Gatherings in USA

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Bear Butte, Sth. Dakota 2009

Arbor at Bear Butte 2009
Arbor at Bear Butte 2009

An article from a previous U.S. Gathering

The Seed of the Tree of Tomorrow

Spiritual Unity of Tribes Gathering by Jeff Knaebel, member, Steering Committee Introduction

The Indians of the Americas have a spiritual gift for all mankind and a spiritual destiny to fulfil. This destiny was written in the stars long ago and is told by Indian prophecy-that the Indian people would one day unite the many hoops (many nations) into one great hoop-that the people would go through very bad times, then they shall be awakened. We as Indian people will be enlightened and we will work to bring a very good time to the whole Earth. Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Gatherings are part of this unfolding destiny. We must have open minds, absolute faith and an abiding will in order for this to come about.

The American Indian and Indigenous People all around the world are on the move, rising to meet the challenge of their Sacred Heritage, their abiding responsibility to Earth and humanity. The great values that have always guides mankind on the Good Red Road, the path of respect, the ancient highway to God must be restored upon this Earth lest mankind perish. We seek to join with your elders and especially your Grandmothers in a humble way, a peaceful way, in the name of Love that we may realize we are all one humanity.

Spiritual Unity of the Tribes is a living demonstration of the traditional Native spiritual principles of sharing, tolerance, honor, respect and love. It is more than just talk-about: it is a living experience and an experience in living. We learn best by deed and example and Spiritual Unity of Tribes brings us this gift.

We come together in the heart of love through sharing. Believing that all religions are equal and all express the same universal and eternal truths, there will be no preaching, proselytizing or politics at the Gatherings. We seek only the conversion from darkness to light, from fear and prejudice to love and harmony, from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation. All religions are welcome to celebrate the unity of mankind in peace. Traditional Native Americans, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Ba’hai, Buddhist, Mormon, devotees of Sai Baba and other Masters of the East have all come together at the Gatherings with honor, respect and love. The web of life is One. We must all work together. The deepest roots of Native American spirituality are the same as all the great religions: Love, Honor, Respect, Compassion, Peace, Truth, Right Action and Non-Violence. This is the ancient highway to God, shared by all mankind, open to all who are willing to do the work.

Underneath apparent scientific and material progress the mind of man is under great stress. Love, which alone is a means for the unity of mankind, must be pure and supreme. This love is unconditioned by prejudice of race, religion, culture and the past. This love comes in moments of sharing from the heart, knowing we are all children of the one Loving God.

Humbly and in a good way we invite you to join us, and we offer to your our hearts, hands and prayers to restore mankind through the great and ancient values of Truth, Peace, Right Action, Non-Violence and Love. All people of all cultures are invited, but there are no “guests,” only participants.

These Gatherings are a grass-roots effort, coordinated only through a voluntary network. No one receive any material compensation for their many hours of planning, coordinating and on-site work. These are gifts from the heart. All funds and materials are donated by volunteers and participants. One Eskimo village elder set aside $7 per month from her life saving in order to help.

History and Purpose

Many years ago Black Elk, the Oglala Sioux medicine man, had a vision of a time of peace and unity among all peoples. Many spiritual leaders from many different traditions have also had visions of peace and harmony with the Earth. For thousands of years, Elders, Grandmothers, Medicine Men and Women on many islands of our planet have known someday all races would be united and would bring healing to our Mother Earth.

Black Elk’s vision has been pondered and cherished by many. The Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Gatherings have been a fulfillment of this vision. Beginning in 1989, the Gatherings have rested on a foundation of spiritual compassion, tolerance and equality. They have offered hope for the enlightened future that Black Elk envisioned.

“Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more then I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one mother and one father, and I saw that it was holy.” (Black Elk Speaks, as told to John G. Neihardt, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1961.)

Indigenous people who have retained a spiritual way of life would teach their brothers and sisters all over the planet how to renew these ways and live in humility, having respect for all and a sense of oneness with the earth, each other and their Creator. They would assist in bringing about a glorious new age of peace and harmony based on spiritual principles.

