Indigenous Leader Looking Horse Event in New York


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Last night, Friday September 19, 2008, a healthy-sized audience and myself had the chance to see Arvol Looking Horse speak at the New York Open Center.  He is the 19th generation keeper of a sacred pipe bundle connected to a prophecy regarding a special type of Calf and the state of the world.  He has founded a World Peace and Prayer Day on the Summer Solstice, June 21,

and since 2001 has been traveling internationally to expand the experience.  I understood that he had just received an award at the United Nations.  I have been able to locate information on the internet that he has participated in events there in 1998 on the International Day for the World?s Indigenous People, and in 2001 at a Panel discussion.

            It was very interesting to hear about the contexts, and Looking Horse?s thoughts about the relationships between sacred cultural practices and Earth, the source of life.  He described aspects of his learning his native tongue, and its importance in his role as Holy Man and healer.  He also mentioned the importance of gratitude.  This value made a particular impact on me in that I had learned it through the 12 Step groups and the study of Louise Hay's system, derived from Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science by way of Ernest Holmes' Religious Science. 

            Mr. Looking Horse mentioned part of his experience in sharing prayer with different religions, such as Hindu. 

            Also mentioned were large business proposals to the Lakota regarding a ?Clean Coal? power plant, and a hog farm.  In my inquiry, I asked whether they had been in touch with the Sierra Club, which is involved with many related issues.  One member of his colleagues was familiar with another action in which they assisted a threatened animal species.  Mr. Looking Horse mentioned that they were open to assistance and ideas.  I was also able to convey greetings from the Jenipapo-Caninde people of Brazil, who my fiancée and I had met with this summer.

          A later comment insisted on the harsh behavior of many powerful people in society, and questioned the value of prayer.  Having heard the gentle style of Mr. Looking Horse and his collegues, I took the liberty of becoming a bit brazen as I responded to the audience member?s outspoken and highly charged concerns.  She stated something along the lines of, ?I don?t see how prayer can stop such badly behaved people.?  I stated something similar to, ?I have been studying these matters in great detail.  In brief, they function according to an ideology, while we can respond with grassroots organizing.?  Upon reflection, I would like to have mentioned the impact on Interface Corp. of a client?s letter, the success of the three founders of Equal Exchange, and the international presence of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

            I have recently looked at information regarding the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and found in the U.N. bookstore a book written as an anthology of Indigenous perspectives on Ecospirituality.  I have cultivated an interfaith perspective over the years, and even as I have clarified my own understanding of the religious foundations of Western civilization.  Having followed Unitarian Universalism for years, and recently established membership, I have also gained insight after years into the modern expressions of love and compassion that respect diversity, broad public and modern education, intellectual integrity, and socioeconomic and political democracy and justice.  My studies have indicated that the teachings of Jesus Christ are most consistent with these formulations, and not with domination, intolerance, and financial maximization.  Having also had contact in the past with groups like Cultural Survival, and tribes like the Shinnecock and Iroquois, I look forward to exploring the supportive linkages and connections.