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Ambassadors for Peace

Peacemakers for Sacred Healing

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What is the UPF model of peacebuilding? It is to bring people from opposite sides of a conflict together and encourage them to offer tangible, concrete acts of reconciliation. In 1607, the English established their first permanent settlement in North America and called it Jamestown. Women descendants of Colonial settlers and Native People chose to mark the 400th anniversary by gathering in a spirit of reconciliation in nearby Norfolk, Virginia, a city mentioned in the Peace Messages of UPF's Founder, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, as having a key role in peacebuilding between East and West.

The December 1, 2007, gathering, sponsored by UPF-USA and affiliate organizations, was entitled “Peacemakers for Sacred Healing.” It drew more than 160 people from the United States, England, Israel, and Japan.

The keynote speaker was Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star,” an adopted member of the Mattaponi tribe and doctoral student in anthropology who co-wrote The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. “Only from truthful history can true history be learned. Only by true history can we learn from our mistakes. Only by learning from our mistakes can we create a better life for all mankind,' Daniel said; "it is never too late for peace."

The event was infused with Native American culture. To prepare the spiritual atmosphere, the room was purified with a “smudging” ceremony conducted by Rev. George Akeen from Oklahoma, Clay Two Bears from California, and Dr. Shuki Ben Ami from Israel. Music and dances were performed by Delwin Fiddler, Jr., great-great grandson of Chief Elk Head Red Hair, otherwise known as the Hehakapa family; and Vaughnda Hilton (Blackfeet/Seminole/Creek) of the Native Nations Dance Theater from Pennsylvania.

Maria Williams Cole, representing the Daughters of the American Revolution, congratulated the group on its efforts to build bridges of peace. Rev. Claire Daugherty, whose inspiration led to this event, spoke words of repentance for the wrongs of the past, stressing that while we cannot rewrite this tragic history, we know that from this moment the future is a blank slate.

Linda Lucero Cornier (Pueblo), Director of the United Native American Council from Colorado, expressed the significance of this reconciliation from a deeply personal historical perspective:

It is difficult for anyone to study the truths of Native American history and the impact it has on today. Today's ceremony was a new beginning of shared celebration for Native and Non-Native peoples in America. The anguish of 400 years of Native American oppression was recognized, words of repentance were spoken, and forgiveness came with many tears. Reconciliation came through many forms: the group prayers at the Jamestown shore, the Bridge of Peace Crossing, and the Proclamation of Peace.

Our time has come to awaken America as a nation of peace through reconciliation of the many wrongs that have led her astray. America's righteous words can now shine forth for the world to follow in reconciliation of past failures.

People came to America for religious freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; yet, ironically, Native Americans did not receive recognition of their religious rights until August 11, 1978, with the signing of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. We must ensure religious freedom for all and heal the heart of all peoples by respecting them as sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, Yahweh, Allah, Great Spirit, Creator, True Parent, God.

America is first loved by the Indigenous Peoples and now loved by the world's peoples who have come to call it their home.

America is chosen to serve the world not just by word but more importantly by example to live in peace, respecting others’ rights, enjoying the beauty of other people’s ways of life, and celebrating by sharing others' food, customs, and history. In reconciliation, we are educated to live for the sake of others' happiness and as Americans to walk in balance on the Earth. Because of America’s beautiful diversity, there is no other nation that exemplifies one family under God.


Perhaps the most deeply felt moment of the afternoon was the White American “Give Away,” an innovative adaptation of an ancient Native American tradition, which was followed by the “Honor Song.”

Brenda Miller gathered descendants of white European colonists including such historical figures as Roger Williams, William Penn, John Hancock, Nathan Hale, and Alexander Hamilton to give gifts to twelve people of Native American ancestry.

Each gift was prayerfully selected especially for the ceremony, including a statue of repentance, covered crystal bowl, wooden bowl, drum, necklace, blanket, heart made of crystal, original oil painting, a sequined shawl, and a “Four Races of Mankind” statue. The deep, symbolic meaning of each gift showing restoration for the painful past was explained by Brenda as each Colonial representative, one by one, offered the gift to each Native American recipient. People sensed a deep healing between the spiritual and physical worlds and between ancestors and descendants. Representatives of the Apache, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chickahominy, Creek, Lakota Sioux, Omaha, Pueblo, and Seminole were there to receive the gifts.

Alexa Ward, president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace-USA, explained the meaning of the Bridge of Peace Ceremony in which Colonial descendants were paired with Native American descendants under the guidance of Mary Holden and Rev. Angelika Selle. As the newly paired sisters stepped off the bridge, they each signed an agreement to become a “Peacemaker for Sacred Healing.”

Four participants with Native ancestry received Ambassador for Peace certificates: Rev. Karen Sandoval from Virginia, Wynema Morris from Nebraska, Pastor Barbara Carva from North Carolina, and Angela Daniel Silver Star from Virginia.

Rev. Linda Cornier led a celebration toast stating that we are all part of one family under God.

Mrs. Reiko Jenkins, representing the American Clergy Leadership Conference Women in Ministry, punctuated the afternoon with a passionate statement: “…No country can say they didn’t make a mistake; all of us have shame. Today let us consider that we come together as God’s children. Only God can give us reconciliation of heart and liberate us so that we are no longer individuals but one family under God.”

Norfolk Declaration
December 1, 2007

 

We, the undersigned, are the Peacemakers for Sacred Healing between Native Americans and non-Native Americans.

We free ourselves from the pain and anguish of our past.

Our committed friendship is bound on earth and in heaven, in the spirit of our Ancestors.

We continue to respect our sacred earth, especially our love for America and will together serve the world as One Family Under God, Great Spirit, Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah, Heavenly Father, Creator, True Parent.

 


NOTE:

On December 21, a $500 scholarship was presented to Chief Adkins from the Chickahominy tribe, who will select a youth as the recipient. This special gift was offered by Nathan and Debra Loew through their Mustard Seed Family Society.

In March, several women from the Washington, DC, area visited Angela Daniel Silver Star and Marjorie Sunflower Sargent, two Mattaponi representatives, to deliver donations collected in their communities. Ms. Sargent, the Administrative Director of the Mattaponi Healing Eagle Clinic, told them, “At the most crucial time, I received a donation which was not big money but just enough to cover the expenses.” She suggested that many of the 400 Mattaponi served by the clinic would appreciate receiving birthday cards. For more information contact Ms. Marjorie Sunflower Sargent, 5406 Horan Court, Williamsburg, VA 23188 USA.

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