FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Global Interfaith Network to Join Hundreds at Standing Rock for Interfaith Day of Prayer
Standing Rock, ND, USA – December 1, 2016 – A delegation from the United Religions Initiative (URI) will travel to Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to join hundreds of people of faith for an Interfaith Day of Prayer on December 4, 2016. This comes at the invitation of Chief Arvol Looking Horse, URI member and representative of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations, and 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe.
“The hearts of all people’s faiths must now unite in believing we can change the path we are now on,” says Chief Looking Horse. “We, from heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for the world to unite for our children’s future. We are asking the religious people to come and support our youth, to stand side by side with them, because they are standing in prayer. If you can find it in your heart, pray with them and stand beside them.”
The URI delegation will be led by Executive Director the Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr. URI is a global grassroots network of 816 interfaith groups in 96 countries, working across religious and cultural barriers to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for Mother Earth and all living beings.
“From its inception, URI has upheld the fundamental importance of including the diverse voices of Indigenous wisdom-keepers and ensures the full participation of the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth in every dimension of our work,” Kazanjian says.
“I am deeply moved by the prayerful and non-violent displays of peace and unity of Indigenous Nations and friends at Standing Rock to protect and restore our Sacred Mother Earth on behalf of the whole human community,” says Kazanjian. “Our prayer is that everyone will see the importance of non-violence and dialogue as the path forward. This day of prayer is specifically focused on our common concern for the environment and protecting our precious planet and water, which is one of the issues that binds together the world’s spiritual traditions. I invite people around the world to send prayers for the Standing Rock community, which we will deliver to those gathered for this sacred ceremony on December 4.”
Kazanjian will be joined by URI North America Regional Coordinator Sari Heidenreich, URI Multiregion Regional Coordinator Frederica Helmiere, URI Environmental Resource Coordinator Katherine Hreib, and Jaya Priya Reinhalter and Fred Fielding, members of the URI Global Council, which serves as the organization’s Board of Directors. The Interfaith Day of Prayer is being organized by the Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation, under the leadership of Karen Van Fossan, M. Div. More information about the event can be found on standingonthesideoflove.org.
Members from Indigenous tribes across the United States and the world – and thousands of supporters – have gathered peacefully at Oceti Sakowin Camp over the last seven months to protect sacred Indigenous sites and prevent the pollution of key water sources. Even as harsh winter weather rages at the camp, more witnesses, representing diverse traditions from around the world, are joining to stand in solidarity with those gathered at Standing Rock. This is a powerful example of strength through interfaith and intercultural cooperation.
ABOUT UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE (URI)
URI is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. We implement our mission through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of our 816 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights. Learn more at www.uri.org.