December News from DUPNA!
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Flathead Lake, Montana
Water... that most beautiful of elements... our very life’s blood... the most precious resource... Earth’s shining glory... in our Northern climates we see the incredible purity of the snow and are reminded of the Great Mystery in the perfection and unique design of each and every snowflake. We honor and celebrate water in this newsletter and also we give thanks to the water protectors, ordinary human beings doing extraordinary works with great devotion, intention and unity. 
“Water is a cup of the stars. When you put that cup of Water to your mouth and drink, you are drinking a cup of the stars. You see the glimmering lights and reflections of the sun on the
waters of the earth.” 

~*~ Tiokasin Ghosthorse,
from his article Living in Relativity ~*~
Water ceremony at Wilderness Dance Camp,
MT 2016
Holiday Card is on its way!

The annual DUPNA Holiday Cards are in the process of being sent out! This year, the focus is on Water and the Native American spiritual tradition. This card, following in the footsteps of our cards in the past, is both beautiful and meaningful. We wish to thank those who have been instrumental in bringing forth this holiday card – to Michael Sheehan, who received the verse that manifested in the dance “With My Feet Upon the Earth” on Flathead Lake as a gift from a Native American spirit named Chief Brown Wolf.  

Thank you to Cordi Latifa, the artist who created the lovely image on the cover inspired by the words of the song. Thank you to Lucinda Abbe for all you do to bring the card into manifestation. The Holiday Card is our main fundraising event, and we appreciate your generosity in supporting the Dances of Universal Peace North America! 
We wish to thank the many volunteers (individuals and dance circles) who prepare
and mail the card out.  

Helena, MT Dance circle
Hamilton, MT Dance circle
Asheville, NC Dance circle
Phoenix, AZ Dance circle
Boise, ID Dance circle
Indianapolis, IN Dance circle
Seattle, WA Dance circle
Violetta Reiser
Claire Bakewell
York, PA Dance circle
Prescott, AZ Peace Dance and Sufi Circle
Bozeman, MT Dance circle
Karen Mastracchio
Cranbrook, B.C. Canada Dance circle
Colville, WA Dance circle

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Click here to make a donation
Members from the Colville, WA Dance circle working
on this year's holiday cards
Click here to listen to Wishi Ta gifted by
Brooke Medicine Eagle
Water ceremony at Cannonball River on
Standing Rock Sioux land, November 2016
 Peace Dancers Reflect on Standing Rock and Mni Wiconi

by Elizabeth Rahmana Sayre, Salim Chisti Matt Sean Gras, and Lewis BrightHeart Headrick


~*~ From Elizabeth Rahmana Sayre ~*~
(Boise, ID)

In late November, I spent two weeks at the Oceti Sakowin camp in Standing Rock, ND, serving on the healers' council. For many weeks, I had been captivated by Facebook posts and videos, showing indigenous people from all over the world, and tribes from North America that had historically been enemies, and non-natives, coming together to protect the water from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which was routed through tribal burial grounds and under the river near their reservation. I had the sense that we were reaching a turning point in history, and when a call for healers went out after a particularly brutal attack by militarized police, I knew I had to be there. 

The camp of water protectors is committed to prayer and non-violence.  It is led by the elders of the tribes who see this time as the fulfillment of a prophecy that the Red, Black, White, and Yellow tribes will one day unite to defeat the Black Snake (oil pipeline) and receive the teachings of the ancient ways of the Lakota.

Each day began with a wakeup call over the solar powered PA system and prayer songs. Before the sun rose, I was standing, bundled up against the sharp wind, in the circle around the sacred fire. Watching the sun rise as haunting songs were offered brought me to tears. The elders offered pipe and water ceremonies daily, often to large groups. The generosity of their time and energy, to offer their teachings while enduring the cold, was much appreciated. 

In the Lakota tradition, the men are the fire keepers, and the women are the water keepers. Women have been instrumental in leading this movement to protect the river, the source of life. Women lead water ceremonies, blessing the waters, and offering prayers. The morning I attended, a heavy fog covered the area. We gathered at the sacred fire, and water from several containers brought from different areas was combined and prayed over. Songs were sung as several hundred people walked down to the river, and I was thrilled to hear Wishi Ta, a favorite Dance of mine!

Click here to read the rest of Rahmana's reflection.


