I attended the Voices of Wisdom event, held in near Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 24 and 25, 2016. The event featured the elders Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, Mohawk elder, and Wanbdi Wakita, a Dakota elder. Both of these elders are spiritual leaders in their ancestral communities, and leaders in their professions in the greater community.
Listening to Kahontakwas, Diane Longboat, and Taoyewakanwi (Her Ways Are Sacred), Charlene O’Rourke, at the Voices of Wisdom at the Blue Deer Center June 11-12 was like a waking dream for me.
Voices of Wisdom, in Asheville NC, completed one circle and initiated another. Before I knew anything about the Sacred Fire Community or Foundation, I knew Wanbdi Wakita. The circle began about 15 years ago, in the heat of Wanbdi’s Purification Ceremony, where I prayed to my Ancestors to help guide me on my journey.
Wanbdi Wakita, whose name translates into English as Looking Eagle, was born at home with the help of a midwife on a breezy day in October in the community of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. It was 1940. Overseas the world was at war, but a different kind of struggle was taking place at home.
Five Indigenous Elders Share their Wisdom
The 2015 Ancient Wisdom Rising (AWR) gathering is over, but I will continue to savor the rich experience of being with over 180 kindred spirits for two days as we enjoyed the wisdom of several prominent elders from around the world.
Three gatherings took place in the first two weeks of June. The first was in Brookfield, MA with Kahontakwas Diane Longboat (Mohawk) and David Tall Pine White (Nipmuc). The following weekend we book-ended the continent with Marcy Vaughn (Tibetan Bön) and Paula Nelson (Eastern Band Cherokee) in Greensboro, NC and Chief Ernie Salas (Kizh/Gabrieleño) and Chief Caleen Sisk (Winnemum Wintu) in Santa Monica, CA.
It can be said that human beings are a continuum. We are pieces, stories, visions and reflections of those who walked this Earth long before us.
The Ancient Wisdom Rising gathering is an effort to preserve the living continuity of ancient wisdom through dialogue, connection and discovery.
“We need strength-based grantmaking, which recognizes the internal strengths of indigenous peoples and their inherent knowledge and wisdom.”