The Longest Walk, one of the American Indian Movement’s famous marches, took place during the year of 1978. This 3,600 mile walk’s initiate purpose was to gather enough aid and support to stop the proposed legislation and abolish Native American treaties with the United States government after eleven new legislative bills were introduced by the 95th United States Congress. These treaties were supposed to protect the remaining pieces of Native sovereignty.
On July 15, 1978, “The Longest Walk” marched into Washington D.C. with several hundreds of supporters marching alongside them, including American boxer Muhammad Ali, American Senator Ted Kennedy and actor Marlon Brando. The Longest Walk of 1978 led to the defeat of the eleven legislative bills, and protected the remaining Treaty rights of the Native American people possessed. The activism contributed to the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
On July 11, 2008, an 8,200-mile walk, which had started from the San Francisco Bay area, for Native American rights, environment protection, and to stop global warming, reached Washington, D.C after approximately 175 days. Participants crossed 26 states on two different routes. The Longest Walk 2, as it was called by the walkers, consisted of over 100 Native American nations and an international group who walked and picked up more than 8,000 bags of garbage on their way to Washington, D.C. In Washington, the walkers delivered a 30-page manifesto, “The Manifesto of Change”, and a list of demands, including mitigation for climate change, environmental sustainability plans, protection of sacred sites, and renewal of improvement to Native American sovereignty and health. This walk commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the original Longest Walk.