A light drizzle fell, darkening the woods and tents in Greenbelt Park where some 2,800 Indians and supporters were encamped yesterday. They were resting from their Longest Walk march Saturday and preparing for new demonstrations today.
Campsites divided into tribal and family groups were cluttered with boxes, cans, personal gear, cars, tents, food and fire wood.
Young children skipped through the woods or hitched rides on the hoods and bumpers of overloaded cars going from campsite to campsite, while the elders slept, soaked their feet, listened to transistor radios or talked quietly.
Nylon tents, traditional tepees and enormous olive drab field tents loaned by the Army were set side by side in the woods.
While most of the Indians rested during the day, a small diverse army of National Park Service rangers, military personnel, Indian security guards and various civilian volunteers worked to maintain a tenuous discipline in the park.
Park rangers coordinated traffic, monitored logistical needs and maintained outer checkpoints on roads leading onto the Indian encampment.
Indian security guards, in cooperation with rangers, maintained inner checkpoints, stopping cars with non-Indian occupants and assigning escorts to them.
U.S. Army cadremen from Fort Meade and Fort Eustis set up five field kitchens, two refrigerations units for perishable food, about 20 storage tents and two field shower units. D.C. National Guardsmen brought eight 400-gallon water tanks to supplement the park's meager water supply.
Volunteers, including a group of nuns from the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Little Flower Parish, Bethesda, joined Indian women in preparing food, peelong potatoes and dicing onions for dinner last night.
There were snafus, Diesel fuel to heat water for one of the '50-person field shower units became mixed with water and had to be replaced, causing a delay. There was no light in one of the field kitchens Saturday night, and park rangers rushed out to purchase propane lanterns at a nearby store that stayed open after regular hours to meet the request. Toilets in one of the park's seven comfort stations became stopped up for a while.
While park rangers were somewhat jittery about conditions in the overcrowded camp (the 1,100-acre park is designed to accomodate 700 campers, not the 2,800 estimated to be there now), Indians interviewed yesterday indicated they had few problems.
"Everything's going perfectly," said Ernie Peters, a Sioux-Paiute who is spiritual leader of the Longest Walk.
"No problems," said Arnie Parish, an Ojibway relaxing on a picnic bench. "I just go to sleep."
Mark Madrid, a Muskogee Indian and leader of a volunteer mediical assistance group from Summertown, Tenn., called Plenty, said there have been no serious injuries in the camp.
"We've had a lot of people with sore feet, sore ankles and sore knees," he said, "but that's about it."
The mood in the camp yesterday was one of general relaxation. Attempts by Longest Walk organizers to get campers to board 15 waiting Metro buses and go the 12 miles into Washington for a rally on the Washington Monument grounds went largely ignored.
McFadden, looking harried from long hours of work in the last four days, has supervised installation of extra sanitation and water facilities for the overtaxed park, including renting dozens of portable toilets and hooking up 2,200 feet of fire hose to a fire hydrant for the field showers.
McFadden also negotiated a written agreement with Longest Walk leaders Russell Means, Clyde Bellecourt and Mark Tilsen for Park ranger-Indian cooperation during their weeklong stay.