Unification News for May 2002

Indian Blessing Powwow in Portland OR

On April 13, the ACLC Oregon sponsored and organized a Blessing Convocation for Native Americans using the same three vows in the power and anointing of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but in a uniquely Native American tradition. The Blessing was not presented at an existing Powwow, but rather at a uniquely created event.

It was held at Cathedral Park which is located on the Willamette River. This park is on a site which used to be a Chinook Indian village. The event was held outside, which was very risky in Oregon at this time of year. A 'revival tent' from a local minister was arranged just in case.

On the night before the event, it was discovered that we would not be able to use the tent so tarps were brought in as the weather report called for rain and thunderstorms. It was thought that there might be some way to rig the tarps over the stage at the natural amphitheater. With the help of all of the early arriving Native Americans and other participants, we were finally able to set up the tarp, but a strong wind blew it apart. It rained hard seemingly everywhere nearby, but the rain came to Cathedral park only after the event ended and the cleanup was completed.

One of the significant points of this Blessing was the acknowledgment that Native Americans have suffered greatly, often at the hands of religious leadership, and always without their defense. This has caused great resentment which has been inherited by the Native American descendants of today.

The Native American religion is more correctly called 'Tradition. It was interesting to note that the 'convener, Chief Longwalker mentioned that in his language, there is no word for prayer. "Prayer is 'talking'," he said. It was easy for these true traditional Indian chiefs and medicine men to understand the reality of life after death and the significance of lineage and the Blessing as well as the serious and dangerous condition of the family today.

Chief Longwalker has taken the 'long walk' across America as a condition to demonstrate the plight of today's Native Amercians and also to make a condition for their liberation. He said, as he introduced and conducted the Blessing ceremony, that "if Reverend Moon is working to save families, then we must support and participate." In the native tradition, smoke is used to purify the spirit and body of a person. As the Blessing ceremony began, all the participants of the gathering made a large circle and Chief Longwalker and Warrior Woman, his wife, went from person to person bringing smoke from burning sage fanned with Eagle feathers. This was done to purify the people and the area so that they would be prepared for the Blessing ceremony.

The Blessing vase was made specifically for this event according to the Navajo tradition. In that culture, a married couple drinks from a clay vase with two spouts, one for the bride and one for the groom. This is the symbolic way to seal the marriage covenant. Gayokla instructed a Navajo Indian to make a vase that is smaller than the usual one, but with the same design. It was a perfect vessel for the holy wine. Also, it provided a long lasting 'souvenir' and reminder of the rededication vows. The vessels were all the same, yet unique, just as in the Blessing ceremony itself.

At this native convocation, a deerskin declaration was read by Charlie Cook, Chief of the Chumas tribe and endorsed by the participants. It was then signed by the chiefs, medicine men and leadership in attendance. One of the participants, Black Elk, an elder from Colorado, explained that he has had visions recently of a person who is on the earth with great power, and is liberating the people from the dark winds (sin). Black Elk has degrees in Law and Psychology and studied at Oxford. He asked for 40 cups of holy wine to take back to Colorado.

By the end of the event, over 250 people were in attendance. There were more chiefs and medicine men here than are usually gathered at any Powwow. Chiefs and medicine men came representing tribes from throughout North America. Chief Longwalker, from the Redwing reservation in California explained that he never attends Powwows as they were created by white people to comfort the Indians and keep them from running away from the missions and government-run 'boarding schools. Medicine men don't usually attend these external events either.

The Blessing Convocation powwow concluded with a celebration. The local chapter of the American Indian Movement cooked buffalo stew and Indian fry-bread tacos and also provided manpower and security for the event. Drums were provided by the Bow and Arrow Club. The Indian Veterans provided the color-guard and special dances and ceremonies were performed by several groups including two colorful groups of Aztecs from Los Angeles and Salem, Oregon.

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