IN A MAGICAL VALLEY, protected by the ancient spirits of the towering Catskill Mountains, a sacred fire was lit.
The flame that kindled the sacred fire was originally ignited in 1986 just outside the United Nations building by Chief Shenandoah of the Iroquois Nation. He rubbed two sticks together to create a spark, then lit a torch for peace in the International Year of Peace. That morning, in the gleaming sunlight of a beautiful sunrise, the UN building shone like the envisioned “Great Hall of Mica” spoken of in Hopi prophecy for over a thousand years. A message was to be delivered at an amazing shining place at the time of the “Great Turning” in hopes of ushering in a millennium of peace in the world. The Hopi knew the times described in the prophecy had come. – From GRANDMOTHERS COUNSEL THE WORLD: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet
Grandmother Flordemayo’s Gathering
New Mexico, USA – 2005
The Grandmothers Council convened in May of 2005 for their first official gathering, hosted by Mayan Grandmother, Flordemayo. The Grandmothers solidified their alliance, created a mission statement, approved projects to further their vision and offered prayers at sacred Pueblo sites.
We are here because of a vision; the ancestors, the spirit of the Grandmothers, have told us to teach all of the children of the world all that we know, for generations to come. – Grandmother Flordemayo
Grandmother Julieta’s Gathering
Oaxaca, Mexico – 2006
The next step for the council was to continue their mission for global peace in Mexico. Julieta Casimiro, our Mazatec Grandmother, invited the Grandmothers Council for a gathering at her home in Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca. The town of Huautla de Jiménez welcomed the Grandmothers with an honorary parade through the town and also provided for the meeting place in the government center.
We need to keep hope alive. It is like a never-ending story. In my village there is violence. What is happening in my village is happening in the world. At this moment, we need our faith. We need to make that faith stronger so we can continue doing our spiritual work and continue helping others. – Grandmother Julieta
Grandmother Tsering Dolma’s Gathering
Dharamsala, India – 2006
In October of 2006 the Grandmother Council gathered in the exiled homeland of the Tibetans, hosted by Tibetan Grandmother Tsering Dolma Gyaltong. There was a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and meetings with other luminaries in the Tibetan religious government in exile. The Grandmothers Council continued their prayer for global peace and affirmed their solidarity with the Tibetan people to reclaim their homeland.
To keep the Tibetan culture alive, we who still remember must teach our children and grandchildren, or a whole beautiful culture with its own unique teachings will be lost to humanity. – Grandmother Tsering Dolma
Grandmother Beatrice’s Gathering
South Dakota, USA – 2007
The Grandmothers gathered as a council for the fourth time at the Black Hills in South Dakota, home of our Oglala Lakota Grandmothers Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance and Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance. The theme of the gathering was We are Again One People and it celebrated the 80th Birthday of Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance. The Grandmothers were able to witness a very sacred Lakota ceremony when they attended the “Afraid of Bear– American Horse Sundance” at the grounds of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary on the Cheyenne River and participated in prayers.
We use Indian Medicine all the time at home. Our spiritual ways, our Sun Dance ways are encouraging prayer and bringing a lot of people back. A lot of young boys and girls are coming into the Sun Dance and are learning to reconnect with the source of their being. – Grandmother Beatrice
Grandmother Agnes’s Gathering
Oregon, USA – 2009
The Council convened in Lincoln City, Oregon, hosted by Takelma Siletz Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim. Close to 500 people from around the world attended the gathering to support the Grandmothers Council and join in their prayer. The theme of the gathering was One Chance, One Life, One Tribe. Grandmother Agnes of the Confederated tribes of Siletz is the oldest living member of the Takelma tribe. She restored the traditional Salmon Ceremony and has been an outspoken “voice for the voiceless” animals, trees and all beings.
Prayer is the greatest thing I have as I walk upon this earth. – Grandmother Agnes
Grandmother Mona’s Gathering
Arizona, USA – 2009
The Grandmothers gathered as a council in Sedona, Arizona, hosted by Hopi/Havasupai Grandmother Mona Polacca. Over 500 people joined in commemoration of Honor Creation & Celebrate Community in Prayer for a Global Future. The Grandmothers and invited special guest addressed thematic topics focused on Water, Air, Fire and Mother Earth. The public gathering included prayer ceremonies. The Grandmothers made field trips and were welcomed by the Hopi Tribe Cultural Preservation Office with a visit to a very sacred site. A visit was also made to the Grand Canyon where the Havasupai wisdom keepers conducted a sunrise ceremony on the rim of the canyon as the moon set, and the sun rose.
