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DAR hears of Indian prayer stick

Staff reports

Daughters of the American Revolution John C. Fremont Chapter of Carson City recently had the privilege of being entertained by a couple who are well acquainted with the culture of the Lakota or Sioux Indian – Debbie and Rick Kane. They used a camcorder to tape Debbie’s program and will send the tape to DAR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Debbie began her presentation on the “Indian Prayer Stick” with an explanation of the various Indian beliefs surrounding the “prayer stick.”

“It enhances prayer and meditation,” she said.

“Prayer ties” are made up of many things that the Sioux hold dear. They believe red is the holiest of all colors, since it represents the mighty sun. The staff of the prayer stick is made from the cottonwood tree. It is believed to be the place where the spirit resides within the limbs that reach toward the sky. Tobacco is used during ceremonies and on all occasions. Smoke cleanses the body, drives off evil spirits and carries up payers to the “Great One” on high.

To the soft background music of a mournful Indian flute, Debbie handed out prayer stick materials and each chapter member became involved in creating a prayer tie, be it a prayer of need or prayer of thanks and affirmation.

The cottonwood prayer stick, standing isolated in the center of the room, soon became covered with the members’ prayer ties. After the singing of an Indian song to the accompaniment of a genuine Indian drum, the prayer stick was cut and gently placed within the flames of a wood stove, where the ties were transformed into smoke that appeared to ascend to the “Great Spirit” on high.

The entire experience had a moving and positive effect on the chapter members, certain that their prayers had reached their destination.

When asked by Janice Frost if the couple did this program for other organizations, church groups and classrooms, Debbie responded, “We haven’t thought about it, but if anyone would like us to repeat this performance, we’d be happy to.”

The video will also be available. If you are interested, contact chapter member Jan Hawkins, at 265-1917.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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