This year we experienced a real "God thing" or a Holy moment when we visited the Wounded Knee Memorial. The previous evening we had visited Melda's place and had been so graciously welcomed and given the honor of being invited to participate in a sweat lodge.
That evening sparked some serious discussion among our crew. There were those who wanted very much to participate in the sweat and others who had serious reservations about it and felt that we would be partaking in pagan ceremonies if we participated. Complicating the issue was that we had youth with us. We ended the group discussion with an agreement to pray individually about our participation and for the youth to wait for further word from me after I had a chance to talk with the youth leader and do some praying and thinking of my own.
Then an extraordinary thing happened. On Thursday evening we visited Wounded Knee. I had tried for months to find a Native person to go with us to Wounded Knee to tell us the story from their perspective. Nothing had worked out. One many wanted $1500 to do it and the other man who had agreed to go with us was drunk and in jail the evening we went.
We had originally planned to go there on Monday evening because it's a good way to kick off the week there but this year our schedule didn't permit that so we went on Thursday. When we arrived I was exhausted from the week and I've seen the Memorial before and always like to have a quiet moment by myself there to reflect on what happened there. I stood near the entrance of the mass grave while the rest of the crew wandered throughout the cemetery. An American Indian man stood nearby having just finished speaking to a group. Of all the times I've been to Wounded Knee I've never seen a guide speaking to a group before. In fact, I'm thinking that the Indians do not normally condone this, but I could be wrong. In any case, the man approached me and asked if I wanted him to speak to my group. Even though I didn't know the first thing about this man I immediately I felt this was a "God thing" and said, "Yes, I think I do. Let me see if I can round them up". He waited patiently as our group gathered, then entered the area of the mass grave and began telling the story.
His explanation of the history of the Lakota people and their relationship with the white man was amazing, but then, he did something else. He began sharing his faith. He was a Christian and shared about Jesus Christ unashamedly. He also talked about the traditional Lakota religious beliefs, explaining the symbolism in each and how they compliment, rather than compete with Christian beliefs. It was odd. He had answered so many of the questions our group had wrestled with the evening before and yet there was no way for him to know what had transpired before we met him.
When we parted ways he chuckled at our request for an address leaving some in our group to wonder if he was for real or if we had been visited by an angel. We may never know for sure.