If that wasn't a big deal, I can't wait to share the rest!
The ceremony began with the Assembly's worship team, sharing the love of Jesus. The love that He gave to us, long before we ever loved Him back or deserved it. It invited the Holy Spirit to be with us, to minister to us and it invited us to be "one nation under God".
Next, Tribal Chairman, Dave Flute, began his presentation with a Native Song about the President and our Leadership. It was powerful and honorable, and although it was sung in native tongue, it impacted us all. Larry and Dave presented the Korean Peace Medals to the soldiers and to the families of the soldiers that were no longer with us. Dave was a war vet himself and the one thing that resonated in my ears was his announcement that it was his honor to belong to his tribe, to be an American and to serve the American flag and he would do it all over again. Why that would be so important will become clear shortly.
As I stood there, God overwhelmed me with His amazing love for not only these men being honored, but also for all the families that were represented here. I looked around at all the races, cultures, colors and I smiled...because there was no racial tension, there was no riots, there was no hatred, there was only cultures, colors, races, human beings and honor. But for Sisseton, SD, this is normal.
I'm not going to say there is no racism here, because there is still some ignorance and some offenses that occur whether it's about race or not. But I grew up in and around Sisseton, SD, I lived it, and I assure you that my Grandpa has instilled in my heart, the passion to be "an ambassador of peace" long before he received the award today.
Native American people are beautiful. Not only their faces, but their smooth chocolate skin color, that by the way, never ages, and their hearts that are always serving. I have many surrogate Native mothers, Phedora and Elaine being of the highest ranking, who took me in and never called me a "little white girl". Ok...well maybe they did, but it was all in love and fun, because I was the ugly duckling that was adopted into the swan family. This culture is amazing, and was an honor to be a part of. The native women are always finding a reason to cook big meals to feed the tribes, getting all the children together to play, honoring, celebrating, mourning, but always living life in abundance. The Pow Wows are unlike anything you've ever seen. These people are honoring and dancing, celebrating, worshiping, loving and rejoicing. The dancers, drummers, servants, colors, purpose, is overwhelming. I'm forever grateful, I've never looked upon them or any other with hate in my heart. Matter of fact, I don't even know what that would look like. These people loved me and I loved them and there was never a separation because of culture or color or religion. But again, this is normal for Sisseton, SD.
I believe that God had a major plan for Sisseton, SD, way back in it's start in 1907, to be a place of "Ambassadors of Peace" to mentor nations. You see although you will find some brief mention of racism, you will find much more love in culture, in color, in race. You will find that long before Martin Luther King Jr.s dream in August 28, 1963, Sisseton, SD had possibly sparked dreams of sort, as it had already learned how beautiful it was to see Native American, Black American, Hispanic American, White American as well as others growing together, playing together, working together and marrying each other.
I'm so honored to be a part of all of this. I think about the Black Lives Matter movement. Black lives have always mattered. There is no down play in that. Life really isn't about the color as much as it is about Jesus, but we will certainly try to put importance on one culture over another...except in Sisseton, SD. There you will see, for the most part, the harmony of race, color, culture, religion and freedom. You will see honor, respect, and human beings who are learning to love God as well as one another.
You see, when Tribal Chairman, Dave Flute spoke the words I am proud to belong to my tribe, to be an American and to serve this flag, he spoke a truth we could all benefit and learn from. We can be proud of our culture, we can be proud of our heritage, our color our race, and we should be. There is no shame in any of it, matter of fact it is beautiful and something each of us can learn from. We can be proud to be American's, meaning no matter what color, culture, race, religion, we are all together, living this life out, honoring one another and respecting each other. We can be proud to stand under our flag, as an example to the nations...
and His blessings.