Norman “Wounded Knee” DeOcampo (Miwok), a long-time resident of Vallejo, California is taking part in the Longest Walk 5, which began February 13, 2016 at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California.
Wounded Knee is the founding executive director of the Vallejo-based organization Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT). For many years, Wounded Knee advocated for the protection of sacred site, “Sogorea Te” located in the Glen Cove area of Vallejo. A spiritual occupation of the Native American sacred burial site lasted 109 days, beginning in April of 2011. The spiritual occupation of Sogorea Te ended in August of 2011 with a cultural easement; a landmark decision that had never been done within city limits or with a park district within a city. Wounded Knee, SSPRIT members, allies, and supporters also advocated for the removal of the Vallejo High School Mascot; Apache. The Vallejo High School Mascot was removed in November 2013.
“The Longest Walks are held to bring attention to issues that directly affect Native Americans,” Wounded Knee said. “Myself, and several SSPRIT members will be participating in the Longest Walk 5.”
The first Longest Walk was organized in 1978. The Longest Walk 2 through 4 were held from 2008 to 2014. The Longest Walk 5 will cover 3,600 miles, and will travel through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, before ending in Washington, D.C. on July 15, 2016.
Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, will be leading The Longest Walk 5 and has declared this walk to be a “War on Drugs.” Wounded Knee is the only person who will have participated in all five Longest Walks.
For more information about the Longest Walk 5: War on Drugs, contact National Coordinator Orlando Vigil at 619-820-5945, or visit the Longest Walk 5 website.
For more information about SSPRIT, visit their Facebook page.