Native American Family Camp 2023 “Healing the Generations”

The Asbury Retreat Center is part of the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. It is located on the stunningly beautiful Silver Lake in Western New York. It was the setting for the return of the Native American Family Camp 2023. The theme “Healing the Generations” was appropriate since we had not gathered, as a Native family, for many years
due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon arrival, guests were greeted with smiles, hugs, kisses, and tears as we embraced one another…. reuniting our hearts, souls, and spirits. A diversity of activities for the young and old at heart were waiting to be embraced by the participants. There were morning devotions, exercise, workshops, native crafts, special native music, children’s
camp, fun and fellowship offered each day. As we gathered in the name of the Creator to celebrate, worship, mourn and work for what is right, we spent one evening creating a Memorial Quilt to help express our grief and transform our offerings of pain into beauty and praise. Keynote speakers included Pete Hill (Cayuga, Heron Clan of Haudenosaunee Nation) who addressed the American Boarding School Trauma & Healing and presented “The Good Mind”
workshop focusing on a way of life where peace of mind is practiced through a strong connection to spirit; Seraphine Warren (Dine`) shared her experiences walking across the country (from Salt Lake City, UT to Washington, DC), “Trailing Ellamae”, to raise awareness for the
Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) following the disappearance of her auntie who went missing in 2021. Our very own, Ragghi Rain, Chairperson of the Native American International Caucus of the United Methodist Church (NAIC) was gifted a beautiful Pendelton blanket for her tireless efforts, dedication, and commitment to advocating for Native
American families. The closing worship service conducted by Rev. Dr. Kenneth Locklear (Lumbee) stirred the soul and spirit with his sermon and singing of “Peace in the Valley”. There was a celebration of the Children & Youth Programs, blessing of the quilts, a blessing of the
leaders of the New Trauma Groups and a blessing of the Letters and Advocacy work. As we closed the Sunday worship service, participants were encouraged to join in for the Healing Prayer Service and the closing song. As we departed, we embraced one another with a renewed commitment and synergy to advocate for our Native American families, to continue our journey
of healing the generations, and know that we hold a beautiful place in the Creator’s world.

Submitted by: Dr. Bonnie G. Hall, Member
Committee on Native American Ministry (CoNAM)

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