|February 13, 2014
One Nation One Voice Prayer Ride scheduled for summer
By Lailani Upham
Debbie Home Gun, Salish/Blackfeet opens up the meeting with a few words and prayer. Home Gun was asked to do the prayer as a representative of the Salish and Kootenai and Pend d'Oreille people due to the meeting being held on the tribes ancestral lands. (Lailani Upham photo)
MISSOULA — A meeting for the One Nation One Voice Prayer Ride 2014 was held last month in Missoula, to share hearts, ideas and establish plans for the procession that is due to happen this summer.
According to Lisa Smith, ONOVPR spokesperson, beginning on June 25, a ride led by the great horse nations will proceed across the North American continent from Oregon to the White House to deliver a message to President Obama and the United States Congress on October 13, 2014.
The version of the message reads: “On behalf of all Indigenous Peoples, we urge all Nations and human beings around the world to work with us, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, to restore the Original Instructions and uphold the Creator’s Natural Law as a foundation for all decision making, from this point forward. We are expressing deep concern for our shared future and urge everyone to awaken spiritually. We must work in unity to help Mother Earth heal so that she can bring back balance and harmony for all her children. The time has come to honor the treaties to ensure that the next seven generations of all people as well as the natural inhabitants, have pure water, clean air, and unspoiled land so that all may live in peace and harmony according to the wishes of our one Creator.”
This direction to lead all tribes across the U.S. came from a dream – but more precisely, from prayer, sweats and ceremonies.
Five years after his dad had a dream that transpired into a ride from South Dakota to Minnesota — Isaac Miller, had a similar dream.
Jim Miller, a Dakota/Lakota elder, dreamt he and others were riding horseback across the prairies of South Dakota as way of healing and reconciliation that transpired into a healing ceremony documented through a film called, Dakota 38.
Miller says he knows this dream came from the ancestors.
His son Isaac, was also called on by the ancestors through a dream in 2010 that involved again – the horse, “Sunka Wanke” (sacred dog), he says.
“Members of the horse nations believe that there exists a special relationship between a man/woman/child and their relative, the horse. In 2006 we attended a horse ceremony in Canupa Wakpa, Manitoba and heard many beautiful stories of this relationship. We were told that there existed a telepathic relationship in which the horse often saved the life of his rider because of prior knowledge of danger. There is a reason why the dreams involve horses, perhaps our ancestors want to ride again to help our people!” stated Alberta Iron Cloud Miller, Jim’s wife and Isaac’s mom.
Within this generation, both Miller dreams have turned into prayer rides of healing across the lands of the United States.
Riders blaze the crisp winter temps during the Dakota 38 ride from Crow Creek, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota. The prayer ride to happen this summer will carry the same spirit, passion and prayer for the future and past generations of all Nations. (Carleen Wild Photography)
“In my dream I seen different flags and so many different staffs, which represented each nation, each, tribe, each band and a caravan of horses and riders,” Miller explained.
Miller says it took praying with others in sweats and ceremonies before he knew the next step. He said it was to honor the treaties of all tribes and for Native peoples to come together to help heal and wash away the blood that was shed on the homelands of this country. “All Reservations (tribes) are different, but we are all connected to the land.”
Miller said his dream meant that, “We (all people of all races) were directed to ride across the whole nation to Wash. D.C.” The purpose is to stand up for the next generation for the life of clean water, air and the earth, known as “Mother Earth” by the Native people, and other cultures naming the earth as “Mother Nature,” Miller explained.
“Things are happening to our water, it is being poisoned through fracking, oil spills, and mining. We want to change that.”
He says the change needs to happen as one nation, as one voice. “That is why we call it One Nation, One Voice Prayer Ride. We are all brothers and sisters no matter what color our race.”
Millers say the ride will be about love and healing, and for the next generation, but it also being a voice for the animal relatives that can’t speak for themselves.
“What we’re doing is we want people, non-violent to join us. Them days of protesting, carrying firearms, having sit-ins; them things don’t work. We seen it,” Jim Miller said at the meeting.
“It was like this country was birthed on PTSD (post-traumatic disorder) so it filters all the way down to us. We all have PTSD, some of you might have 2 percent, but you have PTSD. We all have. So this is what we want to change for our coming generations,” Jim said.
Jim went on to state the some of the third world powers are doing this for their country. “Why can’t America, the great Nation that we all dearly love – why can’t they put policies in place?” After a pause Jim added, “We have to hold our congressmen feet to the fire.”
However, the firm words, Jim followed up that “We are not militant people. We are God-fearing people, and we love the Creator. And we love you.”
Smith says, “The Ride will come into Montana from the Nez Perce Nation over Lolo Pass down into Missoula. From Missoula they will proceed to Helena and Bozeman and beyond. To make the most of this historic event they will focus attention on the waters along the route and the local efforts to ensure sustainable resilient communities and general well-being for all.”
Jim and Alberta's grandsons, Jaylin Garnette and sing an honor song following the prayer while a group of participants and interested supporters gather to hear the plan. (Lailani Upham photo)
In honor of the homeland of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille, Kootenai people Alberta Iron Cloud Miller, Isaac’s mom, asked CSKT tribal member Debbie Home Gun to open up the meeting in prayer. She said the reason for a woman to pray is because the ride is for the future of clean water; the traditional belief she was taught by an elder is that water is female and should be held as a sacred life-giving source.
