March 29, 2007
Contact: Institute of EcoTourism
928.282.2720 or www.ioet.org
H2OPI Runners Arrive in Sedona for Earth Day
Carrying the Gift of Water Week Begins
SEDONA, AZ: The going across the high desert is hard and painful. But the runners do not run for glory or to win. They do not expect rewards or recognition when they reach the end of their journey. These are Hopi Messengers, and they run for the run…and to carry the gift of water from Hopi to Sedona. After 130 miles, these runners will arrive on the afternoon of Earth Day, April 22, to begin a very special week in Sedona. Crowds of friends and well-wishers will be at First Piggy Park, creek side at Los Abrigados to welcome them.
The Institute of EcoTourism has partnered with Black Mesa Trust to sponsor the run and the week of cultural and artistic exchange. It will be the highlight of a month of events during “April is Water Awareness Month” in Sedona. The run, activities and celebrations will serve to unite the Hopi and Sedona communities. Other tribes from the region will also join in as they honor the gift of water to this desert area.
The Run to Mexico City
The idea for the run was inspired by the 1500-mile Hopi-to-Mexico Run in 2006 when runners took messages about water from Hopi to the World Water Forum in Mexico City. The run from the Hopi Mesas to the banks of Oak Creek was organized to raise awareness of the value of water and conservation in the desert. The runners will carry water and heritage seeds in traditional Hopi water gourds from the Hopi Mesa to share with the people of Sedona.
After running 130 miles from the Hopi Mesas, the H2OPI Messengers will arrive on April 22, Earth Day, carrying the gift of water to Sedona. A welcome will be held in Creekside Park at Los Abrigados that afternoon.
“Water goes beyond all cultures, all perceived boundaries, all languages, all living beings,” said Diane Dearmore, executive director of the Institute of EcoTourism. “Let’s celebrate and honor water because each of us carries the gift of water. The Hopis are coming here to help us remember that.”
After three days of working their way across the desert and down through the canyons, the Hopi runners will arrive at Oak Creek in Sedona on Earth Day, April 22. There they will be greeted with a multicultural celebration hosted by members of the Hopi, Apache, Yavapai-Apache, Havasupai, Hualapai, and Navajo tribes, Sedona citizens and city officials, and religious leaders from other faiths.
The runners will range in age from 12 to 75 years old. Long distance running is a proud Hopi tradition that is still widely practiced on the Mesas today. “Our traditions, our beliefs, aren’t dead,” said Vernon Masayesva, past chairman of the Hopi Tribal Council who helped to organize the event. “We are the rain people trying to convey water’s message of peace.”
During the rest of that week, there will be heritage seed planting, concerts, indigenous and local art exhibitions, and a wonderful potluck picnic and dance featuring traditional foods from many cultures. And all Water Awareness Month, there will be more water events and celebrations.
For more information about the events or to volunteer to help out, call the Institute of EcoTourism at 928.282.2720.