~*~ From Salim Chisti Matt Sean Gras ~*~
(Hamilton, MT)
My first full day at the Lakota Standing Rock camp of Oceti Sakowin in early November, I was awakened before dawn by an enthusiastic, bullhorn-amplified voice urging everyone to rouse themselves and get to work, protecting the waters of life. Taking the message personally, I found my way to one of the camp’s sacred fires, where everyone was invited to join a Sacred Pipe Ceremony – men in one circle, women in another – and where I afterward observed a Sacred Water Ceremony, led by Native American women and supported by a contingent of respectful and deferential men. 
These gatherings take place every morning before sunrise. Mother Earth is honored, as is the rising Father Sun – but all the ceremonies implicitly honor the Earth’s Waters, upon which all life depends. During my two-plus weeks in camp I grew accustomed to hearing the Lakota words Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) sung out as an anthem, as a prayer and as a call-and-response chant, throughout the camp and at all the “actions.” These actions, all geared in one way or another to halting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) under the Missouri River, had one common motif: each was an act of sacred ceremony and included a contingent of Native American elders offering up prayers to the waters, to the earth, and to all beings – including the police forces and the government officials who opposed us. 
Native American cultures consider virtually everything in the Natural World to be sacred, but most especially water. So for the Lakota, the Missouri River is not an inanimate object, but a sentient being to be revered and protected. The water protectors of Sacred Rock, from the elders on down to the foot soldiers, all clearly articulate that the fight to protect the waters of the Missouri River is not a selfish one, but a fight to protect these waters for the millions of people downstream, Indigenous and non, who depend on the river for drinking and agriculture. 
I spent the bulk of my time in Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) as a member of the Medic Council’s mental health team, where I was privileged to work one-on-one with water protectors carrying emotional and psychic wounds suffered in connection with actions during which a militarized police force used water cannons, tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades, an LRAD sound cannon, batons, and rubber bullets against peaceful, non-armed people acting to uphold Indigenous jurisdiction and Indigenous nation status. Even this work was grounded in water: our team was led by a Muskogee Creek elder who suffused all our meetings with water-centered prayer.  
Click here to read the rest of Salim's reflection.


~*~ From Lewis Brightheart Headrick ~*~
(Loveland, CO)

The Buddhist Chaplain online group posted a call for trauma trained chaplains to come to Standing Rock to support the veterans’ action in support of the water protectors at Oceti Sakowin camp. I rounded up my severe weather gear and headed out.

As we assembled at the Episcopal Church for our planning meeting, I asked permission of our courageous leader Michael Pipkin to offer an invocation/blessing.  I got everyone to stand up and told them all the importance of hanging on to one vital piece of information.  I got them to start clapping and led them in 3 rounds of Joe River's rousing dance: "Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused."  As a remedy for being too serious, it is sterling and efficacious.

Although it has been 20 years since I have done sweatlodge with prayers in Lakota, I found that I was able to catch on rather quickly to prayers shared around the sacred circle at camp. I credit this to a decade of practicing the Dances of Universal Peace with its singing short phrases in a variety of languages. Singing new languages and the Dance format have markedly improved my ability to chant along in a language that I do not know. (here's the part A, then a 3x repeat of part A and then 2x part B).

Click here to read the rest of BrightHeart's reflection.

Cannonball River at Oceti Sakowin
Social Media Intern Wanted! 

The board has long had a vision of having a "social media intern" to assist with our website content, Facebook page, and Twitter account. This person would work in consultation with the website team. What an incredible opportunity for community service, and should this person be a student, perhaps school credit could be earned!

If you are interested, please contact 

The Walking Meditations
of Samuel Lewis
We will be highlighting the Walks in our 2017 Newsletter. Each online issue will be dedicated to one aspect of these walking meditations, such as: practices of concentration, breath awareness, awareness of body centers (chakras), astrological yoga (planetary walks), elements and Tassawuri. 
Regarding the element water: it has a close affinity to yin, has a tendency to bow and bend, to curvilinear movements that promote grace, beauty, gentleness, loveliness and sympathy as well as sadness, pity and affection. Water movements are characterized by gentle step, light feet and agility. In Hazrat Inayat Khan's purification breath practices, the breath practice for water is inhalation through the nose, exhalation out the mouth, imagining a spring of water rising up the spine to the top of the head, then flowing out the crown center as a fountain. 
The Foundation Manual has an entire section on the Walks and more information on the water element can be found there. 
As we bring to an end the year of 2016, may we enter into the "new" year with infinite hope and resilience toward Peace and Unity. Consider that there is no mistake that we are blessed to be living on this planet, and at this time and place… it is a mystery, but we are called to Love, in whatever form that manifests. May your hearts be gladdened and may we celebrate our unity and determination toward Oneness in Love. Blessings and Happy Holidays!
If you have any contributions that you think would be of benefit to our community, including any haiku or photos please email them to

