In 1986 Grandmother IronEagle had a vision in which to help fulfil the vision of Black Elk. That was to see the unification of the four coloured races of the world. To this end she enlisted the help of Jim Walton, Tlingit elder and Wolf Clan Chief. Jim went between the many medicine people seeking permission to hold a gathering of Medicine people to help with a problem being experienced in Grandmother's village.
The youth of the village were leaving the old ways, showing less respect for the elders and being drawn to the cities. This was having a devastating effect on their spiritual, moral and physical health. Grandmother hoped that the medicine people would be able to help the youth and the village. However it came to Jim's attention that this problem was not limited to a few villages but was a world-wide phenomenon. He asked the medicine people if all people could share these gatherings and that these gatherings be taken all over Turtle Island (North America).
These gatherings started in 1989 on the Pasqua Reservation where the first two were held. The third was held on the Nambe Reservation in New Mexico in 1991. These gatherings were coordinated by a small group of Elders and Medicine people: Jim Walton, Ernest Mirabal, Harvey Iron Eagle and Ben Rhodd. At the next gathering (Tanacross, Alaska, 1992) a group of these elders agreed to ask Don O'Connor to take the gatherings to Australia. To enable this Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Incorporated Association was formed.
Easter 1999 saw the first Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Gathering held on Don and Sue's property 'Dja Willam' near Daylesford Victoria. The picture below was taken after the Closing Ceremony.
After that there were the following SUT gatherings: The second at Hatfield, NSW in November 1999; the third at Lake Mungo, Easter 2000. The fourth gathering was held at Menindee Mission, NSW in September 2000. The fifth at Weldborough, Tasmania, January 2001 and the sixth at Wood Wood, Victoria, Easter 2002. The seventh was at Daylesford, Victoria, March 2005; the eighth at Menindee, NSW Nov.2005; the ninth at the Coorong March 2006; and the tenth also at the Coorong March 2007. The eleventh was at Kangaroo Island, S.A. Sept.2007; and the twelfth was again back at Daylesford April 2010. Announced at the closing of this gathering was the thirteenth gathering to be held again at Menindee Mission; as Auntie Beryl Carmichael is keen to bring health, help and healing to her people and her traditional land. There is now a fourteenth gathering planned (see coming events for this and any future gatherings). The 14th, 15th, and 16th gatherings were held at Halls Gap near the Lakeside caravan park.
As I have just got back from the 16th SUT gathering, the third at Halls Gap, there is still the Darwin gathering in the pipeline and Auntie Beryl has asked for a 4th Menindee gathering some time in October 2015.
Between Wood Wood and the second Daylesford gathering SUT went into legal hibernation; as a result Rick and Josie, who wanted to run an SUT gathering, ran their own in 2004 and called it the 'Honouring of Elders Gathering. Raven attended this gathering and was so impressed by it, and the gift of a blanket there, that she and Todd decided to run a gathering on Bruney Island in Tasmania.
In February 2006 the almighty Red Blanket Gathering was born. Again inspired by the awesomeness of that gathering Catherine and Michael decided to have a similar Red Blanket Gathering at Bunya Mountain in Queensland. In Feb. 2007 this gathering saw members from many Aboriginal tribes rebirth their old tradition of gathering when the Bunya nut are falling.
Many overseas visitors from other indigenous nations attended including Jim Medicine Tree, who bought with him the Black Thunder Pipe he carries. This pipe was demonstrated as a successful and powerful tool to ask Spirit to bring rain; every time he took it from his bundle it rained, and as I travelled back to Victoria it rained heavily the whole way until I reached the Murray River area; the water here is much abused and taken for granted so I believe there were more lessons and hardships for the people of this area.
In March 2008 Auntie Rochelle Patten called for an SUT gathering at the Yorta Yorta Nation's property Yielima, however SUT pulled out their support and many gathering regulars and SUT members rallied to help Auntie make her first gathering happen and so the Yorta Yorta Gatherings were born. Auntie Rochelle has had two gatherings since in March 2009 and March 2010, however Auntie has indicated that it is unlikely that she will run another gathering at Yielima as she is gearing up for the next stage of her journey of life; travelling and spreading her wisdom and knowledge further a field.
Some of the regulars who have been closely watching all of these gatherings and who deserve a special mention are: Maynard and Jacky Eakan from Alaska and Grandfather Ernest Mirabal from New Mexico. My love and gratitude to you is immeasurable.