Water connects us all – World Peace and Prayer Day 2019 | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Water connects us all – World Peace and Prayer Day 2019

Twenty-three years ago, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, began traveling the world conducting World Peace and Prayer Day. It takes place every annual summer solstice due to it’s sacredness among all cultures, to unite people of all faiths and nations to join hands in a day of prayer dedicated towards Mother Earth.

This year, Cincinnati, Ohio had the privilege of being the host for World Peace and Prayer Day, honoring the valuable gifts our planet provides and the Indigenous people who call this region home.

In honor of the opportunity to share the experience with the founder of this worldwide movement, people joined together for four days of community building and cultural sharing at Fort Ancient near Dayton, Ohio. Each day honored those who came together, and celebrated the indigenous communities among us that lead this movement.

For three days spiritual and community leaders shared space by a ceremonial fire to talk about the challenges our world are facing, and what each is doing to create a better one going forward. They also shared cultural traditions, faith traditions and how these things together enrich our lives and our communities, as well as provide the resilience we need to overcome the challenges we face.

The celebration concluded on the 21st, where KFTC (among many other organizations and people) joined the Sacred in Prayer on the Purple People Bridge connecting Newport, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio. Here we gathered as one to lift prayers of justice for the gifts Mother Earth provides, healing for the ones who have harmed her and love to show our gratitude for all she does. You can watch our videos of the celebration here and here.

The ceremony began by walking single-file to the middle of the bridge from each side of the river. Northern Kentucky member Sister Joyce Moeller lead the Kentucky delegation, where they met with the Ohio delegation in the middle of the Ohio River.

We all stood there, aside our differences, and joined in song led by Paula Looking Horse, an accomplished traditional Dakota singer, and Linda Daney with Cupiit Yurartet Drummers and Dancers. Throughout the occasion there was burning of the sage, which is known in sacred ceremonies to cleanse negative energies.

The first person to speak was Guy W. Jones, the Hunkpapa Lakota Elder, who resides in Dayton, Ohio, and is one of the founders of the Miami Valley Council for Native Americans in his town. It was an honor to witness him speak about his gratitude for his mother and the keepers of it.

“This is that moment, this is that time, when we as the people must lead,” he stated.

In the middle of the circle we created and gathered around sat Jackie Andrew of Lil’wat, St’at’imc Nation, Interior Salish. She was clothed in a bear pellet which resembles part of her role in her tribe for she is a St’at’imc Bear Dancer who blessed us with the Bear Medicine.

At the end of the ceremony they offered tobacco, which is a symbol for unity. Showing that we are related to not only one another but everything on Earth.

There are a few others that made an appearance I would like to recognize.

  • Melaine Stoneman (Wakinyan Ska Wi – White Lightening Women) who is a Sicangu Lakota. She is from South Dakota and does teachings to spread awareness about the environmental issues faces indigenous communities.
  • Isaac Bishara, from the Moari Nation, brought his people from his hometown of New Zealand to Ohio to speak about the impacting effects of climate change in their community.
  • Delta Kay, part of the Bundjalung Nation which falls off the coast of Australia. She values children’s education and passes her message of protecting our sacred land through story, song, and dance.            

By the end, we got the opportunity to talk with Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson, a Tsimphean/Nicola Anishinawbe. She is the carrier of the water prayer with the responsibility to ensure that teachings of the past continue to be brought down to future generations. When asked what brought her to the event she replied:

“I am here to walk for peace, to walk for peace of all … I am here to walk for water, to pray for Earth’s people and all who were born here … to tell everyone it’s our job to take care of the water. It’s our job to live in sisterhood and brotherhood with all people with the greatest of respect, and greatest of love and greatest of kindness. No matter where you come from, no matter where I come from we are together in this.”

It is important to realize that not only does water connect us all, but any life force bound to this world. Yes, we all come from different backgrounds and hold different purposes but the path we travel remains the same, to live a gracious and healthy life. Being taken advantage of from the fossil fuel industry has been going on for far too long and puts us all in danger, our beloved planet. We must not fight alone but together, with unity resides power.

Living in harmony entails holding out a hand to those that are suffering, making sure no one gets left behind, and lending power so all our voices can be heard. We need to not only meet in the middle on a bridge, but in all aspects of life so we can accomplish what needs to be done – protect our sacred Mother Earth along with one another.

Mni Wiconi - Water is Life.