Cover Story

Community members walk with family and friends as they remember all those in the Community who have passed on.

Walk for O’odham/Piipaash

By Tasha Silverhorn
Au-Authm Action News

On Saturday, October 5, members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community gathered at the Lehi Community Building to walk for those who have gone before and to pray for those who are struggling with addiction, sickness and other afflictions.

“As we walk this morning, it’s not about endurance, it’s to reflect on our Community,” said SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier as he welcomed the participants to the Walk for the O’odham and Piipaash. “Lately there has been a lot of death in our Community, [and] it’s good to think about those families who are still grieving. We have a lot of our members that are not doing well, including a lot of youth that we need to keep in our prayers who aren’t in the Community because they might be in foster-care programs. We are praying for those children and their families that at some point they can come back to the Community again and be with everyone."

“As we walk, let’s just think about the issues that we’re facing here in the Community,” Harvier continued. “I want to thank all the parents who brought their children with them, because that’s what it’s really about, to set a good example for our youth. I really believe what is happening here today is that our youth can see that those of you who are here as parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, that you care about the Community and you care about your family.”

Walkers were blessed with cool weather, and Piipaash singers sang traditional songs as the walkers set off on their 2-mile walk through Lehi. The walk started at the Lehi Community Building, heading north on Stapley Drive to Thomas Road, then west on Thomas to Horne, traveling south on Horne. The walkers made it to Oak Street, then turned east back to the Lehi Community Building, where a pancake breakfast by Ernie’s Catering was waiting for them.

After breakfast, everyone was treated to a performance of Piipaash dances by the Vospo dance group. Students and members of Kilali’s Polynesian Revue and Dance School also performed a number of cultural dances representing the islands of Hawaii and Polynesia. Two SRPMIC members, Briah Johnson and Eve Lopez, performed with the group, showing off what they have learned during their dance classes at Kilali’s Dance School. There was also a special performance by the Salt River Police Department and Salt River Fire Department, and members of the audience joined in to learn the haka, a Maori war dance.

The event was a great success, and some shared their impressions of the day.

“We came out to walk for the Rez and be reunited with our people,” said Jenna Norris. “It was too short of a walk. I like the ones that were from the Red Mountain to here in Lehi, or from Lehi to Salt River.”

“I wanted them to be more involved in the Community,” said Adia Wood about why she and her family came out for the walk. “It was a nice family event.”
Nate Wood didn’t think the walk was too long or too short. “The walk was just right!” he said.

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