Native American
Zen Peacemakers
Bearing Witness Retreat

July 7 -13, 2024

Zen Peacemakers has been conducting 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. Our program will focus on the “heart” of these sacred sites as we gather in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The retreat will include events at various locations, listening to the stories of our Native American elders, group sharing, as well as offering prayers for the earth and all its inhabitants. Our deepest connection to this land comes through our hosts and elders. 

Michel Engu Dobbs

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Retreat Info

We participate in a Zen Peacemaker Bearing Witness Retreat
When we participate in a Peacemaking Process

Retreat Info


Details For the 2024 Retreat will be announced soon!

Sacred Stories

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.

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.


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.


Zen Peacemakers Journal