Wiconi’s Community Relations Coordinators Gary and Mary Ann Eastty recently spent a weekend in eastern Washington State as guests of a 120-drum team. Invited by their friend Dan Mosley, Paiute/Dakota, this weekend focused on two local churches that which expressed interest in beginning long-term relationships with the local Wanapum people.
120 Drums Weekend Team Left to right:
Dan Mosley (Paiute/Dakota), Mary Ann Eastty, Gary Eastty (guest members), Elmer Atlookan (Ojibway, Joshua (Paiute/Dakota), Lynda Prince (Carrier Grand Chief)
The 120 Drum team led the church through proper protocol for making contact with local leaders and then invited them to take the first steps towards reconciliation and long-term relationships with the church.
“It was evident that God had prepared the way for us to first meet the wife of the Wanapum leader,” says Gary, “and set the stage for the others to accept the invitation to join the churches two days later.”
During this time, the Wanapum were gifted with various gifts and the lead pastors apologized for past wrongs to these people and asked forgiveness for these wrongs.
“The response from the Wanapum people was warm and inviting,” Gary continued. “They were all glad to be with us and to learn of the desire of these Christian people who wanted to learn about the people and work together to build good relationships between the two communities.”
The Wanapum make up part of the Sephaptian Language Family, including the Walla Walla, Umitilla, Yakima, Warm Springs and others.
After the ceremony, they had a salmon dinner together with the visitors and the stage was set for future contacts. Now the churches wait to hear from the tribal leaders as to the next steps in this process. Gary says hopefully they will include “a larger contingent of Wanapum people and a return trip from a larger team from 120 Drums.”
“It was a good time of ministering together with brothers and sisters from another Native-based ministry as well as with the two local churches,” Gary stated. “It’s our hearts’ desire to see more Christian ministries work together for the cause of Christ and the Kingdom of God.”