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April 12, 2013

SOARRING Native American Village Progress

Brothers Keeper Club Contribution

Surveying the progress of the recently cleared grounds for the MSF Native American village, Joseph Standing Bear Schranz expressed his deep appreciation to Ray Piagentini and the Brothers Keeper Club of the Barrington Community High School.

Old cabin debris on MSF Cultural Center grounds

Old cabin debris on MSF Cultural Center grounds

Last year the club began the first efforts to dismantle the old cabin which once stood on the grounds where the Native American village will be built. The group also returned several times to split logs from the trees that had fallen on the cabin.

Schranz is also proud of 25 sturdy benches built by a SOARRING member with the redwood planks from the dismantled cabin. These moveable recycled benches will be used for school groups and visitors who gather around the fire pit in the village.

Eagle Scout Project

Midwest SOARRING Foundation is also indebted to Chris Zurowski, his family, Boy Scout Troop 216, and other volunteers for their dedicated hard work to clear the caved in cabin, wood shed, and considerable debris last fall. Over a year ago Chris had inquired about the possibility of an Eagle Scout project at the MSF Cultural Center. He had met with Joseph Standing Bear Schranz to survey the land and determine a plan. “His sustained interest in the project resulted in very meaningful, long term results,” said Joseph Standing Bear Schranz.

Chris and his family raised $1,700 for hardwood mulch which was spread over the grounds in a layer of 4” deep. Chris also donated landscaping stones from his yard for the fire pit circle. In the foundations’ estimation Chris exceeded his own

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz surveying Native American village grounds.

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz surveying Native American village grounds.

expectations, as well as the organizations. In appreciation for his efforts, and the combined work of Troop 216, Midwest SOARRING Foundation designed a plaque which was awarded to this future Eagle Scout on March 23, 2013. Chris was also given the honor of starting the first fire in the opening of the fire pit ceremony at the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center. His Eagle Scout badge will be awarded in the near future.

Comcast Employee Involvement on Volunteer Work Day – April 27, 2013

A volunteer work day has been scheduled for April 27, 2013 to complete phase 1 of the grounds improvement. Founder/director Joseph Standing Bear Schranz is excited about the participation of 50 Comcast employees who will finish preparing the mulch area of the Native village charrette. He encourages all who plan to volunteer to bring Wheel barrows, shovels, and rakes as they are needed to spread the remaining mulch, pick up debris, and expand the outdoor patio near the cook hut. Comcast has graciously offered to provide a lunch and t-shirt to anyone else who volunteers by April 21, 2013. Call Janet at 708-257-4300 to reserve your spot.


Phase II Plans

Illustration by Sue Van Horn

Illustration by Sue Van Horn

Under consideration are plans regarding the size and materials that will be used to erect the Long House in May. The structure, along with the tipi and authentic Woodland Indian hunting lodge will become a destination site for school groups, scouting troops, and the public interested in learning about Native American culture. There is much excitement and interest by all involved. Stay tuned for further progress reports.


April 11, 2013

Winter Events at SOARRING Cultural Center

It has been a busy and productive winter for Midwest SOARRING Foundation. The organization has hosted a variety of cultural events to build community and cultivate interest in Native American culture.

MSF Women’s Group

The newly formed Women’s Group has met monthly and enjoyed the companionship and sharing in community. The purpose of the group is to empower one another and to discover ways to care about the earth. The group was active in attending a prayer vigil on April 1st, 2013 outside a special meeting of the Ottawa Plan Commission. The commission met to hear concerns and make recommendations to the Ottawa City Council regarding the rezoning of rural land to agricultural to make silica sand mining transloading possible on land adjacent to Starved Rock State Park. Read more about this at the end of this article.

Native American Beading Classes

Native American beading project

Native American beading project

Several beginning and intermediate Native American beading workshops have engaged eager participants of different skill levels. Each class focuses on a different beading project and there is a small charge for materials provided.

Check our calendar page for upcoming beading and rattle making classes.

