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Winter Moon Celebration
2010 Winter Moon Celebration
This year’s Winter Moon Ceremony was held at the SxWda?deb Culture Center, beginning in the afternoon of
December 21, when Mother Earth shifted back toward the sun at around 3:38 PM. About 40 people were in
attendance coming at different times. Joyce McCloud and her family kind of led the ceremonial gathering with
assistance from the traditional people and Cultural Committee members. Spiritual songs were sung and a large
fire lit for light and warmth as the day light turned into night. Words were shared about how the cycle of life
begins its renewal process, about how wonderful it is and how blessed we are to have the gifts from the Creator,
including the things we take for granted like the rain that washes, cleanses, and refreshes Mother earth and
sustains the plants and animals, especially us humans. Words were expressed about how important it is for us
humans to give thanks for such blessings and to understand and acknowledge them.
By the time darkness arrived, food was brought out and the youth and small kids especially enjoyed cooking hot
dogs and marsh mellows on the open fire. Sometime the sticks would burn through and the food would go into
the fire. Fire is the first sacred gift gifted humans, when the transformation of the spiritual into the physical and
human and natural worlds occurred. There are sacred stories that knowledgeable teachers including Bruce
Miller, would often tell about the gifting of fire and other critical elements of life, including the drum, which
was the second of sacred gifts. At this night, it was enjoyable for people to sit near the huge fire and appreciate
just being there and with one another to celebrate. Allen Frazier told one story about a canoe journey in 1997
when the canoe he was on was lost and tired in the northern part of Vancouver Island and all the crew had was
huge bon fires under old growth fur trees to comfort them.
5 of the 7 members of the Tribal Council showed up and listened and helped. Dark Feather from Tulalip and
her mom came as they have been doing for many years to support our local tribal ceremonies and functions.
They both travel around the native world in Canada and the United States and brought stories and songs and
teachings that were shared that night and the next day from sun rise until noon of the next days.
The next day, people begin to show up at day light. Dulcie and Allen brought the coals still red and smoldering
back to full life and when about 50 people arrived the morning ceremony was started. This morning begin with
many rituals including prayers and speakers and acknowledgements. Recognition was given to two MOTHERS,
who with new life inside of them, symbolic of mother earth’s renewal with germinating and dormant seeds
which will soon be bursting from the earth, were recognized and provided specials gifts and in turn bushed
everyone with cedar boroughs and with help for attendees gave each and everyone present pieces of smoked
salmon and the precious gift of water, and gifts of cedar to hang up in their homes with miniature gods eyes to
protect and bless and protect people.
Another part of the ceremony was the group reading of a special prayer put into the native language and
translated into English by Jake Swamp, a spiritual leader from the East about 100 years ago. Each page had a
short prayer ending with the phrase at the end stating that now we are of one mind. About 20 people including
youth took turn reading from this special ceremonial prayer. Another ritual process was the prayers with
tobacco offering which allowed individuals to stand up and perform their versions of prayer words. Then after
the individuals who wanted to express themselves in this way, the prayer tobacco was held out for everyone
present to take a pinch and walk around the sacred fire and ask for a blessing and everyone present did this. As
the ceremony neared its end the youth and children were recognized and thanked and provided stacks of gods
eyes to take to the trees on the 75 acre property and to tie them into the trees branches so to bless the cultural
center. Children have special spiritual blessings to share with the world around them because they have just
recently arrived from the spiritual realm.
At the very end of the ceremony was a glorious blessed meal prepared with master chef Jeff Choke in
coordination with Brain McCloud and the Nisqually Jail Trustee inmates, who in recent years have assisted with
community functions and ceremonies, which take tremendous amount of work and effort to put on successfully
at the scale we want. A special thanks to the Jail Management and staff and prisoners (‘trustees’) and Brian
McCloud for this wonderful feast. Finally, there was a giveaway to recognize some of the elders present, the
staff and helpers including the gardening program staff, the general public for their presence and witnessing and
participation, and most of all the children and youth. For the little kids, special stuff was put out for them and
they got to go out and select something they would especially want or like.
