Honor Dakota Sacred Sites, Mother Earth, During World Peace and Prayer Day, Wednesday, June 21

World Peace and Prayer Day events in the Twin Cities start at 6 a.m. at Indian Mounds Park, St. Paul. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

World Peace and Prayer Day events will be held all across the world on the Solstice, June 21; here in the Twin Cities people are invited to participate in a daylong event where they will travel to various Dakota sacred sites and related events.

In an email to the Minnesota Indian listserve, Juanita Espinosa gave the following schedule of local events:

  • Indian Mounds Regional Park at 6:00 a.m. – Beginning in the east. Indian Mounds Regional Park is home to six Native American burial mounds high atop 450 million-year-old limestone and sandstone bluffs overlooking downtown Saint Paul. The mounds serve as a reminder of Minnesota’s history for future generations. At least sixteen burial mounds originally existed on the bluff top. Nineteen more were located further down the bluff above Wakan Tipi, also known as Carver’s Cave.
  • Powderhorn Park at 9:00 a.m. Gather for the Mni Wiconi Kids Run, which will be held in honor of Wastewin Gonzales and sponsored by Juanita Vargas, her daughter. Wastewin was born in her water sac; she came into the world complete.  She walked on as a young mother,  17 months after the birth of her daughter,  who now wishes to carry on with her mother’s desire to encourage young ones.  This run is for children 12 and under.  It is not a race.  Juanita’s aunties will assist her in preparing the young ones for the run around the lake in Powderhorn Park.
  • Nicollet Island at 12:00 noon, near Owamni Falls. Nicollet Island is the only inhabited island on the Mississippi River. This forty-eight-acre wonderland is a bucolic refuge, hiding right under the nose of Downtown. Many don’t even notice it as they drive over the Hennepin Avenue bridge to Northeast Minneapolis on the East Bank of the Mississippi, but it contains many marvelous secrets.  Here we will offer prayers to the waters.
  • Cold Water Springs at 3:00 p.m. Mni Owe Sni served as an important crossroads for Native Americans.
  • Oheyawahi/Pilot Knob at 6:00 p.m. Known to Dakota people as Oheyawahi, “the hill much visited,” Pilot Knob is a place of distinctive historical, cultural, and environmental importance, a sacred site, a landmark of Minnesota’s beginnings. Pilot Knob is located on the east end of the Mendota Bridge, south of Highway 55 in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. A portion of the hill is included in Acacia Park Cemetery. Here we will end our day, if you wish to bring a dish and/or a gift to share with others, you are welcome to do so.We will set up tables and gather at the circle directly north of the parking lot.

For more on the history of World Peace and Prayer Day, keep reading.

Espinosa’s email gave the following history:

Following the birth of a White Buffalo Calf in 1994, the Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe for the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations— Arvol Looking Horse, was directed to honor the Four Directions with ceremony on Summer Solstice/June 21st. According to Lakota Star Knowledge, the birth of “Miracle,” a female white buffalo, signaled a time of Earth changes and the coming of The Mending of the Hoop of all Nations. The Summer Solstice is said to be a powerful time to pray for peace and harmony among all Living Beings. Grandmother Earth’s gifts; the air, water, plant, animal, and rock nations must be allowed to heal if we are to live in harmony with Her.

Ancient prophecies throughout the world have predicted this time…when population growth, over consumption, depletion of our natural resources and pollution would severely damage our Earth’s life-sustaining capabilities. It has become Chief Looking Horse’s personal commitment as the “Keeper of the Sacred Bundle” to assist in the fulfillment of the Mending of the Hoop of all Nations. Besides his work with his own community, meeting with global and spiritual leaders around the world and speaking and offering prayers.

Gathering people at sacred sites to cultivate peace.  Sacred Sites are critical for peace.  They are essential if we want to live in balance with our environment. Today many tribes, villages, First Nations, and non-natives are experiencing encroachment from extractive industries that devastate the land and water as well as war.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse is leading a call for people to protect, honor, and create sacred places that honor our connections to each other and the land. That is why June 21 has been designated as a day to raise awareness about the importance of sacred sites. Twenty one gatherings have been led by Arvol including two here in Minnesota in 1998 and 2011.  In 2017, he will lead a prayer in Mauna Kea, Hawaii… So we as human beings will do our part to pray on this day for Mother Earth and her gifts of life.

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