Sanctuary on the Trail™ -- The Observer Editor David Lillard, Advertising Director Jennifer Welliver and Writer Liz Kirchner walked the Paleo-Indian site here today observing the concentric rings of rocks, new features and rare Spring flowers. The team sat in round circle with site owners Chris and Rene' to discuss "The Gathering" an annual educational celebration of agri-culture coming this Fall. "The Gathering" elders' council members and communities in Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley are hosting the event with an invitation for visitors from across the nation to come, learn and participate.
Liz Kirchner writer for "The Observer" recording explanations about the site features.
David Lillard editor with "The Observer" viewing new site features.
The Observer is a FREE, monthly publication that is mailed to every mailbox, residential and business, in Clarke County Va. and left for pickup at various locations throughout Eastern Frederick, Clarke and Western Loudoun Counties. This month’s issue has 28 pages and 9,000 printed copies. Visit www.vaobserver.comto see a full color PDF of The Observer of Clarke County.
Sanctuary on the Trail™ -- Shenandoah University Professor Dr. Bryan Pearce-Gonzales and eight students from his Mesoamerican civilizations class studied the Paleo-Indian site here today. Some of the students called it a "once in a lifetime possibility" to visit such an old and historic site. “I am teaching a class this semester on Mesoamerican civilizations, primarily the Olmec, Maya and Mexica people and their cultures,” said Dr. Pearce-Gonzales SU Department of World Languages & Cultures. “Our approach to these Mesoamerican civilizations has begun with a look at the Paleoindian peoples who first came to the Americas. The historical/archaeological tour included the concentric rings, triangle with stacked rocks and discussion about artifacts and dating techniques. “I am so grateful to you and your husband for making this trip a possibility and for sharing such an incredible piece of human history with my class and the greater community,” said Dr. Pearce-Gonzales in an email to the site’s custodians.
Shenandoah University's World Languages & Cultures Department seeks to prepare students to be true Global Citizens. In addition to instruction in Spanish, French, German and English as a Second Language, they promote community service in the target language and study abroad opportunities around the world. These small, interactive classes are led by professors like Dr. Pearce-Gonzales who combine cutting-edge scholarship with individualized attention to help students develop to their fullest potential.
Shenandoah University Mesoamerican civilizations class visiting the Paleo-Indian site at the Sanctuary on the Trail™ on March 27, 2015.
Chair, Department of World Languages and Cultures Shenandoah University
Personal Highlights Taking SU students on a hike on the Appalachian Trail to visit native ruin sites, leading student groups on trips to Argentina and Panamá, and watching students build a Mayan-inspired pyramid/time capsule to be opened in 2018.
A partnership between the State Arboretum of Virginia at Blandy and the Native American Church of Virginia seems like a natural fit, thanks to the Foundation of the State Arboretum (FOSA) Volunteer and Events CoordinatorKoy Mislowsky. Koy invited a small group of Native American elders to Blandy for an initial meeting on Thursday Oct.16. Notes following the two and half hour meeting revealed new possibilities for increasing understanding of the natural environment through education and culture for all people. "What a wonderful gathering," Koy said describing the conversations. "I am sitting at my desk reviewing all that we spoke of and I am amazed at your knowledge and expertise. So happy we have found each other!" Koy initiated contact with Chris and Rene' White of the Native American Church of Virginia following a local Winchester Star article. While more talks and planning is needed,
_initial impressions look positive for new ways to share Native American heritage while bringing all people, students, visitors and the community into one hoop at Blandy. The Arboretum occupies 172 acres of Blandy Experimental Farm and contains over 5000 woody trees and shrubs from around the world. Click here for FOSA membership information.
FOSA is a 501(c)(3), University of Virginia (UVA) -related foundation. FOSA has about 700 member units and in 2013,100 active volunteers amassed nearly 4,800 volunteer hours by helping in the gardens, at events, and in our gift shop under the arch. Partnering with the Native American Church of Virginia could mean increased education of Native American culture, lands and way of life.
