Bearing Witness to Minnesota’s Genocide: A Three-Day Fall Retreat

Bearing_Witness_ImageThis fall, Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul is hosting an interfaith retreat to “bear witness to the continuing genocide and historical trauma suffered by the Native Peoples of Minnesota.” It will be held from Nov. 17-19. Here is the Bearing Witness Retreat Brochure with more details.

The retreat is based on Bernie Glassman Roshi’s book “Bearing Witness” and the work of the Zen Peacemakers Order (ZPO). In this model, the place is the teacher. For the past two decades, ZPO has held Bearing Witness retreats at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland. ZPO also holds “Street Retreats” where participants live on the streets in large cities such as San Francisco with no money and just the clothes on their back, “where the unpredictable life on the streets is the main teacher.”

Leaders at Clouds in Water realized they did not need to travel thousands of miles from home to bear witness to genocide and suffering. They exist right here. The Dakota and Anishinabe, the people who lived here prior to colonization, have suffered greatly from ill treatment by European settlers, including wars, broken treaties, stolen lands, dehumanization, and starvation.

The places that will be our main teachers on this retreat include Fort Snelling State Park, Oheyawahi (Pilot Knob Hill), and Mni Sni (Coldwater Spring).

The Bearing Witness retreats have three main tenets:

  • Not-Knowing by giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe
  • Bearing Witness to the joy and suffering of the world
  • Taking Action that arises from Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness

Healing Minnesota Stories is supporting this retreat.

For more information contact:

Ken Keiyu Ford, or

Gentle Dragon Laura Kennedy

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