Home Gun stated that she felt honored that the prayer was given to the Salish to pray over and bless this next trip. She added that it meant a lot to know that their first ride (Dakota 38) was about forgiveness.
During Home Gun’s prayer she asked the Lord to bless the water from being contaminated and the environment from being polluted– and she also gave thanks for the riders for what they are doing and for all the needs to be met.
Later in the meeting, Iron Cloud Miller shared how methane is being leaked into the soil and that all should be concerned about the poisoning of the land.
“It seems like this business of fracking, oil development, - it’s ruining those gifts that Mother Earth gave us. Mother Earth blessed us with medicine to stay alive. And its not going to last long, if we don’t do anything,” she said.
“It’s because of our love for one another and for our children,” she explained.
According to Rob Whitehair, Missoula’s Tree and Sky Media Arts director and meeting host, the One Nation, One Voice Prayer Ride 2014 is sponsored fiscally by the American Indian Institute (A 501c3 organization) in Bozeman; and all donations for the ride will go to that organization.
“The ride is a catalyst to give voice to all people that now is the time to honor our Sacred Mother Earth and that we want clean water, clean air, healthy land and the protection of our Animal and Plant Nations.”
According to the consensus of the group, the ride will not just point out the problems, but also shed light on solutions.
It took four years to get the wheels rolling says Miller and the first meeting began was launched last year at Green Grass, South Dakota, “It is a powerful place to go, it is where the sacred White Buffalo pipe first came to our people.”
Isaac Miller, son of Jim Miller is the first to speak at the One Nation One Voice Prayer Ride planning meeting in Missoula last month. According to planners, the 3,600 trek of horseback riders, bikers, runners, walkers and drivers will begin June 25 on the Nez Perce Nation and end October 13, 2014 in Washington D.C. (Lailani Upham photo)
Miller says in every planning and gathering meeting is a ceremony, not merely an assembly. “Any time we talk, we want to get everyone on the same page, so that no one gets offended or any negative feelings come. We want people to go away feeling good about what is happening.”
The second meeting was held in Bear Butte, South Dakota, another spot that is sacred, Miller says. During this gathering fasting was the focus. The next coming-together was during the annual Dakota 38 plus 2 ride this past December. Following that the folks gathered at the Jim and Alberta Miller home in Porcupine, South Dakota, which then led up to the Missoula planning.
The next meeting is planned for the Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Fort Berthold, Northern Cheyenne, and Crow Reservations. This past fall a gathering on the Blackfeet Reservation was held.
Whitehair reports from the Missoula meeting that the route is being planned and routed so that it will “go to where the people are.” As such, there will be an organized educational and cultural exchange called “ Horseback University” in the communities along the route.
He adds that “logistics are being planned right now on how to include the public at large to actively participate in the ride via horseback, bicycle, walking, even iron horses. All modes of “ride” are welcome with the exception of cars.”
“There are many volunteer and support opportunities for people to be involved and folks are encouraged to contact regional Scouts and Coordinators.
“We are going to utilize the gift of 21st century technology to create an online platform to bring this important message to the world and invite people across the globe to participate in this historic event by sharing thoughts, stories, issues and solutions via the online YouTube platform and heavily engaged in social media. It was agreed by all, that this is an important effort to ensure that all voices of All Nations can be heard. The media effort is headed by Tree and Sky Institute who will also be producing a feature documentary in conjunction with the ride,” says Whitehair.
The mapped trail that will begin in Oregon on June 25; riders are expected to arrive in Washington D.C. on October 13. (Courtesy photo)
Miller says all people are invited to participate on the ride in anyway they feel the can.
A place to camp, water for the horses, hay, food for riders is in need so far.
“It is going to cost a lot of money to do this, so donations are needed too,” Miller added.
The route stops will be as follows:
1. Astoria, OR, start point on June 25, 2014
2. Yakima, WA
3. Walla Walla, WA
4. Lewiston, ID
5. Missoula, MT
6. Helena, MT
7. Bozeman, MT
8. Billings, MT
9. Spearfish, SD
10. Custer, SD
11. Chadron, NE
12. Valentine, NE
13. Bassett, NE
14. Topeka, KS
15. Kansas City, MO
16. St Louis, MO
17. Cincinnati, OH
18. Clarksburg, WV
19. Washington, DC on September 11, 2014
“I am looking forward to this coming spring! I truly believe a lot of our people will get a lot of help from the Prayer Ride. It is time to go back to the old way! Coming together to unite will help our children in the future. There has been a lot of wrong done to our Native American People. This will be a time of healing - a time to honor our ancestors for all they have done so we can all still remain to this day. We also remember the Tahtanka Oyate Buffalo Nation and The Sunke Wanke Oyate Horse Nation. They too have been in the same struggle as well. A lot of blood has been shed across the sacred land. Time to wash away Mother Earth. Together we can all make change. So many reasons to ride and hope to see all my relatives and friends soon,” Isaac Miller.
For more information visit the One Nation One Voice Prayer Ride 2014 Facebook page or email Isaac Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Lisa Smith at (406) 210 4830; email, email@example.com. Contact the American Indian Institute for donations at www.twocircles.org.