In 1988 the Elders were again consulted regarding the many prophecies. It was believed that only the medicine people and the Elders would gather together to consult and then to teach others. But in 1988,the Elders were insistent and filled with urgency. There is not enough time remaining…the time is now… The gatherings must be large. Understanding must be given to all of humankind. The elders must be consulted so all things are done in a good way and the prophecies fulfilled exactly as they were revealed. They have instructed that it is necessary for the Grandmothers to speak. The Grandmothers are asked to come forth and once again share their wisdom and knowledge of the ancient life, the ways, the language and the philosophies of the Native people, for the benefit of all Nations of the Human.

The Gatherings are peaceful in nature, founded upon the very principles which are imparted to all who gather together. They are the beginnings of an enlightened future. While the Gatherings do not presume an answer, each is a prototype and hope for the future, creating a loving and unifying atmosphere. The spiritual compassion, tolerance, and equality that has been understood by Native people for generations is the foundation for these Gatherings. (Condensed by Freeda Hart (Cree).)

Honoring the Grandmothers

Elders representing all different backgrounds will take counsel together on the problems facing Mother Earth and the world’s peoples. They seek to join minds and hearts together for answers and renewal of spiritual values and principles, and to pay tribute to the grandmothers.

Each day will have designated speakers in the morning as well as “open mike” time for anyone who has the desire to share of themselves. The workshops will carry the general theme of the day. Evening activities include talking circles, prayer, and cultural dance and songs.

Each day, a midday meal for all will be cooked, hosted, and served by a designated region or tribe. We welcome your contribution of local region food to be shared at the noonday meals. Thank you.

The theme for the day is unifying our goals for the gathering, in Spirit. The speakers will focus their talks on Spiritual Unity and the honoring of values and principles for all peoples. The workshops will help to build community unity.

The Gatherings

The guidance of the Elders was followed and the first Spiritual Unity of Tribes Gathering was held at the place designated by the Native Elders of Turtle Island, as the North American continent is called. People representing many tribes and races gathered in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1989, the people of Nambe Pueblo in New Mexico hosted the third annual gathering.

It was determined that the Spiritual Unity of the Tribes IV, 1992, would be held in the heart of Turtle Island, in South Dakota. A Dakota Elder had told his people of this Gathering more than thirty years ago.

Spiritual Unity of the Tribes V was held in Tanacross, Alaska, August 4-10, 1992, with the theme of honoring the grandmothers. The grandmothers are the image of Mother Earth. She gives life, strength, and is the foundation of the family. She gives understanding, and that is why the grandmothers are needed.

Spiritual Unity of the Tribes VI will be held in Mexican Springs, New Mexico, June 21-27, 1993.
Spiritual Unity of the Tribes VI will be held in Tanacross, Alaska, August 3-8, 1993.
Representatives of the Six Nations have responded to the invitation to come to Gathering VI to accept the bundle that invites the Six Nations to host Gathering VIII in 1994.

Members of the Steering Committee have traveled to Yakutsk, Siberia to coordinate a 1994 Gathering there with the Saha people. We will have representatives there again in June, and 12 Siberians have been invited to attend Gathering VII in Tanacross. Additional gatherings are being planned for Nevada, Washington and Australia.

Black Elk’s Last Prayer

In 1950, Grandfather Black Elk returned to pray on Harney Peak, at the site of his early vision:
“Here at the center of the world, where you took me when I was young and taught me; here, old, I stand, and the tree is withered, Grandfather, my Grandfather!

Again, perhaps for the last time on this earth, I recall the great vision you sent me. It may be that some root of the Sacred Tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds! Hear me, that they may once again go back to the Sacred Hoop, and the good red road, the shielding tree.

In sorrow, I am sending a feeble voice, O six powers of the world. Hear me in my sorrow, for I may never call again. O make my people live!”

The Gatherings Respond

We, members of the Steering Committee of Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Gatherings, and all who have participated and will participate in the Gatherings, coming together in the heart of Love, pray that Black Elk’s vision is being fulfilled-that in joining together we make “one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight,” and in that Heart Center will grow “one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father,” and that it will be holy. The Gathering is a living prayer. Yes, O’ Black Elk, yes, your people will live, yes.