Originally conceived by Zen Peacemakers and rooted in the Three Tenets, Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Programs bear witness to specific and collective expressions of human suffering in various places around the world.¬† Sensitive to nuances of culture and geographic location in which they take place, Bearing Witness Programs, through meditation, interfaith services, council and listening practices, reveal the universality of human experience ‚ÄĒ our interconnection.
Since 2015, Zen Peacemakers has conducted annual programs in collaboration with the Lakota community in South Dakota. These programs evolve every year according to the needs of our hosts and our participants, from periods of hands-on service, impromptu plunges, and a large-scale bearing witness retreat. They are co-developed and co-hosted by Native American leaders.
Manny Claude Iron Hawk¬†is an Ikce Wicasa or a common man of the Oglala and Howozu within the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires of the Dakota/Lakota/Nakota nation. His Great-Great-Great-Grandfather ‚ÄúChetan Maza‚ÄĚ, Iron Hawk, fought for the Lakota way of life at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, June 25, 1876. His immediate family members include ‚ÄúHasani‚ÄĚ (meaning partner), Renee Fasthorse-Iron Hawk, and his eight children. He has a Master‚Äôs Degree from Sinte Gleska University, graduating in August of 2013. Presently, Manny is a Science teacher for the Junior High School at Takini School. He serves on the Missouri Breaks Community Advisory Group, Circle of Hope Curriculum Board, All Nation Healing Center Board and serves as a Frazier Memorial Church member. His inspirations include being an Ikce Wicasa by following his Lakota values, Natural laws, Custom laws, and Spiritual laws. Read Manny’s complete bio.
Violet Catches describes herself in this way: ‚ÄúI was nurtured by my maternal grandmother who was a great teacher of the Lakota way of life.¬† She left us when I was ten. Then I lived with my mother, an aunt, other people including relatives. I was lucky to have been around speakers of our language and culture. I attended many schools including missionary school, boarding schools, and public schools. I managed to get a GED in 1970, then experienced life‚Äôs ways. I became homeless and a drunk. My father sent for me to come live with him in Chicago. There my life changed as my very traditional non-drinking mother was killed by a drunk driver. That sobered me up. I got my undergrad degree in 1986 and a master‚Äôs in 1996. I wrote a book which is pretty dormant. That‚Äôs all I want to share for now.”
Renee L. Fasthorse-Iron Hawk (Tokahe Hi Hunni Win, Arrives First Woman). An enrolled member of the Wakpa Waste (Good River) Cheyenne River Lakota Tribe, Renee has worked in different capacities in behavioral health, conducting research and active in disease prevention and finishing her graduate work in Lakota Management and Leadership. She serves on the boards of Lakhota Advocates Okolakichiye (Society), Three Rivers Mental Health Board, Lakhota Circles of Hope, Heartbeat at Wounded Knee Survivor Descendants Okolakichiye (Society), and the Lakhota Languages Teachers Okolakichiye (Society). She lives with her mihingna (spouse) Manny Iron Horse, Oglala, and 6 adult children. Read Renee’s complete bio.
Roshi Grover Genro Gauntt has lived and worked for long periods at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for close to 20 years. Head Teacher of the Hudson River Zen Center, he has also led street retreats in various countries all over the world. He has served as Spiritholder in bearing witness retreats for many years, including at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the large 2015 Retreat in the Black Hills.
Roshi Eve Myonen Marko¬†is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, head teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts, and a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order.¬† She has trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe and the Middle East alongside her late husband,¬†Bernie Glassman,¬†and guided retreats¬†at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda, the¬†Black Hills in South Dakota, and¬†Bosnia.
Roshi Michel Engu Dobbs¬†is a Zen priest and Dharma heir of Peter Muryo Matthiessen-roshi and a co-teacher at Ocean Zendo in Bridgehampton New York, an affiliate of Zen Peacemakers International.¬† Engu has been a bakery manager for over twenty years and is a husband and father of three.
Rami Efal¬†is the Executive Director of Zen Peacemakers International. Born in Israel and living in the US since 2002, Rami has studied Zen Buddhism at Zen Mountain Monastery since 2005. He studied inter-cultural and conflict transformation at the School of International Training in Vermont and New York Center of Nonviolent Communication. He has led hunger, art, hospice and Palestinian/Israeli peace projects, and presented on NPR, at the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, at the United Nations Headquarters in NYC, and at Insight Meditation Society in Barre MA. Between 2013 and 2018 he was student and attendant of Roshi Bernie Glassman and since 2015 he has managed and co-lead all Zen Peacemakers International bearing witness programs and offerings.
American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890,¬†by Jerome A. Greene
All the Real Indians Died Off, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, by¬†Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Black Elk Speaks, By John Gneisenau Neihardt
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, By Dee Brown
God‚Äôs Red Son, by Louis Warren
Good Friday on the Rez, by¬†David Hugh Bunnell
“I Am a Man”: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice, by Joe Starita
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, by Peter Matthiessen
Lakota Star Knowledge,¬†by Ronald Goodman
Native American Postcolonial Psychology, by Eduardo Duran and Bonnie Duran
Neither Wolf Nor Dog, by¬†Kent Nerbern (Also a Movie¬†Recently Released)
Oceti Wakan: Sacred Fireplace, by Pete Catches Sr
Prison Writings, by Leonard Peltier
Quiet Until the Thaw, by Alexandra Fuller
Standing in the Light, by¬†Severt Young Bear
The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History, by Joseph Marshall III
The Killing of Crazy Horse, by Thomas Power
The Land Along The River: The Ongoing Saga of the¬†Sioux Nation Land Claim, 1851-2012, by Peter Capossela
The Ghost Dance Religion and Wounded Knee, by¬†James Mooney