Many from the Fort Hall community gather to pray on March 20. Tribal elder Alene Menta speaks.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Prayers for people worldwide were conducted March 20 at the Shoshone-Bannock Festival arbor.
Tribal elder Fredrick Auck led the prayers in Shoshone language then English as they were said in the four directions – east, south, west and north. He asked for someone from each of the tribal reservation districts to assist at the four directional fires where cedar was burned because it carries the prayers a long way. Auck began at the east. Fort Hall Business Council member Lee Juan Tyler prayed at the south fire, LaGrand Coby at the west and Edison Darrell Dixey, also a FHBC member at the south. Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Ladd Edmo spoke after the prayers were said, along with others who attended.
Prior to the prayers Auck said sickness is something the old people said was coming – one that kills so prepare yourself, safeguard, take of one’s family and the people. The sickness has our white brothers scared, they’re panicking doing things they normally don’t do because they haven’t turned to the almighty (God) as he controls everything.
He encouraged the tribal people to be careful, take care of where they live, “This is our reservation, this is our world.” He said the almighty made the North American continent for the Indians, he put us in paradise, “This land was so full of buffalo and wildlife, we didn’t have to hunt too far,” now we got to ask forgiveness from Mother Earth here for what they’re doing to her. For example, the holes dug in the earth (mining) they got what they needed – they didn’t thank the almighty, nobody said what about our mother? Auck said the sickness erupted out of it. He said people need to explain to the almighty they’re sorry, forgive us for what we’ve done. For people who don’t know our ways it’s the circle of life, the old people said when something such as the prayers are done it travels faster than one’s mind where it wants to go.
Tribal elder Merceline Boyer blesses herself after the prayer.
Auck said he’s glad people showed up and he’s glad to see some of the council members. He noted the four directional fire is the Comanche way – the circle of it is the world.
Alene Menta said she prayed really hard the night before realizing God is doing things for a purpose to shake our faith. Speaking in Shoshone and English she said it’s God’s will that will be done on earth as it is in heaven. “His will wants his creation to believe him, love him,” and the younger generation is allowing the evil side covering their minds and hearts. She said the devil is ruling the earth and that is why there is conflict – people are envious, jealous. She said everything on earth is his, even the sky and what people are doing desecrating everything. The old ones used to pray, when the army came this was their way,” They prayed to make sure the generations behind them could survive, we are that – God’s will be done on earth, he created us and prayer is for healing.”
Charlene Wahtomy said prayers are needed for our tribal people, “We are warrior people – strong people and we can get over this. We don’t need to panic, we need to share and watch out and take of each other.”
After the prayers at the fourth fire, FHBC Chairman Ladd Edmo said the prayers are healing – the strongest next to love, sharing and kindness. “As tribal people we have these tribal teachings but in today’s modern world we’ve strayed away from that for whatever reason.”
Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Ladd Edmo speaks at the prayer ceremony.
Gifferd Osborne talked about his work and how they assist with tribal funerals, he sees the hurt but people don’t cry, they’re holding it inside and wonder why they get sick. He noted people get mad when he says anything. He also said there’s a proper place to sing certain songs as he hears songs where they are not supposed to be such as Sundance songs or warm dance songs and that hurts him. He said he’s not perfect and has things on his hands. He said the prayers are not for political gain – leave that out of it.
Jake Broncho said he felt the healing and power noting everyone was there for a purpose faith, healing and all those putting prayers down for – have that shield through the Creator. He said people don’t need to be scared, help one another out and now is the time for the cultural classes to be prepared. Indians from long time ago suffered worse – smallpox, cavalry and death, “We’re getting a little taste of it, we’re carrying on and I’m thankful for our elders – those that want to listen are going to listen, we need to stick together and have families come together.” He’s thankful to the late Willard Ballard and Carlino Broncho and all the guys that put prayers down for our tribal people, “It’s what we are carrying on – it’s powerful things coming together, up to us to pray.” Jake said people need to remember what tribal elders explain to us because the power is in prayer and it starts from the ground up.