The Board and Staff
Dances of Universal Peace North America

In This Issue:

  1. Peace Dancers Reflect on Standing Rock & Mni Wiconi
  2. Holiday Card on its way
  3. Song of the Month: With my Feet Upon the Earth
  4. Video of the Month: I am Willing
  5. Gratitude for Donations
  6. Dances with an Attunement to Water
  7. Walking Meditations of Murshid SAM
  8. Dance Recording Project Help Needed
  9. Newly Certified Dance Leaders
  10. Upcoming Events
Song of the Month:

With My Feet Upon the Earth

originated by
Michael Sheehan

The words of this Dance are featured in our holiday card. Michael shares, "On the shore of Flathead Lake in Montana, a Native American spirit named Chief Brown Wolf appeared to me and gave me this dance. It brings awareness to our connection with the four elements: water, air, earth and fire (sunlight)." 
A Few Dances with an Attunement to Water:

The Ocean Refuses No River
Grandmother Ocean
Wishi Ta
E Malama
Fill Your Cup
River of Life 

also Mother Earth attunement:  

The Earth Is Our Mother

Mitakuye Oyasin

Beauty Way 

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Jen Friedman leading Holly Near's "I am Willing" Longmont Dance of Universal Peace
Video of the Month:

I am Willing

Jen Friedman leading a dance to the chorus of Holly Near's song
"I am Willing" in Longmont, CO.

Jen awoke two days after the presidential election with this gentle healing dance inspired by a renewed call and commitment toward wise and compassionate action for peace in our country and world.

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Ojibwe water carrier, Grandmother Mary Lyons, explains the significance of the water ceremony
Dance Recording Project Help Needed

We are seeking one, or more, people who enjoy recording music at events to contribute to our Song of the Month feature.  Rahmana has been the pipeline for music the past several years, and she has completed her service on the board.  We would like to keep the flow of music coming, as this is one of our most enjoyed highlights of the newsletter. 

Please contact Rahmana at if you can help.

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Gratitude for Donations

DUPNA would like to thank the following circles and events for their dana from their events and gatherings to help further the work of DUPNA and outreach of the Dances. May you be blessed in return! Ya Shakur!

Prescott, AZ Peace Dance and Sufi circle

Milwaukee, WI Dance circle

Longmont, CO Dance circle

Santa Cruz, CA Dance circle

Although the Holiday Card project is our main fundraiser, we appreciate donations from other sources.

Tithing from donations gathered at your dance circles or from one-time dance events has become an important donation stream for us since our organizational restructuring. 

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Newly Certified Dance Leaders

We send blessings to the newly certified leaders within our region. We bow in gratitude to their service and devotion, and in joy at their stepping forward to do this work! 

This month we bless...

Gaile Rahmana Sickel (Phoenix, AZ)
certified in June 2016

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Upcoming Events in Our Region

Global Peace Dance
Dec. 31, 2016
Salem, OR
Angela Gross


Dancing Hearts Winter Retreat
Jan. 13-16
Santa Barbara, CA

Alexandra Steinicke


Peace Dancer Quartzite Desert Rendezvous 2017
Jan. 15-22
Quartzite, AZ


Hawaii Winter Renewal
Jan. 27-29, 2017
Polestar, Hawaii

Amara Karuna


Save the Date:
Dance Retreat with Grace Marie
March 31-April 1
Nelson, British Columbia

Kabir McKinnon


Return to the Heart of the Dances
with Saadi and Tasnim
April 21-23
Tacoma, WA
Farishta Karen Lindsay


Wind Spirit Dance Camp
with Shivadam, Darvesha, and Bernie Skydrummer
April 27-30
Winkelman, AZ



Click Here to view and bookmark a complete listing of events at our One-Time Events calendar at the DUPNA website

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 New DUP logo banner for sale
New Logo Banners!

Many thanks to Lucinda Abbe for designing our new color scheme. These banners are hand batiked in Bali. If you would like to purchase one, please send a check for $40.00 to our office, DUPNA, PO Box 6372, Longmont, CO 80501

Please write "logo banner" in the Notes section on your check.
The Waters of Life are but the modes 
Of Love. The spring is Love’s inspiration; 
The stream is Love’s purification; 
The lake is Love’s meditation; and the 
Ocean is Love’s revelation. 
Copyright © 2016 Dances of Universal Peace North America, All rights reserved.

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