The way that we preserve our ceremonies, our culture, is by sharing the knowledge with those who would take the time to listen. – Grandmother Mona
Grandmother Clara’s Gathering
Kirishima, Japan – 2010
The Grandmothers gathered as a council in Kirishima, Japan, hosted by Brazilian/Japanese Grandmother Clara Shinobu Iura. The theme of this gathering was Novo Tempo, Nova Vida, Novo Mundo, Novo Povo, Novo Sistema (New Time, New Life, New World, New People, New System). On their historic trip to Japan, the Grandmothers participated in a citizen-sponsored program associated with the United Nations’ COP10 Summit on Biodiversity in Nagoya, established relations with the indigenous peoples of Japan in Kirishima, and made prayers for peace at the site of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki.
It’s children who are pure and truthful, they are the ones who can come closest to God because they are, they’re not conditioned to “seem like” or to “appear to be,” they are. – Grandmother Clara
Grandmother Rita’s Gathering
Alaska, USA – 2011
The Grandmothers gathered as a council at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska, hosted by our Yup’ik Grandmother, Rita Pitka Blumenstein. The theme, Healing the Spirit from the Light Within, manifested through three and a half days of prayer ceremonies, healings and cultural exchanges. Public Council themes included the role of women and motherhood, restoring your foundation and peace (mental, physical, spiritual health), healing Mother Earth, and balancing life with laugher, tears and healing.
The past is not a burden; it is a scaffold which brought us to this day. We are free to be who we are—to create our own life out of our past and out of the present. We are our ancestors. When we can heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and our children. When we heal ourselves, we heal Mother Earth.” – Grandmother Rita
Grandmother Maria Alice’s Gathering
Brasilia, Brazil – 2011
The Grandmothers gathered as a council at UNIPAZ (University of Peace) in Brasilia, Brazil, hosted by Brazilian Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire. The theme of the gathering was the Grandmothers’ Voice: In the Flow of the Water. During the course of the gathering, Native elders from across Brazil and South American discussed issues related to water. Each day of the gathering included prayers at the sacred fire and council teachings.
I believe we have all been guided to be here, and we will be guided to do what we came here to do. We cannot say we are of this race or that one. We have all been everything in our many lives, and now our paths cross for us to connect from many different faiths and cultures. But we are all the same flame in life. – Grandmother Maria Alice
Grandmother Margaret’s Gathering
Montana, USA – 2012
The Grandmothers gathered as a council at the Northern Cheyenne reservation near Lame Deer, Montana, USA, hosted by Cheyenne Grandmother Margaret Behan. The theme of the gathering was Gratitude Brings Freedom. Each day of the gathering included prayers at the sacred fire, council teachings and special guests. Thirteen tee-pees, one for each grandmother, encircled the sacred arbor where prayers and teachings took place.
If we want to see changes first of all we need to be in peace inside ourselves, and then we need to be patient with the ones that have not yet arrived in that place of peace. – Grandmother Margaret
Grandmother Aama’s Gathering
Kathmandu, Nepal – 2012
The Grandmothers gathered as a council in Kathmandu, Nepal, hosted by Grandmother Aama Bombo, of the Tamang indigenous tribe of Nepal. The theme of the gathering was Praying for Peace in the Land of the Buddha. Grandmother Aama spoke of that time as one of moving out of the tumultuous Kali Yuga into the Sattvic Age where only truth will be spoken. Each day of the gathering included prayers at the sacred fire, council teachings and special guests.
I am here to pray for the good of everybody. I am working not only for myself, but for everyone. This is the time when this is needed in the world. This will bring the Sattva Yoga. In the Sattva Yoga, only truth will be told. No jealously, no greed, no hatred. – Grandmother Aama
Grandmother Rita’s Gathering
South Dakota, USA – 2014
The Grandmothers gathered as a council in Spearfish, South Dakota, located in the ancestral lands of the Lakota Nation. The Gathering was hosted by Oglala Lakota Unci (Grandmother) Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance. The theme of the gathering was Wowahuala Na Wowaunsila Ta Cangleska Wakan Ki (The Sacred Hoop of Peace and Compassion). Unci Rita selected this location because it is in close proximity to Lakota sacred sites.
Our people know that the land and the language are one. If we lose one or the other we are no longer who we say we are. – Grandmother Rita
Grandmother Bernadette’s Gathering
Libreville, Gabon – 2015
The Grandmothers Council gathered as a council for their 13th gathering in Libreville, Gabon, hosted by Omyene Grandmother Bernadette Rebienot and the Oyenano Village Association. The theme of the gathering was “Echoes of the Grandmothers: Roots of Humanity”. The Grandmothers and special guests addressed thematic topics focused on Woman, Spirituality, the Environment and Africa, as the cradle of humanity.
Humanity must enter a reconciliation with nature if we wish to create a new reality, a new alliance. We must learn the essential and mysterious language of nature that is always speaking to us, the language the great initiates have always understood. – Grandmother Bernadette