Clarke County, Virginia (May 8, 2015) – The Harvest Gathering council of elders announced today that American icon and living legend Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM) will be the Master of Ceremonies for “The Gathering” this harvest season in Virginia.
“The Gathering” is an educational celebration of “agri-culture” scheduled for Friday Oct. 30 – Sunday Nov. 1 at the Clarke County Fairgrounds in Berryville, Va.
"I believe in the power of shared experiences and cultures,” said Tracey Pitcock recreation program coordinator Clarke County Parks and Recreation and elder council supporter for “The Gathering.”
“On so many levels this connects the agri-“culture” community through strong history, conservancy of our environment, preservation of history and the understanding of Native ways," she added.
The Gathering is a traditional indigenous outdoor Harvest Dance, partnered with the Virginia Gourd Festival and combined with living history exhibitors (authors, vendors and artisans etc.)
“We are excited to actively combine Native American culture with gourds, particularly since Dennis Banks will be Master of Ceremonies," said Janice Kiehl VLGS president. "As one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, he anchors the connection between Native American culture and gourds as a strong and continuing force in Virginia."
This is the 14th year the Virginia Lovers' Gourd Society has presented the Virginia Gourd Festival at the beginning of Native American Heritage month to educate the public about the connection of gourds to their native roots and contemporary uses.
“We’re calling all dancers in native regalia and drums from across the continent as well as local volunteers, teachers and partners who would like to help plant this all exciting seed of possibilities of Thanksgiving and humanity in Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley,” said René White (Feather) event executive director and Native American resident of Clarke County. “We’re also offering internship applications on our web site.”
Dennis Banks is a founder, leader, father, author, activist, professor and military veteran who stood up and continues to stand up for what he believes in. He is also a counselor, teacher and consultant on American Indian rights and is offering to make appearances at regional Universities during his visit here in October. “Dennis has done as much as anyone alive for the advancement of American Indian rights,” said Curt Hansen council of elders member for “The Gathering” who invited Banks. “Dennis has done for indigenous people like Martin Luther King Jr. has done for people of African American descent.”
Dennis Banks is among many of the young children of the 20th Century whom the U.S. government tore from their homes and forced to attend government boarding schools to assimilate into the white culture.
Banks went on to co-found AIM in 1968 in Minnesota to address racism and police brutality; protect the traditional ways of Indian people; and to engage in legal cases protecting treaty rights of Native Americans.
Dennis Banks is best known for leading the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee by traditional Indians, where, 83 years before, U.S. troops had slain a band of Lakota men, women and children. Banks is the only living leader of the last American Indian vs. U.S. Government armed conflict.
Today, Banks leads the “Longest Walks” across the nation to raise awareness and reverse Diabetes that culminates in Washington D.C. After reversing his own diabetes through diet and walking, Dennis has become the driving force in leading walks around the country and around the world reversing diabetes and bringing messages of peace, hope and unity along the way.
His work also includes the “Let Mother Earth Speak” CD performed with Kitaro and the documentary “It’s a Good Day to Die” (2010), available on Netflix.
Local universities interested in booking Dennis Banks should contact René White at SanctuaryontheTrail@yahoo.com. For more information, the official web site for “The Gathering” is www.HarvestGathering.org.
INTERNSHIPS in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and other leadership skills are available for people 12 – 120 years old who want to be involved with bringing Dennis Banks and “The Gathering” to Clarke County Virginia. The internship application is in the Harvest Basket, an online magazine.
The Harvest Basket” holds “possibilities” that take place during “The Gathering.” As possibilities reveal themselves, we throw them in “The Basket” for everyone - a kind of checklist of things for you to do, see and experience before and during “The Gathering.”
VENDOR and DANCER applications are offered on "The Gathering," web site.
Embrace the Spirit