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Dear Friends and Family-

The Amanda story continues to be told in Yachats. That small town on the central coast of Oregon looms larger than a big city as a teller of history, a reminder of atrocities and a generator of peaceful respect. It is also a place that, at least once a year -- by remembering Amanda -- one is invited to go beyond the constructs of white man's perceived physical and spiritual boundaries and understand how the world could be.

Amanda is a real person who suffered unimaginably when her daughter was separated from her and she was forcibly marched barefoot up the coast to join other members of her tribe in the concentration camp at Yachats. She lived out her life there in horrible conditions. She was blind and finding her way across the rough ancient lava rock cut her feet horribly such that she left a path of bloody footprints along the way.

I remember the story of Amanda often, but especially so on New Year's Day at the Yachats annual Peace Hike. This event happens because of extraordinary people like Joanne Kittel, who spearheaded the construction of a trail leading to a commemorative statue of Amanda, and Lauralee Svendsgaard who directs the annual event. But it is the gracious participation of tribal leaders such as Doc Slyter, Jesse Beers, Mark Petrie and their families that helps open the door to that special 'other' place where differences can be reconciled, boundaries can evaporate and our worth as human beings becomes no more or less important than that of every living thing around us.

If you want to learn more about the Amanda story, I have provided a couple of links below. But the best way to really understand what she means is to go there and take the short hike to visit her grotto. You will feel rewarded.

What happened to Amanda took place a century and a half ago, but it is another demonstration of one outcome of racism. It leads to genocide. Furthermore, these types of actions continue today; most obviously at our southern border. We need to make them stop.


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