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Timeline / Renewing Native Ways / 1978: ‘Longest Walk’ draws attention to American Indian concerns

1978: ‘Longest Walk’ draws attention to American Indian concerns

Several hundred American Indian activists and supporters march for five months from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to protest threats to tribal lands and water rights. The Longest Walk is the last major event of the Red Power Movement.

“The Longest Walk was intended to symbolize the forced removal of American Indians from their homelands and to draw attention to the continuing problems of Indian people and their communities. The event was also intended to expose and challenge the backlash movement against Indian treaty rights that was gaining strength around the country and in Congress. This backlash could be seen in the growing number of bills before Congress to abrogate Indian treaties and restrict Indian rights.” —Troy Johnson, Joane Nagel, and Duane Champagne, American Indian Activism: Alcatraz to the Longest Walk

Land and Water, Native Rights
California, Great Basin, Great Plains, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Southeast, Southwest

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At the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

Courtesy Kiyoshi Miyata

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Speaker at a rally for the Longest Walk

Courtesy Kiyoshi Miyata

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The Longest Walk poster, 1978

Courtesy Dennis Banks and Takeo Koshikawa