Check our Journal  for reports and reflections from our 2021 Plunge and our past retreats.


Zen Peacemakers Native American Plunge 2021

We will offer a five-day retreat, Friday, July 9 through Tuesday, July 13, in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, USA and surrounding areas.

The 2021 Native American retreat is now open for registration.
Presenters will be Arvol Looking Horse, Violet Catches, Wendell Yellow Bull, Manny Iron Hawk and Renee Fasthorse Iron Hawk.

Grover Genro Gaunt, Michel Engu Dobbs, Grant Fuku Couch, and Linda Shoju Coleman will help support the presentations and activities.

Zen Peacemakers has been conducting bearing witness retreats following the principles of Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action in Auschwitz, Rwanda, and the Black Hills since 1996. This program is a continuation of this rich legacy and part of our dedication to growing in connection with the indigenous communities of Turtle Island. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 plunge was virtual. This year we are happy to be able to offer this enriching experience as an in-person plunge.



We plan to travel Thursday the 8th and gather that evening. We will conclude Tuesday evening the 13th and plan to travel home Wednesday. Full time participation is required.


Cost for the Plunge is $750.00. Additional donations are encouraged to help cover costs and support. Participants will be responsible for all travel expenses, lodging (whether indoors or camping) and meals.


We will be staying in lodges and camping near Dayton, Wyoming, northwest of Sheridan. Our activities will take place at the Medicine Wheel, at sites in the greater area of Sheridan and nearby where we spend the nights. Modest services are available. 


Please be aware we will be outdoors most days. The weather in the Bighorns in July can vary from high heat to rain to snow. At the Medicine Wheel, we will be at 9,640 feet and will need to walk / hike a little. Please consider your health and fitness.


We support our attendees’ concern for security and safety and we require all those registering to provide a photo image of each COVID-19 vaccination card to be emailed to [email protected].

Schedule highlights:

Friday, July 9th, Arvol Looking Horse will meet with our group for an orientation and preparation to enter the sacred Constellation Ceremony on Saturday.

Arvol Looking Horse, is the 19th keeper of the sacred White Buffalo calf pipe. This pipe was brought to the Lakhota people many, many years ago to pray with, for spiritual strength. He has received an honorary doctorate degree from University of South Dakota, Vermillion. He has been honored with an eagle feather bonnet for his leadership in bringing prayer & peace efforts to the Oyate (people), on a local, national and international level.

Saturday, July 10th, we will move to the Medicine Wheel at the top of the Bighorn Mountains for the Constellation Ceremony.

The constellation ceremonies are conducted certain times of the year in correlation with the position of stars in the sky. During these certain times these positions of star constellation let us know that it’s time to pray with ceremony to pay homage. These star formations guide us to do ceremonies here on earth, i.e. performing ceremonies align us with the connections of sky & earth, because what is in the skies is also on earth.

Sunday, July 11th, we will meet to absorb and discuss our day at the Medicine Wheel.

Monday, July 12th, will be spent visiting important sites in the greater Sheridan area.

Tuesday, July 13th, we will meet to integrate, share and deepen our experience.

Further details will be made available upon registration and by email at [email protected]


This program will be conducted by the leadership team and in the spirit of the Three Tenets of Zen Peacemakers. While there is a set structure and framework facilitated by the leaders, please be aware that the agenda may change at any time as we bear witness to what’s arising moment to moment, and from day to day. Flexibility is essential.

The intentions and spirit of this program will be held carefully and subtly maintained by the program facilitators. Please be mindful of their instructions.

Mitakuye Oyasin — all my relations –is an essential Lakota understanding, and Zen Peacemakers is honored to continue deepening our relationship with the Lakota and other Native tribes in the Black Hills.  Though formal programs began recently, they’re the fruit of an 18-year relationship between Lakota individuals and Zen Peacemaker members.

Since 2015, Zen Peacemakers have conducted programs annually in collaboration with the Native American community in South Dakota. These programs are different every year, according to the needs of our hosts and our participants: they’ve manifested as the major 180-participant Black Hills Bearing Witness retreat in 2015, the intimate members-led Plunge in 2016 on Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation (CRST), and the dual programs in 2017 of a Week of Service on CRST and the Bearing Witness Plunge in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota.

Each consecutive year builds on the relationships we develop with our hosts. And, our program participants have individually continued their relationships through communications and actions, such as a nation-wide clothes drive, social-justice collaborations, their presence at Standing Rock camp in Winter 2016, a members-led Bearing Witness retreat in Minnesota, building a year-round hot-house in Pine Ridge, and in many other forms.  Some of these stories are told in our online Journal.


This year’s pilgrimage will focus on sacred and historical sites at Bighorn Mountains in Northern Wyoming / Southern Montana.

Our Lakota friends, with their deep reserves of humility, faith, and endurance, will show the way. We will meet them with deep listening, respect, and the intention to plant new seeds of caring, trust, and wellbeing for all our relations.



Registration for the 2021 retreat is Closed.
Check our Journal  for reports and reflections from our 2021 Plunge and our past retreats.