Thursday, March 24, 2011

Latest Smoke Signals Newsletter from Wiconi

from Richard Twiss
Hau kola "hello friend,"

Location, location, location. In real estate they say these are the three most important factors in determining the value of a property. It's actually not a bad way to think about the best place for you and I to be, that is, being engaged right in the location where Creator has planted us.

My location is shifting from traveling over 100,000 miles in 2010 and speaking in thirty-one cities, fourteen states and four countries to firmly locating myself in my local urban Indian reservation here in the Portland/Vancouver metro area. My Silver Bird has landed!

I am reducing my travel by at least 40% this year. This gives me the opportunity to authentically engage in relationship with my native friends, networks and community in the spirit of Jesus. I will be around to dance at local powwows, attend important native community gatherings, and participate in events and organizations. Can't do this on the Silver Bird.

As a direct result of my reduced travel schedule, Wiconi is introducing two new local, and very exciting, community-building efforts. One is our Salmon House Internship Experience and the other is the Portland/Vancouver Native Prayer Breakfast.

I was telling a local native leader the other day I don't want to be known as a "somebody," but known simply in my community as a faithful friend, a good brother, "uncle Richard" - an ikce wicasa, a "common human/person." This Lakota concept carries the meaning of "the free, wild, nature humans or common people."

When I say spirit of Jesus this is what I mean. Phil 2:6-7 says of Jesus, that, "Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form." Jesus was ikce wicasa. It is in that spirit that I choose to follow Jesus as a husband, father and Lakota man in the midst of my community.

I covet your prayers as this reduction of travel means a reduction of income. I covet your prayers as we launch these two new initiatives. We add our prayers for the people of Japan, nations in turmoil, all families in need and your concerns as well.

Much peace and hope in the ways of Jesus.

RT - head pic 

Richard Twiss, Sicangu Lakota
President, Wiconi International / 360-546-1867

Portland/Vancouver Native Prayer Breakfast

Three years ago I hosted a prayer breakfast for the executive leaders of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington DC. It was so well received by the leaders, that year we hosted the first annual National Tribal Leaders Prayer Breakfast for the NCAI. This year we will host our fourth breakfast in October in Portland, OR.

I am so excited to announce we will host our first bi-annual Portland/Vancouver Native Prayer Breakfast on Friday April 1st at 7:30 AM at the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland. It will be a wonderful time for people to come together in the spirit of neighborliness, community and unity through an inter-faith, multi-cultural gathering. We will share some stories, music and food in a spiritual and encouraging time of becoming better friends and neighbors in the spirit of Jesus.  Please be in prayer for Creator's blessing on this time and our humble efforts.
The Salmon House - an internship experience

My wife Katherine and I founded Wiconi International in 1997 with the aim to provide education, encouragement and offer practical support to Native American families and communities in creating a preferred future.
Historically, Native people have been underrepresented and underserved in mainstream America. Economic and social barriers continually prohibit critical information flow and access to viable resources, thus hindering many healthy community change efforts. Wiconi's primary mission is to empower and serve Native people to experience a desired quality of life and a hope-filled future through authentic relationships and culturally supportive programs.
youth at ishkwaday
Seeking innovative and creative ways to fulfill its mission, in the fall of 2011, Wiconi International will launch The Salmon House in Portland, Oregon. In the Pacific Northwest, Salmon are the traditional main stay of the diet of the tribes and held in high regard. The Creator made the "Salmon Nation" to keep the tribes alive, healthy and strong.
The Salmon House is an inter-faith, multi-cultural year long internship where participants will learn to become better human beings by increasing their capacity to love deeply, serve generously, care sacrificially, walk respectfully and better understand their life as a spiritual journey as a result of learning together in community, all in the spirit of Jesus. These values can be described as the Lakota, and many tribes do, as, 1) Wocekiya - "Prayer," 2) Waohola - "Respect" 3) Waunsila - "Compassion" 4) Wowicake "Honesty" 5) Wawokiye - "Generosity" 6) Wahwala - "Humility" and 7) Woksape - "Wisdom."

Details will be forthcoming. We will begin actively recruiting interns, talking applications and launching Salmon House in the next ten months. 
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