The origins of the Honor Journey has its roots
in a very inspirational Native American dance troupe, DEER CHASER,
comprised of Lakota youth from Pine Ridge Reservation. DEER CHASER
and Honor Journey Staff have collaborated in the past organizing
and directing two Native American Earth Rhythm events in Pennsylvania
as well as numerous Indigenous Awareness Programs at schools,
universities, and with radio and TV interviews from 1998-2002.
The children of the DEER CHASER Dance Troupe have been a great
influence in the staff's desire to educate people regarding the
issues that Native Americans face today.
The formation of the Honor Journey model
has been shaped after a successful project called "The Rising
Nation Journey," in which the Honor Journey staff served
as key organizers. The first Rising Nation Journey was a 330-mile
canoe journey in August 2002 that took place from the top of
the Delaware River in Hancock, NY to Cape May NJ. The goal of
the Rising Nation Journey was to create awareness regarding the
Lena'pe clans (Wolf, Turkey, and Turtle), the original inhabitants
and their long historical connection with the Delaware River
corridor. The journey marked a new beginning of brotherhood between
the Lena'pe Tribe and the people that neighbor the river. Throughout
the 2002 journey, respected Lena'pe individuals carried wampum
as a traditional symbolic treaty from the Lena'pe Tribe to the
people of Pennsylvania. A Treaty of Brotherhood, signed between
"The People" and the Lena'pe Tribe, took place to celebrate
this time of historical significance. Representatives of the
tribe and various environmental organizations, historical societies,
churches, schools, and universities signed the first documentation.
Those parties signing made a commitment to actively preserve,
protect, and honor the Lena'pe Tribe.
The treaty is renewed every four years,
with those groups and organizations wishing to recommit or to
commit for the first time to the Lena'pe Tribe, thus the Treaty
of Brotherhood is a living treaty. In 2006, the Lena'pe Tribe
and its supporters again made an extensive journey down the Delaware
River. Twenty-one organizations and individuals signed the 2006
"A society that cannot remember
its past and honor it is in peril of losing its soul."
--Vine Deloria, Jr., Member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
of Fort Yates, North Dakota.