2012-06-27 / Headlines

Native American Church of North America has new officers

Submitted by Floyd Favel


Pictured (L-R) are the newly elected officers of the Native American Church of North America, including: Sheila White Eagle (Dineh) Secretary, James Tso (Dineh) Treasurer, Sandor Iron Rope (Lakota) President, Leo Dayish (Dineh) Vice-President, and Sarah Fanman (Dineh) Editor-In-Chief Pictured (L-R) are the newly elected officers of the Native American Church of North America, including: Sheila White Eagle (Dineh) Secretary, James Tso (Dineh) Treasurer, Sandor Iron Rope (Lakota) President, Leo Dayish (Dineh) Vice-President, and Sarah Fanman (Dineh) Editor-In-Chief I had the good fortune to attend the 63rd annual Native American Church of North American (NACNA) conference in Mayetta, Kansas on June 15th and 16th, 2012. I attended the conference with the president of the NAC of Canada Kelly Daniels from Sturgeon Lake, Sask., and David Janvier, band councillor from Cold Lake First Nation. I was assisted in attending this conference by the Poundmaker Cree Nation and I was grateful for this kind assistance.

The elections for the NACNA were also held and the newly elected leadership is; President Sandor Iron Rope, a Teton Lakota, Vice President Larry Dayish, from the Navajo Nation, Secretary Shelly Saunsoci, Navajo Nation and treasurer James Tso, Navajo Nation.


Pictured (L-R) are: an unidentified NAC member, Josias Aikens, Sandor Iron Rope (NACNA President Elect), an unidentified NAC member, James Tso (NACNA Treasurer elect), Kelly Daniels (NAC of Canada President), and Duane Shields Pictured (L-R) are: an unidentified NAC member, Josias Aikens, Sandor Iron Rope (NACNA President Elect), an unidentified NAC member, James Tso (NACNA Treasurer elect), Kelly Daniels (NAC of Canada President), and Duane Shields The conference was hosted by the Prairie Band Potawatomie’s and the business meetings were held at the Potawatomie Casino and the prayer sessions were held at the Pow wow grounds. The ceremonies on the night of the 15th were led by Duane Shields from Yankton, Sandor Iron Rope from Pine Ridge, Josias Aitkens from Potawatomie and James Tso from the Navajo Nation. Participants in the conference were from many tribes, including the Arapahoe, Shoshone, Sioux, Potawatomie, Ojibwa, Navajo, Comanche and some Cree people, including elder Burton Sangrey from Red Pheasant.

The weather on our way there was extremely hot and it happened to be the storm season as we entered Nebraska and Kansas and we ran into severe weather while travelling. The Potawatomie, an Algonquin speaking tribe speak a language related to the Cree language and they were excellent hosts feeding their visitors alongside other foods, their traditional corn soup. They hold great respect for corn as they say that the corn fed them during times of starvation in the past.

The Native American Church of Canada, incorporated in 1954, is affiliated with the NACNA and is a full voting member. Kelly Daniels stated, “It was due to the incorporation of the NAC of Canada in 1954 that the Native American Church changed its name to the NACNA. The NACNA opened our church in 1956 with a prayer meeting at Fort Battleford; it’s because of this that I feel it’s important we keep coming here to the conferences.”

Next years annual convention will be held in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, hosted by the Winnebago Tribe.

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