ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wiconi hosts 4th Annual Mni Wiconi Wacipi
Gathering to lift up the name of Jesus using indigenous cultural expressions

By Jim Uttley
Special to ASSIST News Service
Dancers celebrating Jesus

TURNER, OREGON (ANS) -- This summer, Native Americans and others will come from different parts of North America to the Aldersgate Conference Center in Turner, Oregon, to celebrate, strengthen families, enjoy friendships, support Native communities and be encouraged in the spiritual journey in the Jesus Way.

Richard Twiss

Wiconi International is honored to host its 4th Annual Mni Wiconi Wacipi “Living Waters Powwow” and Family Camp. From July 31 to August 3, 2008, hundreds will gather together to lift up the name of Jesus, celebrate and worship Him using indigenous cultural expressions.

“Our purpose is to create an environment of love, honor and respect,” says Wiconi President Richard Twiss, “where Jesus is honored in the midst of cultural diversity and Native expressions.”

In addition to the fellowship, national speakers, and activities, we will have a special youth event on Friday morning. This year the "Ropes Course" will be offered during Friday Afternoon Free Time for all who are interested! And again we'll enjoy a Family Talent Night on Friday.

Enjoying freedom through dance

Friday night will be “Talent Night” with skits, songs, storytelling, rapping, poetry readings, dancing, drumming and worshiping together. It was such a hit that it is now a fixed part of our annual gathering.

M.C. Pastor Vincent Yellow Old Woman

“Like last year, we will celebrate the abundant life we have in Christ as First Nations people in a cultural, joy-filled way in an inter-tribal traditional powwow,” Twiss states.  Vincent Yellow Old Woman from Siksika, Alberta, and Bryan Brightcloud, from Los Angeles will serve as Masters of Ceremonies. Casey Church from Albuquerque will be our Head dancer along with Nicole Yellow Old Woman as our Head Lady Dancer. The Arena Director this year will be Bill Gowey from Flagstaff, Arizona.

Native drum groups are coming from throughout the West and many dancers are expected. The powwow is free and a dinner will be served Saturday evening. The community is invited.

The Living Waters Family camp is open to all ages. There is also a limited number of full and partial scholarships available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The camp begins Thursday, July 31 at 4:00 p.m. with check-in and dinner and ends Sunday at 12:00 p.m. with brunch.

There is a cost for food and lodging and there are four levels that people can choose from at different prices.  All prices include lodging and eight meals. A $125 deposit is required per family unit and $75 for single adults.

For more registration information, please call the Wiconi International office at 360-546-1867 or go to and click on the “Family Camp” button.  Registrations need to be in no later than July 15, 2008. After July 15, deposits are non-refundable. Once your registration is received, someone will contact you to arrange specific lodging assignments. Availability is on a first-come/first serve basis.    

Jim Uttley, Communications Coordinator for Wiconi International, is also the editor of INDIAN LIFE ( and serves as Native American News correspondent for ASSIST NEWS SERVICE.

You can E-mail him at: You can write to him at Wiconi International, P.O. Box 5246, Vancouver, WA 98668 or Indian Life, P.O. Box 32, Pembina, ND 58271. Jim lives with his wife Jan in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. They have three grown children and two grandsons.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.