Published March 14, 2017
ELKO, NEVADA – The Longest Walk 5.2 (LW 5.2) against Drugs and Domestic Violence arrived Sunday afternoon at the Elko Colony in northeast Nevada. The group was greeted warmly by members of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone, including Elko Band elders and Chairman David Decker. The walkers were thankful for the food, shelter, and the opportunity to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence that are pandemic in Indian country.
As the LW 5.2 travels across the country from San Francisco to Washington DC, they are visiting indigenous communities collecting data and input about drug abuse and domestic violence. This data will be added to the data collected last year when the Longest Walk 5.1 took a southern route and left from La Jolla, California to Washington D.C. (articles about that trip can be read at https://nativenewsonline.net/the-longest-walk-5-war-on-drugs-conversation/ and https://nativenewsonline.net/longest-walk-5-war-drugs-domestic-violence-log2-second-half-trip/).
Next year more data will be collected along a northern route that will leave from Seattle and again travel through Indian Country to their destination in Washington D.C. When the walkers are finished in July 2018 they will have data from all over Indian Country that they will use to find cures to the problems of drug abuse and domestic violence. In the words of Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement states:
“Our mission is to cross this continent on foot; seeking cultural and spiritual solutions to end drug abuse and domestic violence.”
Darla Lozano, Te-Moak Housing Crime Prevention Coordinator put reality to the walkers and runners mission. She said:
“In 2013, on August 5 my son Wes Lozano III was killed by another community member. Wes was an addict. His drug of choice was methamphetamine. The day that he was killed he just got off work. And he went to get a change of clothes at his aunt’s house.
The person that was there was supposed to be his friend, another community member, shot him in the chest. He wasn’t shot in his heart, he was shot in the other side of his chest, but I guess it hit a main artery. It caused his heart to explode.
Wes died two days before his birthday. I buried him that Friday. It was really hard. If it wasn’t for my community to stand with me and to be with me through that time I really seriously couldn’t have made it. It was through them that I was able to get the strength and the energy to continue on, to be able to take care of his children and be a mom to them.
Their mom was also an addict. Her father was killed in 2012 and her husband was gone in 2013. And the trauma she experienced. She ended falling off and just lost herself in drugs. Every now and then we do see her, but it’s hard.”
Ms. Lozano’s story is one of many in communities across the country affected by drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Darla Lozano continued speaking about her event planned for tonight.
“I will be putting on the bonfire at sundown Tuesday Night, the event is to rally the community to end the violence: family violence, domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, bullying. All the things that have affected us throughout our lives. Throughout Indian Country. Throughout every community.”
Special appreciation to Stephanie Dodaro for assistance.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.