A special feature of this 2010 Winter Moon Celebration was the youth and children, somewhere in the
neighborhood of 15 teens and pre-teens, and an estimated 20 kids under 10 years of age. They will carry on the
prayers and ceremonies long after most of us are gone on to the spiritual world. And, just like the native people
who have lived here for many thousand years.
President Obama Hosts 2nd Tribal Leaders Conference in DC
December 16 was a day of great recognition from President Obama to all the Tribes across the United
States. There were 556 tribal leaders in attendance representing our tribes that day. Those of us from the NW
area were very proud that the Quinault President, Fawn Sharp, introduced President Obama. Navajo Code
talkers opened our meeting with prayer and the raising of the flags.
Tribal leaders sat together in the Department of Interior for this meeting. We shared time with the
president and his staff. After several preparatory meetings both locally and in DC we were prepared with issues
that are so important to the continued development and growth of each of our tribes.
We focused on health care, education, public safety, land into trust, SB8a certification and far more
activities that help move our Tribes forward.
The President is always respectful and listens carefully to each leader. Many of us had the opportunity to
speak and share the needs most important to our Tribe. Nisqually was heard in several meetings that day.
Many of the items we had discussed last year were worked on by the Presidents staff and had made great
progress. One of which was moving land into trust status. This is now completed at the local level and does
not have to go through additional steps in DC.
Slowly progress is being made in Indian Country due to Obamas leadership abilities to bring the Tribes
together for true Nation to Nation communication.
It is a great honor to be a part of this meeting. The meetings are tough but the outcome is worth it.
Visioning Project Update
The Nisqually Tribal Council appointed the following Vision Committee members: Daydishka McCloud,
Leslie Ferrer, Lorna Kalama, Jack McCloud, Joe Kalama, Dovey Slape, and John Simmons.
Vision Committee members will serve in an advisory capacity for Tribal Council to help update the 1995
Community Vision Plan. They represent the diversity of the Nisqually tribal and community members –
different families and ages living in on- and off-reservation neighborhoods. Special thanks to Jack and Dovey
who served on the 1993-1995 Vision Committee. They will lend continuity to the planning effort. Committee
Coordinator Rose Henry and Vision Plan Consultant Lynn Scroggins will provide staff and contract support for
the two-year planning project.
The first Vision Committee meeting was held on December 20. The group began to organize and discuss how
to update the Vision Plan. Everyone but Dovey and John attended the first meeting. Vision Committee
meetings will be held on the second Mondays, 2:30 pm, in the Legal Office conference room. The next meeting
is on January 10. Everyone is welcome!
The updated Community Vision Plan is a Tribal Council initiative. It will reflect the current values, dreams,
needs, and desires of Nisqually tribal and community members, reflecting changes experienced by the Tribe
since the original plan was adopted fifteen years ago. It will be a strategic action guide for community
development in the next twenty years.
We welcome your questions and suggestions. For more information, contact Lynn Scroggins at the Tribal
Center, 360-456-5221 x1183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vision Plan Consultant
FIRST BOOK GIVE-AWAY VERY SUCCESSFUL
On December 16th, as a part of the Tribe’s annual Christmas dinner, the Nisqually Tribal Library held a read-
aloud and book give-away program. On hand to assist with this were Faith Hagenhofer, the Tribe’s librarian, and
Library Assistant Mitch Kover. “It was really wonderful to engage each child in conversation on what they were
reading and enjoying reading,” said Hagenhofer at the end of the night. A key aspect of this program is allowing
children to choose which books they wanted themselves. The Tribal Library acquired the books for the purpose of
putting them into the homes of children, through a successful grant application to Seattle based non-profit, “Page
Ahead”. Approximately 120 books were given to the Tribe’s 4 -12 year old children that evening. The previous evening
about 25 books were handed out at the Head Start family dinner, and another 15 were given to the babies and toddlers
at the Daycare center on Dec 21st, when librarian Faith Hagenhofer made her weekly visit to read aloud. The library has
books enough for two additional programs, and intends to give away the next round of books at the end of February,
when they will co-sponsor a program celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Nisqually Earthquake.
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Jason Jackson, son of Henry
Wells, was born on Jan. 14th,
Love 1983, his great-grama
Josephine’s 76th birthday.
Happy Birthday Jason!