During the early morning of October 4, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members arrived at Friendship Park, located at the Two Waters Complex, for the annual Walk for O’odham and Piipaash.
The walk is a way for the Community to come together as a whole to confront the many negative issues within the Community, and for everyone to just come together and walk for the past, present and the future.
“I walked for fallen [Salt River Police Department] officer Jair Cabrera, because he took time to learn about our Community, and even its languages,” said Community member Debra Cachora.
The walk started a little after 7 a.m. that morning with a prayer from Community member Kailey Toney. Then participants took a route out of the park onto Osborn Road, going around the block in a 2-mile path in 75-degree weather.
“I thought the walk was pretty good. This is the first time I participated in the walk. I work with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Arizona, who is a partner with the Lehi Boys & Girls Club, which is how I heard about it, and it was a nice experience,” said Bobbi Nez.
A total of 327 individuals registered for the event. At the end of the walk, they enjoyed breakfast from Ernie’s Catering.
“It was a very good walk. I think it was better than previous walks in the past,” said Cathleen Thomas Moreno.
The Walk for O’odham and Piipaash has been taking place within the Community for 12 years. “This was created at a time when violence, crime and suicide were at an all-time high in the Community,” said Community member Anita Rivers. “There was so much pain going on in the Community, and a group of Community members including elders, spiritual advisors and Council members decided to create a walk for the members, and it was named ‘Walk for O’odham and Piipaash,’” said Rivers.
Rivers continued that former SRPMIC Vice-President Leonard Rivers, Bobbi Carlos, Shane Anton, Alice Manuel, Violet Mitchell-Enos, Marcus Begay, Meldon Fulwilder and other Community members and staff also took part in planning the Walk for O’odham and Piipaash, which hopefully will go on for many years to come.