Friday, February 6, 2009

An Instrument of Peace - Mendota Community Pipe Ceremony

Mitakuyapi, "My relatives) For the past ten years I have gone to the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, in the coldest time of winter to sing and pray to honor the ancestors. This B'dote (Mendota in English) is the birth place of the Dakota Oyate (nation) and is the center of their Creation Story, much as Christians look to the Garden of Eden. Bob Brown Visionary of Mendota Dakota Community who passed over several years back, handed me his drum and tobacco years ago with the intention of sharing in a pipe ceremony that honors the mostly woman, children and elders that suffered in the concentration camp here below Ft Snelling in the winter of 1862-63. An estimated 300 died here during that winter. Here several of us gathered near noon Saturday, Jan 30 to build a ceremonial fire to pray for the spirits of the ancestors in a good way. The bridge in the background is the Mendota Bridge that spans the Minnesota River Valley near the Internatonal Airport. The red circle of flags honors the people who were banished to the Crow Creek Reservation on the Missouri River in SD, which was not a place to successfully farm and caused further great hardship.
Several of us created the fire and added prayers with tobacco offerings as the fire burned. It turned out to be a warm winter day with only a mild wind. Following will be other photos of the ceremony and some of the people there.

Pidamiya for your interest and understanding. Mitakuye oyasin.
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