Wintu salmon run held in Eugene. Also our Peace and Dignity buttons were popular and almost everyone at the conference bought one or more raising about $90 for PDJ. (We still have a lot left if interested in a supply contact me.)

medium_2012MapRoutesMail_1.JPGAfter the regional reports Jose Malvido, North American Coordinator, spoke of the need for funds to pay for the 2012 Journey. Vans are needed and it is expected to cost $100,000 in gasoline to fuel all the North American routes. Jose then marked a map of Turtle Island with all the routes that are currently planned for 2012. A photo of this map is attached to this email. After lunch the last remaining item of business was a discussion of where the run should end in 2012. The general sentiment of the group was to end the 2012 journey in Guatemala because of the Mayan Calendar prophecy. Contrarily a letter in Spanish was read and translated from South America urging the run to end in Quito, Ecuador. It was suggested to offer more help to South America so they can travel the extra distance to Guatemala. Negotiations are pending.

After the meeting a touring group of Aztec Dancers from Guadalajara danced at the medicine circle (see attached photo.) Everyone joined in for the last dance then the staffs were taken down and the gathering officially ended.

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