Final Day Otho – Fort Dodge

Eighth day.  September 8, 2018.  Walk 12.4 miles from Otho to the end of the march at Fort Dodge, Iowa.

It was cold when we awoke this morning at 6:00 a.m. and broke camp in the dark. I didn’t want to get out of the sleeping bag. But this was the big day, one we were both looking forward to, and not. Fortunately hot coffee was ready. Last night we talked about the need to get going early, because people would be expecting us to arrive in Fort Dodge by 1:30 pm. Many of us were skeptical that we could leave early enough to walk the 12.4 miles to get there in time, but we managed to do so.

One way this will be an interesting day for me is because my camera battery finally died. I thought it would last, and hadn’t brought my battery charger. So the photos of this final day of the march were taken with my cell phone camera.

Before we started walking, we had a nice ceremony where we gave the money we had collected to Alton and Foxy as a gift for their upcoming wedding. Fintan decorated the envelope.

Many times I heard people talking about how sad they will be when the March is finished. Many friendships had been made, as you can see from all the smiles in the photos. Among my many new friends were Matt and Alton, so I was glad to have the selfie Alton took of us, and the photo Miriam took of Matt and I. Matt and I talked much of this final day of the March. Since the end of the March we have chatted via Messenger. I’m glad we’re keeping in touch. He is editing more of the video he took during the March and I look forward to seeing them.

We had a police escort through downtown Fort Dodge. At the City Square Park the tipi had been set up.

I was amazed by the huge mural that hung on the side of the gear truck. Several people had been working on this all during the week.

Drummers played and sang the “Mni Wiconi Song.” According to The Messenger newspaper, the English translation of the lyrics is:

“Grandmother earth gives life
The water is sacred
The water that gives life is sacred
DAPL is very bad
The Nation needs to take heart and be brave.”

The Messenger published a nice summary of the March and celebration, with photos, including one of my bandaged foot and shoes. “Many steps. One journey”, September 10, 2018.

My foot Fort Dodge Messenger

The band Brutal Republic performed. All of their equipment was being powered by the solar system that had accompanied us all week. My brother Randy, who was there to give me a ride home, thought they sounded really good and would have like to stay for a while. But I was way too tired to enjoy it.

During the week we came to understand how much work was involved in planning and guiding this March, and are very grateful. So many people contributed in so many ways.

I hope we can be together again soon. As our environmental chaos gets worse, I think a combination of the knowledge and wisdom of Indigenous people and progressive farmers, thinkers and activists will be crucial.

Two-eyed seeing “recognizes the benefits of seeing from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous ways of knowing, from the other eye the strengths of the Western ways of knowing, and using both of these eyes together to create new forms of understanding and insight.”  

Elder Albert Marshall (Mi’kmaq, Eskasoni First Nation) from Urban Tribes, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

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