Bluemont, VA – Dennis Banks, American Indian Movement (AIM) co-founder, held a sacred prayer pipe ceremony Saturday (Sept. 27) at the Paleo-Indian Site found in Bluemont VA after concluding AIM’s 2014 “Ride to Reverse Diabetes” in Washington D.C. Dennis Banks, 78 years old, led the 18,000 mile run across America educating Americans about reversing diabetes. The “Ride to Reverse Diabetes” began on Aug. 23 from Seattle WA and San Francisco, Los Angeles & San Diego, Calif. and ended Saturday, Sept. 27 in Washington D.C. by the White House. Following the conclusion of the “Ride to Reveres Diabetes” campaign, a small contingent visited the sacred ceremonial Paleo-Indian site in Northern Virginia. Paleo-Indian site guardians Chris (Comeswithclouds) White and René White (Feather) are custodians of the site which dates last used 10,470 years ago (see Thermoluminescence Dating)
Chris gave the AIM elders and young leaders a tour of the concentric rings, the sacred alter, standing stones and other features of advanced knowledge left behind thousands of years ago. Following the tour, Banks led a sacred prayer pipe ceremony with the AIM group and Native American Church of Virginia to honor the sacred land and land legacy of this area’s ancestors.
Attending the sacred ceremony were: Dennis Banks, his daughter Darla Banks, nephew Adrian Sayers, granddaughter Mariah Lindsay, Leonard Seabolt, Mark Winslow, Bryan Halfday, Helen Wolfe, Kenneth Reid, Maria Pasho, Curt and Sheila Hansen, Diana Mullis and site guardians Chris & René White. Banks gave thanks to the thousands of people who supported the campaign and blessed him and his team of champions with hospitality, gas cards, food, shelter and friendship at various routes across America during the month-long campaign. Around the sacred fire, Banks also compassionately shared real stories about people whom he met across America who feel “hopeless,” many in wheel chairs and with no feet or legs. Banks said he dedicates the rest of his life to help reduce the suffering from diabetes while he balances that with his dedication ad love to his family, especially his grandchildren (grandchildren Mariah (below), daughter Darla (right)).
“I have never seen anyone more authentic about saving lives and concerned for his family than Dennis Banks,” said René Lumbee Indian and president of the Native American Church of Virginia. “While we are not members of AIM, like Dennis, we are called to help reduce the suffering in the world," she added. "We offered to help Dennis and he accepted. We don’t know all the next steps, but we know our steps will include praying and looking to non-profits, educators and others for help.”
Chris and René are involved in charitable work helping veterans, senior citizens, artists and many others. They are members of Oklevueha Native American Church, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and they are also officers with the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem for the United States and Priory of Indigenous Peoples Worldwide. Together they volunteer to connect people and resources, transforming suffering to healing. Following the sacred prayer pipe ceremony, Chris and René hosted the 15-member group for feast and fellowship.
The couple operates the Native American Church at their Sanctuary on the Trail, in the remote Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain. Their church’s vision is to “help leaders first,” “acknowledge the Indigenous of the Americas for their global contributions,” and “reduce suffering in the world.” Before leaving the D.C. area, Banks was scheduled to visit members of Congress and present them with a national diabetes policy. He decided to delay his meeting as he studies his research findings and develops a clear way ahead.
Commentary About the Diabetes Pandemic
“I see a garden growing in the desert. What was once dry and desolate, will abound with health, vitality and spiritual renewal. I see this as an opportunity for Native Peoples to unite at a family level, community level, tribal level, national level and global level, to return to their roots in the use of earth-based plant medicines and natural foods to lead the world in natural healing, which includes and is not restricted to diabetes. I see an opportunity for Native people to take ownership of self-health, which is also a responsibility to your people and to support each other towards the goal of healthy living. Living by example is their responsibility to their loved ones and unborn children. People take care of themselves not just for themselves, but their relations. This is a wake-up call. A call to action, starting with yourself, your family, your community and your people. This is in the area of health, and only the start of total healing. Behold a new nation.” – Chris (Comeswithclouds) White Cherokee Descendent and Elder/Roadman Oklevueha Native American Church of Virginia
The “Ride to Reverse Diabetes” is a cross-country motorcycle run to:
Canvas the roads across America and collect information on the affects of type 1 & 2 diabetes on indigenous people
Bring awareness of and conduct research into diabetes worldwide
Formulate a national policy that the U.S congress will enact and support
Convince the American public to join this war and halt and reverse this epidemic through forums, community actions, fitness programs and National events.
Thank You in Advance Thank you in advance for your generous contribution. In contributing you are helping advance and partnering with the ideal. Your contribution makes it possible for us help others who are suffering, because we believe suffering in the world is impossible to ignore.
Special Thanks Special shout out to David and Mary Ann Nalls of Nalls Farmers Market for donating 52 pounds of local Virginia grown apples for the AIM team to enjoy and share as they return home in all four directions.
Web Hosting by iPage Sanctuary on the Trail™ P.O. Box 123 Bluemont VA 20135 firstname.lastname@example.org www.NACofVA.org www.SanctuaryontheTrail.org The Gathering: email Info4TheGathering@gmail.com web site www.HarvestGathering.org