13 international women gather for peace

Jul 29 2007 7:33PM
Associated Press
(Note multiple-word surname 4th graf) HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) Several times a day over three days, 13 native women, several in their 80s, gathered around an open fire as each led prayer ceremonies unique to their native tribes.

They came from Africa, Asia and the Western Hemisphere their languages, cultures and traditions as different as their lands.

The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers first met in October 2004 in New York. They meet roughly every six months in each other's homeland and the most recent meeting was in June in South Dakota's Black Hills.

The indigenous grandmothers say they hope to ease war, pollution and social ills by teaching traditional ways that served their people long before modern peace and environmental movements.

Two of the 13 are from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: sisters Rita and Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance.

The women exchanged ideas and learned about problems that plague the Oglala Lakota who live on the Pine Ridge: high unemployment, suicide, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, Diabetes and other maladies.

(By AP Writer Carson Walker) (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APNP 07-29-07 1930CDT