Photo by Renee Lomen

By Merv Thomas

On December 1st, 2011 at the Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, on behalf of the Aboriginal People Living with HIV and AIDS presented the HIV and AIDS staff to the Peace and Dignity Journeys bundle.  This staff was presented to the bundle in the hopes those living with HIV and AIDS and those at risk may find healing in the prayers as the runners trek across North America to Guatemala, where they will join their South America counterparts.

The Peace and Dignity Journey 2012 is dedicated to water.  The following is an excerpt from the Peace and Dignity flyer:

“Water is currently under worldwide threat from contamination by toxic substances, and rapidly disappearing form natural geographic locations.  Glacial rivers, lakes and entire oceans are being poisoned by the constant harm of corporate self-interest.  The lack of consideration for future generations which include all living organisms is leading to the possible extinction of species that are necessary for the survival of all human beings.

It is now our responsibility, the Eagles nations of the North, to manifest the prophecy which our ancestors left for us to keep alive.  We must meet our Condor relatives of the South halfway and re-establish the connection to the water and its sacredness in this universe.  We must learn from our relatives to the South and not allow water to be contaminated from mining, oil drilling, nuclear waste and to be privatized within plastic bottles or behind concrete dams. 
Water is critical and necessary to the daily life of all human beings but is also an equally powerful element which private companies can use to control our lives.  We must organize our communities towards a movement that will restore equal access to clean water for all while at the same time ensuring that the water does not become private property for the personal profit of a few.  We must remind all those who have forgotten the importance of water that this naturally occurring element is the shared resource of all human beings.  To learn how you can participate in the 2012 Journey, visit us on our website:

Currently the runners are in Northern BC and will reach Vancouver around June 27, 2012.

With every stride, every kilometer, every thousand miles, through many different climate changes, from severe cold and rain in the northern and southern tips to the severe hot and dry climates of the deserts, from North America and South America, the runners are praying for the healing of water and they are also praying for what each staff symbolizes.

It is the hope that one day, there will be a cure for HIV and AIDS and that this epidemic will no longer threaten Indigenous communities throughout the world.

Our hopes, prayers and support are with the runners and to the communities that they visit.

Should you wish to support the Peace and Dignity Journeys please go to their website at and make a donation.  Copy the link and place on your browser.

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