Unification News for February 1997

True Family Festival at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota

by William Hilbert

From combined reports by Jim Gavin and Jim Bard of Region 7, and Kevin McCarthy, national lecturer.

On Saturday, February 8, 1997 a True Family Festival was held at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the village of Porcupine, South Dakota. Members of the Lakota Indian Gray Eagle Society very warmly and positively responded to the True Family Festival and Marriage Blessing.

The all day program was broadcast by live radio to four Indian Reservations in South Dakota within a 150 mile radius of Porcupine.

Thirteen couples and eight widows with pictures of their husbands received the marriage Blessing. Many of the couples were elder respected couples who have many children and grandchildren who they will invite to the next TFF on March 15.

The Dakota Sioux Indians are a very renowned tribe with a very rich and deep spiritual tradition. They, like most Native Americans, also have suffered much hardship and pain.

The Dakota Sioux are probably best known as the tribe which suffered the massacre at Wounded Knee (South Dakota) in 1890 in which over 200 men, women and children were massacred by federal troops in the last recorded battle between Native Americans and the government.

In recent history, the Dakota Sioux have been at the forefront of the Indian rights movement. They have seen the traditional ways passing away and its place the rise of alcoholism and drug use. Among the greatest concerns of the elders is the situation of the youth, the breakdown of the family.

This concern brought three of their top leaders to the True Family Values Conference in December. These three leaders have since received the blessing at the True Family Festival in Los Angeles. Chief Red Cloud, Rev. Rene Mills and Elaine Quiver and their spouses are the key leaders of the Dakota Sioux Tribe.

Rev. Kevin McCarthy came from Washington, DC and gave two lectures about the history of God's Providence and the meaning of the Blessing.

Rev. Mills was the MC and he invited many important elders to come and share about their concerns for the family. Many important leaders, considered Chiefs among the people, shared very deeply about their concerns and support of the True Family Festival.

The officiating couples were all blessed in December of 1996. They were: Oliver and Izabell Red Cloud, one Chief of the Lakota people: Charles and Elaine Quiver. Elaine is the President of the Gray Eagle Society; and Rev. Rene and Verola Mills. Rene Mills, Elaine Quiver and Jim Gavin were the chief organizers of the event.

Jim Gavin was the Emcee for the Blessing and 16 other members came to support the program.

Throughout the day the Porcupine Singing and Drum group provided beautiful, spiritually rich, dramatic music. They were led by the Tribal councilman of the Porcupine District. Many important leaders, considered Chiefs among the people, shared very deeply about their concerns and support of the True Family Festival.

Rev. Cecil Wenton, a Presbyterian Pastor, and his wife participated in the Festival and said they would bring members of their congregation to the next Blessing. Emerson Spider, chief priest of the Native American Indian Church, and his wife Elizabeth were both very moved by their experience. Emerson gave a beautiful testimony of their love, courtship and family life and how grateful he is to receive the marriage Blessing. Former President of the Lakota Sioux Tribe, Johnson Holy Rock, spoke and encouraged everyone at the meeting, to receive this Marriage Blessing.

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