September 18, 2019

Indigenous activists and allies gather at Utah State Capitol and Warm Springs Park during U.N. Civil Society Conference

(L to R) Indigenous activists Davina Smith, Teyana Viscarra, and Carl Moore speak on the Utah State Capitol steps about social and environmental justice at the end of a 330-mile Prayer Run from Bears Ears to Salt Lake City on August 26.  Photos by Michael Evans|Native American drummers accompany the fancy dancers and well-wishers circle on Capitol Hill at the culmination of the Indigenous Youth Solidarity Prayer Run on August 26. Photos by Michael Evans|||| (L to R) Indigenous activists Davina Smith, Teyana Viscarra, and Carl Moore speak on the Utah State Capitol steps about social and environmental justice at the end of a 330-mile Prayer Run from Bears Ears to Salt Lake City on August 26. Photos by Michael Evans|Native American drummers accompany the fancy dancers and well-wishers circle on Capitol Hill at the culmination of the Indigenous Youth Solidarity Prayer Run on August 26. Photos by Michael Evans|||| |||||

By Michael Evans

Leaders from Bear’s Ears Tribal coalition and their allies gathered at the Utah State Capitol during the first day of the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference on August 26. The next day, they participated in a “Taking the Waters” ceremony at Warm Springs Park in Salt Lake City – an area historically regarded as sacred to indigenous people.

10,000 Allies Gatherings brought together activists from a wide spectrum of social, environmental, and civil causes – defending Bear’s Ears National Monument, bringing attention to missing and murdered indigenous women, protesting the Inland Port, and advocating for clean air and water, to name a few.

Davina Smith, a Diné (Navajo) woman and Executive Director of the SLC Air Protectors, led allies on a 330-mile Prayer Run that started from the Four Corners on August 13. Allies took turns running alongside Davina as she covered approximately 26 miles per day.

Prayer runners and allies brought sacred items, or medicine bundles, to hold their prayers in and placed them on the steps of the Utah State Capitol. Smith brought a medicine bag filled with sacred herbs blessed by a medicine man in the Bear’s Ears National Monument. 


Later she participated in a panel discussion at the U.N. Civil Society Conference.

For further details about the Indigenous Youth Solidarity Prayer Run, Davina Smith, and Warm Springs Park, visit http://www.warmspringsalliance.org/prayerrun/