As you may know, the history of the American Indian, or First Nations people of North American, is fraught with pain and suffering. What is widely considered to be the last of the great ‘battles’, of the First Nations people, the Wounded Knee massacre occurred in December of 1890. Without going into detail (please research the subject online. It is a sad, but interesting story), the Lakota, or Sioux people, still painfully carry the scars of this battle, over 100 years later. The massacre informs their very lives, still to this day.
However, there are Native American believers, who would like to see healing come to their people, once and for all time, through the Lord Jesus Christ. It was for this reason, that the Healing the Land conference was held on Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.
The decision to go, was very last minute. And I felt a prompting from the Lord, to invite my friend, Linda Brees Coffey, to go with me. (I’ve known Linda for many, many years. She is an amazingly gifted prophetic dancer, and just a great friend. She shares her incredible story for you in this newsletter). I was asked to bring my guitar along. So when I left, I had no idea what I might be doing regarding worship.
Upon arrival, I was asked to lead the afternoon sessions of worship, which I gladly did. I found the attendee’s so receptive & ready to participate in worship & prayer! Canadian Grand Chief, Lynda Prince, from the Carrier-Sekani nation, brought along with her, 120 handmade drums with Scriptures written on them, for the people to use in the worship times. Since drumming is both a community effort, and a beautiful & resounding sound, the moments when everyone was worshiping the Lord and playing the hand drums, were quite powerful. Since I usually play with a band, this was one of the few times I led worship alone. But the Lord was there with me, and I felt so honored to be able to participate in this way.
The talks were designed to encourage people in how to approach bringing healing to their reservations, families and nations. Thank you for your prayers. We would ask you also to please continue praying, that doors would continue to open up for us to be able to bring the ‘worship’ arm of VoB, to First Nations believers in North America.
[from Linda] Carol emailed me a week before she was headed to North Dakota. She asked me if I would join her in that journey. After praying 30 minutes or so with my husband, I realized it was not only an invitation from my dear friend Carol, but also, an invitation from GOD. Carol informed me that the Native People have a custom/protocol of gift giving. The visitors or invited guests, bring gifts to honor the elders, and the local people living on the land in which they are visiting. I agreed with Carol to bring a gift as well.
I was thinking Starbucks coffee, but when I talked to my husband, he said maybe I should take one of the baskets that was given to his grandfather by the very people Carol and I were going to visit. In the 1930’s, my husband Lee`s grandfather, was appointed by Calvin Coolidge to be the superintendent of the Native American reservations among several states, including North and South Dakota, and Nebraska. We decided that I would take a basket, and also a book that my husband’s grandfather wrote. “The Wounded Knee Massacre from the Viewpoint of the Sioux” is a documentary written from the stories of direct descendants of the Wounded Knee Massacre. Grandpa James H. McGregor interviewed many of them, and recorded in his book, their eye witness accounts, and also the stories of their descendants.
I didn’t fully realize the significance of this journey with Carol until the last evening, when I was invited to present the basket and book to the elders of the Lakota people. I was able to tell the story of the intimate friendship that my husband`s grandfather had among their people. One of the elders shared the significance of the book, and the true story of what happened to his people at Wounded Knee.
The theme of the whole conference was repentance, forgiveness, and restoration of the relationships of the native and white people, and restoring love and honor for GOD, and for one another. Somehow the testimony of grandpa McGregor was a timely ingredient in this process.