Sacred Healing Plants Used Around the World

On March 3, 2013 Cindy Bloom of Cherokee descent gave a talk to a large and attentive audience at the MSF Cultural Center. She spoke on the practice of “offering smoke” in many ancient cultures around the world. Bloom shared wisdom gleaned from her childhood learning about plants from a family member. Her knowledge has resulted in the restoration of native flora and fauna at numerous sites, the production of educational films and articles, and the completion of two books. As a service to the community at large, she teaches elementary through college level classes that focus on American Indian culture, social justice, human rights, ethnobotany and natural medicine for animals.

Throughout the indigenous world, sacred scents have been viewed as gifts from Mother Earth to purify, unify, and inspire participants through prayer, said Bloom. Holy people, priests, and medicine men throughout the ages have made sacred offerings using smoke, incense, or aromatic herbs, knowing these herbs are a pathway through which prayer reached the Creator. Frankincense and myrrh are burned in Catholic Churches, Copal is a favorite of the Mayans in Central America, and Palo Santo is used in South America, while cedar, sage, and sweet grass are integral to ceremony for all American Indians.

Cindy Bloom with sacred healing plants

Cindy Bloom with sacred healing plants

Each time we celebrate the cyclical patterns of the natural world, Bloom said, we bring ancient traditions into the present time. Our intentions, words, and prayers have the power to call forth beauty to the world with great consequences. Bloom told the audience that plants possess Gaia intelligence. They influence their environment, and in turn, are responsive to their surroundings. She believes each person has the ability to “perceive” with their heart and exchange “soul” essence with plants. Bloom mentioned aromatherapy — long associated with spiritual beliefs and rituals for healing—as an example of this responsive interplay. The plant’s essential oils are considered the “soul” of the plant.

Like animals and people, plants are tribal by nature, said Bloom. They thrive in “clans,” aid other sick plants to heal, and bring homeostasis to the soil. Bloom described how visitors to her garden will select a plant that is just right for their individual needs as they connect with the plant on a spiritual level. She believes plants see, hear, smell, remember, and have the ability to care.

Spring Equinox Ceremony – March 22, 2013

A gathering of over 25 MSF members participated in a spring equinox ceremony lead by Joseph Standing Bear Schranz on the spring solstice. The bright, yet chilly first day of spring was welcomed by prayer to the seven directions with sacred sage. A talking circle followed where everyone shared their hopes, joys and concerns for Mother Earth. The warmth from the fire burning in the fireplace added to the community spirit.

Prayer Vigil To Save Starved Rock State Park From Silica Sand Mining

On Monday, April 1st, 2013 thirteen members from Midwest SOARRING Foundation held a prayer vigil with other concerned citizens before a special meeting of the Ottawa Plan Commission. Joseph Standing Bear Schranz was happy to see so many people attend on a work day at such a great distance. The goal of the vigil was to pray that the commission would make an enlightened decision that would ultimately stop the influx of Silica Sand Mines in the region.

Starved Rock State Park Waterfall

Starved Rock State Park Waterfall

The plan commission met to hear concerns and make recommendations to the Ottawa City Council about the rezoning of rural land to agricultural along the Illinois River. The rezoning of the property would make a silica sand mining transloading terminal possible on land adjacent to Starved Rock State Park. Over 100 trucks per day could haul sand to the terminal also located near the city of Ottawa on the Illinois River where it will be shipped on barges to national and international locations to assist in hydraulic fracking process. Arthur Daniels Midland and American River Transportation are seeking the inclusion of “silica” sand in the zoning amendment language so it will be possible to ship industrial silica sand mined from a pit near Starved Rock State Park.

Many audience members expressed their concerns about the environmental impact of this industrial activity so close to pristine beauty and tranquility of Starved Rock State Park. The Ottawa Plan Commission voted 5-1 to recommend to the Ottawa City Council the approval of the zoning ordinance change. To read more about this visit The Times.



Aanii Boozhoo

Midwest SOARRING Foundation invites all people to gather into an ever-increasing wider circle that preserves Mother Earth, and the rich traditions of the ancestors. We invite you to learn about the many intertribal Native American lifeways that provide wisdom and direction in our contemporary world. In keeping with this path, Midwest SOARRING Foundation works to maintain the traditions of the ancestors and to conserve and restore to health the natural environment.

We invite you to join our circle. Dance at our pow wows. Attend our cultural events and support the bison herd-our nation's greatest herbivore and symbol of hope and survival for all people. As you listen, you will learn. Together we become the Spirit of the ancestors.

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz

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