Many Winters Gathering of Elders to Offer Traditional Teachings
by Greg Foisie
The Gathering of Elders Committee announces the revival of the annual Many Winters Gathering of the Elders taking place October 12th -15th, 2017. The last gathering was held 10 years ago in 2007.
This four day event will be held at Angels Gate Cultural Center, 3601 South Gaffey Street in San Pedro, California 90731. The event will be held between Thursday, Oct 12th at 10:00 AM PDT and Sunday, October 15th at 7:00 PM PDT.
George Funmaker shared specifics about the upcoming Many Winters Gathering of Elders in an interview with Change-Links. He first mentioned the Many Winters Gathering of Elders is free to the public. The purpose of the gathering is to bring together traditional elders in order to educate all peoples.
This event is considered a gift of traditional Indian teachings. Such presentations are rare. It is a unique opportunity for anyone sincerely interested in learning traditional Indian teachings to come and participate in a good way.
The Many Winters Gathering of Elders is not a social activity, but more of a ceremony. It follows ceremonial protocol (no drugs, no alcohol, no taking of pictures/videos unless approved, etc.) that will be enforced, yet it is open to everyone.
George mentioned this event has the blessing of the Tongva – the first peoples of the region now called Los Angeles. Tongva elders will be present at the gathering. Elders from other local tribes including Chumash, Tataviam, Ajachemem and Cahuilla will be represented and are invited to share.
The Many Winters Gathering of Elders began in 1992. It was started by George’s father, John Funmaker, in response to the so-called “500 years of discovery” of the Americas. The gathering is a presentation to Native and general populations regarding the fact that indigenous tribes are still here. “The gathering presents and educates non-Native peoples about the on-going existence of our languages, ceremonies, and cultures. We are here – we are contemporary people,” said George. Indian peoples are not relics of the past and they are not the mascot images that society makes them out to be.
“It is a crucial time to let our elders’ voices be heard and to have Native teachers share their teachings during catastrophic global warming, climate change, and their accompanying massive hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires and other climate disruptions. Native peoples suggest these upheavals are increasing in scope and severity because we are not taking care of Mother Earth the way our ancestors did.”
George stated that organizers hope the Many Winters Gathering of Elders will serve to inspire and motivate young people to organize and be active in Los Angeles in the same way that the water protectors at Standing Rock moved thousands. He noted that John Funmaker made a proclamation during the first Many Winters Gathering of Elders in 1992 to make Columbus Day into Native American Peoples Day. The City of Los Angeles recently voted to have Columbus Day turned into Indigenous Peoples Day commencing 2018.
Those supporting the Many Winters Gathering of Elders have made the traditional commitment to continue the event for the next years, and they hope it grows larger every succeeding year.
An upcoming, official benefit for the gathering offered by Sister Para Existir is listed on the gathering’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ManyWintersGatheringofElders/ as a post, titled:
The Art of Growing Food: Benefit Event to be held Saturday, October 7th, 2017 starting at 10:00 AM PDT at 2538 ½ Eastlake Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90031 Admission on a sliding scale from $15-$45. You’ll learn how to:
– Grow your own backyard compost and worm compost
– Grow your own veggies, medicinal herbs and berries in containers
– Practice environmentally conscious and organic techniques
– Identify and create microclimates
– Get involved with Many Winters Gathering of Elders
A wish list cited on one gathering link included “woman/man power *Kitchen: serving, cooking, preparing food *Parking: guiding traffic … *Wood for fire *Blankets for sweat lodge *Food, cutlery, paper plates/cups (no Styrofoam or plastic please) *Water.” We want to be mindful of our Mother Earth, and encourage everyone to bring their own eating utensils.
Please support the gathering through the Go Fund Me site: https://www.gofundme.com/help-us-bring-the-elders-together
All who are interested may email GatheringofElders92@gmail.com for more details.