The public is invited this summer solstice to the 2011 International World Peace and Prayer Day (WPPD), hosted by the Dakota / Lakota / Nakota communities, on June 21 at Fort Snelling State Park in the Twin Cities — Bdote, the spot believed by the Dakota to be the Center of the World and the equivalent of the Garden of Eden for their people.
The event’s intention is to promote a mass awareness of “All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer” to encourage everyone to take time on June 21 and join in the united prayer/meditation to heal relationships with each other and also with Grandmother Earth. Spiritual leaders from around the world will be joined by Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jewish spiritual leaders for the first time at Bdote, “The Gathering Place.”
“For the past 15 years,” organizers say, “we have been humbled beyond words by those who have chosen to help make this multi-level event possible. Could the 2011 World Peace and Prayer Day be the fulfillment of Dakota prophecy that after the White Buffalo is born, the four colors of people from the Four Directions will come together at Bdote to mend the Sacred Hoop of All Nations?”
The birth of the Sacred White Buffalo, “Miracle,” in Wisconsin in 1994 served as a signal to the Dakota / Lakota / Nakota communities as they remembered prophecies that were spoken generations ago about a time when the earth would be changing and the hope of mending the Hoop of All Nations. Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader and Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe, was directed to begin a spiritual journey and he committed to organize World Peace and Prayer Day in the Four Directions that would be held annually on the summer solstice, June 21.
The event has taken place at Devils Tower, WY, Costa Rica, the Black Hills, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Alaska, Mexico City, New Zealand, Oakland, CA and Palmer, MA.
The meeting of the Mississippi River and Minnesota River is called Bdote or Mdote (pronounced Bdoh-tay) in the Dakota language. After the United States government created Fort Snelling in the 1800s on the bluff overlooking this river confluence, Europeans began to pour into the region. Settlements soon became cities as new permanent structures began to dot the landscape and new names were given to the homeland of these First Nations. Current maps acknowledge the name of the area with a French mispronunciation of the name Bdote (Mendota, Mendota Heights, Mendota Bridge).
Bdote has always been and remains a place of importance in the Dakota belief system, central to Dakota culture. It is the cultural equivalent of the Garden of Eden. This is also a place where many important events in the past 200 years of Dakota written and oral history have occurred. This is the “Gathering Place” where leaders of multiple tribes would negotiate and make critical decisions. Likewise, this site was used for meetings between indigenous leaders and United States government officials and was used for the signing of treaties.
“Whether intentional or not, Fort Snelling, the nearby Indian agency, and other manifestations of this reservation were built where the Dakota believe some of the most powerful spirits are said to reside,” organizers say. “In this setting Dakota people carried on ceremonies crucial to their existence as a people. It is appropriate that all nations are invited to “The Gathering Place” at the Center to pray together and to discuss topics that are crucial to the existence of all people.
This year’s event begins June 5-6 with a Sacred Horse Peace Ride from Pickerel Lake, SD, to Bdote. Events at Fort Snelling State Park begin Saturday, June 18, through Tuesday, June 21. Among the key speakers are:
- Chief Arvol Looking Horse, a spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people who travels and speaks extensively on peace, environmental and native rights issues.
- Isaac James Bishra of the Maori Nation, New Zealand, organizer of WPPD 2008 in New Zealand, who will speak about the Earth changes.
- Claudette Commanda of Canada, executive director for the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centers, Board of Governors for the First Nations University of Canada.
- Swami Nityamuktananga Saraswati (Dr. Christa-Maria Herrmann), who has worked with several great Zen Masters, great Siddhas and Tibetan lamas and was recognized in 1997 by the United Nations for contributions to World Peace.
- Shri Natha Devi Premananda, affectionately known as Mataji, of Los Angeles, a spiritual Mother dedicated to the upliftment of World Peace and the spiritual teachings of Oneness, Compassion, Universal Wisdom and the Holy Scriptures.
- Yoshie Ebihara, organizer of WPPD 2004 in Japan, who is active with Environmental Rights and with the recent Japan Earth Quake and Tsunami, speaking on Japan’s recent ordeal and how humanity can be more responsible in decisions for not only the country as a whole, but for their own family circles.
- Dawid Hermanus Kruiper of South Africa, a traditional and spiritual leader of the Khomani San People, who together with his late father Regopstaan Kruiper approached the South African government in the early 1900s to gain back their ancestral land, which was the first successful land restitution within South Africa. He is known as “Oom Dawid” and is referred to as the “Mandela of the Kalahari.”
- Rabbi Bob Carroll of Israel, an Orthodox Rabbi and student of the Kabbalistic/Mystical tradition of Judaism who serves on the board of directors for Interfaith Encounter, which uses religion to build a grassroots movement for peace in the Mideast by seeking common values, re-humanizing “the other” and building a true community of believers who refuse to be each others’ enemies.
For the schedule of events and other information, please visit Worldpeaceandprayerday2011.org.