In the Spirit of Big Mountain at Alcatraz Island: “We Discovered ColumBUSH!”
By Bahe Katenay
By Bahe Katenay
Photo: 1978 Longest Walk by Beverly Powless
October 14, 2008 When the opportunity came along for me to take time off work and go to the San Francisco Bay Area, I decided that I have to attend the Sunrise ceremony to honor the Longest Walk participants from 1978 and 2008, and join my indigenous relatives and other non-Native allies. I particularly wanted to remember and honor my mother, Zhonnie Chii Diil’ Katenay, who passed on into the spirit world eleven months ago. My mom has been on Alcatraz Island before for two “Thanksgiving holiday” events. My dad, Jon Keediniihii, told me before I went to the Bay Area and Alcatraz that, he went once but my mom had been to Alcatraz twice: “It has been years ago that we took a boat filled with mostly Indian people and we went out to ‘a small piece of earth’ that was situated in the middle of a large bay. The people made a fire and everyone gathered in a circle around that fire, and your mom was asked to do a prayer for that special gathering of nations. Mom made a beautiful and strong prayer as she always did. After the ceremonies on ‘that little land,’ the late Arlene Hamilton told us that a family from the Berkeley hills had invited us to a feast, and so we all went up into the hills that were across from the city of San Francisco. That was how my travel went back then with Arlene and your mom. Now, it is good to hear that the Indians are still returning to ‘that little piece of land’ to do the ceremonies.”
Read also Bahe Katenay's article, censored by Indian Country Today in 2004, on oil and gas drilling in Navajos' sacred place of origin Dinetah.
Bahe said, “Gas reserves are drilled in places where White Shell Woman was found by Talking God and places where she did her Kinalda (puberty ceremony). Places where the Twin Warrior Gods made their divine deeds are alsodesecrated with drilling, piping, wells and recreation activities. The Dine’ have lost these lands and their ‘puppet’ tribal government have refused to fight for a claim to this area,” Katenay said. Read the censored article: