By Carleen Wild Moody County Enterprise

Moody County is expecting an influx of participants from around the world as the 2024 World Peace and Day of Prayer events approach. Riders, runners and walkers from around the region and the world plan to converge on the area for a series of gatherings aimed at promoting unity and healing.
Local members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux invite everyone to join them starting June 17, when a horseback riding tour from Sisseton arrives in Flandreau. Runners from Santee, Nebraska, and walkers from Six Nations in Ontario, Canada, will join them in symbol of a collective journey toward harmony.
Events are planned June 18-21 at Pipestone at the Quarry, Sundance Grounds, Hiawatha Lodge and at the National Monument.
Founded in 1996 by Chief Arvol Looking Horse in the Black Hills, World Peace and Prayer aims to honor sacred sites and promote a global commitment to healing the earth. Events are held annually around the summer solstice.

The following is from part of a letter Looking Horse wrote prior to this year’s meeting;

Hau Mitakuyapi (my relatives),

Once again I send my voice to all Nations on Mother Earth, those who can hear with their hearts – my sincerity – to unite together in our Sacred Sites and create an energy shift of great healing on June 21st. We need to see and listen to the wamakas’ka (the animals), who are now showing their sacred color white more than ever, because there are so many of them now. This color represents the direction in which physical life is now moving into the spiritual journey. They are trying to warn us to pay attention to our responsibilities as a world nation. We have no choice but to make positive decisions together now, to protect the remaining sacredness that is trying to survive on Mother Earth, which even includes our own children.”

JB Weston, a member of the local Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe, helps organize local events. He hopes everyone feels welcome and compelled to attend.

“The bottom line,” Weston said, “is as crazy as the world is right now: We need to focus on prayer. But we have to involve everyone.”

This event is truly of global proportions. The first ceremony took place in 1996 in Gray Horn Butte, Wyoming, where more than 2,000 people reportedly attended. In 1997 the event culminated at the Joseph Bighead Reserve in Canada. Since then, it has been held at Pipestone, a traditional sacred site, and organized by tribes, churches and others working for peace in Costa Rica, Ireland, Durban, South Africa, where the event was coordinated with the help of Ella Gandhi, the granddaughter by Mahatma Gandhi. Reportedly, more than five thousand people took part in the event that year. Other annual gatherings have taken place in Australia, at Mount Fuji and HIroshima in Japan, in New Zealand, Brazil and at a number of other host locations and through tribes around the country and the world.

This year’s Horse Ride hits the area on June 15 as riders move from an overnight stay in Watertown to Nunda. On the 16th the riders leave early in the morning for Flandreau. Breakfast and dinner both evenings will be held at Flandreau at the Waciocaga Otipi Community Center on Broad Avenue.

Volunteers are being sought to help with meals and groceries. For more information on how to get involved, log on to worldpeaceandprayerday.com, email [email protected] or call (507) 735-8378.