Some of you know Ben. I came to the Hills
in 1996 to work with him to fulfill his
task. It has been a very rewarding challenge
for me. I'm living on the edge of the Pesla
(the prairie in the center of the Hills -
called the Heart of the Heart. It's a blessing.
I ask for your prayers and any other support
you can share. I know how difficult the following
was for Ben to write.
Re: Request from Ben Rhodd
For many years I have been under an understanding that started in 1984. From that understanding came a dream which I accepted in 1986. It involved the leading of the Lakota into the He' Sapa.
When I was given my name "Wanbli Tokaheya" (Eagle that Goes First) (also in 1984) I didn't know that there would be quite a burden that would go with that name. I have over the years followed the dream and as of the weekend of the 17th and 18th of May, 2003 fulfilled the dream.
The Gatherings and the Lakota returning to the Center (Pesla)were and have been the focus of my efforts for all those years. However, in the process my family, children, and myself have suffered greatly in the single minded purpose of accomplishing the dream (Harney Peak first, then the second step into the Pesla) and the multitudous prayers that I would not die before accomplishing the dream. The Gatherings were the efforts of seeking the combining elements (black, red, yellow, and white nations) into the Center (He'Sapa) as one people in their humanity. Now, over this time as I said we have suffered greatly and I have not worked so hard in my life at trying to keep the fires burning at home.
Jobs were not always forthcoming nor exactly sufficient for our needs. Difficulty has arisen time and again but now it has reached proportions that have become dire. I have completed the dream and was "set free" by a voice behind me at my sons' "hanblecheya"(vision questing) fire last weekend.
I was never so relieved and I dropped to my knees when they let me know that my dream was fulfilled. All the years of hardship and difficulty came forth and I cried as I had not cried since I was a child because of the sacrifice my family and I had endured. What I seek now is assistance of a monetary nature to help us rebuild, so to speak, our family and Juanita and I. She was the one the most greatly affected by all of this.
We have given and given until now we have no more to give and are in need of help to keep our home and hearth ablaze. If word could be sent out among those who believed and valued the Gatherings that their Elder is in need of assistance and prayers at this time it would be greatly appreciated. As a way of giving one more time, this summer, when the Gatheringtakes place I would share this story and also encourage the peoples on one level of being careful of what they accept and pray for as this is the greatest lesson of these past years for me.
I have never written nor asked for assistance at any time in all these years but now it is as I said "dire". I can go to work wherever now and am free to do as I please (so to speak) with my own life and family. I am applying for jobs and have resumes out among agencies.
This is a one time petition as I struggle now to rebuild my own life and with Wankan Tankas' grace rebuild my relationship to my family. I hope that if the Gathering folk can hear this petition that they may help in this endeavor. My mailing address is below. If all they can do is prayers, I would greatly appreciate those kind words being sent
on our behalf.
PO Box 486
Hill City, SD 57745
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