Six hundred spiritual elders and leaders will meet for 10 days to discuss problems facing the world and American Indians
Pueblo of Nambe, N.M. - "The time of warnings, passive resistance and conformity is already passed. All of us are now confronted with an enormous challenge: SURVIVAL"
- Statement of the First Reunion of Elders and Priests of America in Guatemala, November 1995.
Later this summer in the Pueblo of Nambe, six hundred spiritual elders and leaders representing almost every indigenous nation in the Americas will meet for 10 days to discuss problems facing the world community and especially Indian peoples.
The previous meetings have progressively included Central America, South America, and now North America.
In November 1995, while observing Mayan mandates and sacred prophecies, the Council of Mayan elders and Priests in Guatemala called a Re-Union of Elders.
At that time, Patricio Dominguez was asked by Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez to organize the 1998 summer meeting here in New Mexico.
Since that time, Mr. Dominguez has been devoted to this mission.
When Today asked Mr. Dominguez why he has invested so much into this reunion, he said that in December of 1993, a delegation of LilWat elders from British Columbia, Canada, attended a meeting in Albuquerque, N.M., called the International Testimonials on the Violation of Indigenous Sovereignty Rights.
According to Mr. Dominguez, the B.C. delegates had a serious and immediate dilemma, the colonial government in Canada was preparing to allow clear-cutting of their traditional hunting grounds and sacred burial sites.
Mr. Dominguez said, "Tragically, we weren't organized enough to even pass a resolution. These people desperately needed help. They were going to die."
"I decided that never again would I watch a nation of people enter, without any support, into a life or death dispute with a powerful colonial government."
For the last three years, Mr. Dominguez and a small group of organizers have been working to ensure a smooth conference. Last summer in Santa Fe, the National Congress of American Indians passed resolution #SFE-97-008 in support of the upcoming Reunion of Elders. BIA and AIM officials have both agreed to provide security for the event.
Organizers and participants of the meeting recognize the Hopi prophecy, which indicates that a time of world cleansing is near and that it is vitally important for people to come together right now and respect our Mother Earth.
Mr Dominguez says that in addition to Mayan law and Hopi prophecy, the birth of a white buffalo in Wisconsin, as well as prophecies from various tribes, some of which were cited in a 1993 address to the United Nations, indicate that now is the time for a Gathering of Elders (it is imperative for our survival).
In an interview with Today, President Leon Secatero, keeper of the sacred grounds for the Canyoncito Navajo, said, "As a race, we humans need to re-establish our communications, not only with each other but also with the holy ones."
Mr. Secatero said: "We are the care takers of Mother Earth, if we neglect our sacred duties, we will destroy ourselves."
"It is time to remember our sacred ways, with a drum stick in one hand and the sacred tobacco in the other, let the holy ones hear us sing again."
All members of the confederation would like it understood that this is not a political organization.
"We are a spiritual entity, working on a spiritual cure for the illness and violence which has been inflicted on our Mother Earth, our cultures and our peoples for the last five hundred years." Lorene Willis, Jicarilla Apache said, "The reunion has been prophesied by many indigenous elders and spiritual leaders for a great many years. This meeting will begin the reunification of indigenous peoples in America.
"It will eventually encompass all peoples of the world, at which point the world will enter a period of peace and harmony for 1000 years."
The Confederation of Indigenous Elders and Priests of America is currently working to raise funds for the event.
They are encouraged by the Native American Church's suggestion that every member of the church donate one dollar for the coming reunion.
Letters of support and donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Send to: Confederation of Indigenous Elders and Priests of America, Organizing Commission, P.O. Box 12340, Albuquerque, N.M., 87195.