In native tongues and American Indian regalia – with a drum, teepee and First Nations flags – elders, youth and young adults joined voices in prayer, worship and forgiveness for three days at an annual gathering in Washington D.C. of indigenous people from across North America, China, Africa, India and more.
For the first time in United States history, an Indian teepee became a house of prayer on the National Mall mid-way between the Washington monument and the Capitol building for All Tribes D.C.’s fourth gathering Nov. 7-9 in the nation’s capital. The theme, “Arise and Build,” comes from Nehemiah 2:19-20.
Erected by a New Yorker whose mother is full-blooded Algonquin Indian from Canada, the teepee stood for three days next to David’s Tent, a round-the-clock worship ministry spanning the U.S. that shared its spot on the mall with All Tribes D.C. for eight hours on Friday.
Tribes too many to mention came by airplane, bus, van and car to worship and pray at David’s Tent on land maintained by the National Park Service.
A leader of All Tribes D.C., Dr. Negiel Bigpond, encouraged people to pray and prophecy inside the teepee during the day of worship and proclamation next door in David’s Tent, focusing on forgiveness of injustices against native people.
At the conclusion of “Arise and Build,” Bigpond said he saw fresh evidence of All Tribes’ fruitfulness by gathering in D.C .
“As far as the victorious completion, we accomplished historical things,” said Bigpond, a pastor, president and co-founder of a church and related ministries in Oklahoma.
“What I was seeing during the whole day was healing of people,” said Bigpond. “The tribes coming together – by that I mean all nations – speaking their languages. That’s healing whether it be Chinese, Japanese, African-Americans or Spanish.”
Watch All Tribes D.C. at David’s Tent on the National Mall here:
Jewish people, the nation of Israel and the Hebrew language were celebrated, too.
Coinciding with All Tribes’ event in November, observance of the Native American Heritage Month was changed from October in 2019, and the United Nations declared it the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
“What you had was a sound system of languages.
“We released the cry of a variety of languages, producing healing in our youth and among our elders,” said Bigpond, emphasizing the importance of respect among generations of people.
Besides languages, the drum united people as a significant symbol for natives and another source of healing for them. “The drum has a role in that process, so I feel good about it,” Bigpond said.
The elders didn’t mind when a band of young adults from New Mexico – who respectfully referred to them as fathers and mothers – led worship with modern instruments, including drums and cymbals.
“I feel relieved. I feel good. I feel victory and generosity looking around at people who played a role in this event,” said Bigpond, who turned 70 on Nov. 7, the day All Tribes arrived in D.C. from across the U.S. and Canada.
An Euchee Indian, Bigpond experienced two other historic events earlier in the year. He was the first Native American to pray at the National Day of Prayer in May, and Bigpond attended the Presidential Prayer Breakfast where President Donald Trump spoke in February.
“These are moments – very powerful moments – that have never happened,” said Bigpond, who prayed in his native tongue for the nation he loves at the National Day of Prayer, blessing leaders and citizens.
When he’s invited to speak at a future prayer breakfast with the president – yet another first for a Native American – Bigpond will release a sacred blessing over his “homeland” as he did at the National Day of Prayer.
An author, Bigpond is writing a letter to President Trump, reminding him that in 2016 All Tribes gathered in D.C. to release an unconditional and unsolicited declaration of forgiveness, an act Bigpond believes was key to the president’s victory.
“I released a prophecy from Crazy Horse who said the Red Nation will rise again,” said Bigpond, whose letter to the president probably will include those words.
On election night leading to President Trump’s unexpected victory, Bigpond watched television with millions of Americans as maps of the nation turned red.
“So somehow that will be in the letter in a way that’s readable, feasible and touching to the heart of a man,” Bigpond said.
The forgiveness proclamation and Crazy Horse prophecy are “bits and pieces” Bigpond is writing into his letter. “We don’t have it but we’re working on it,” said Bigpond, who hopes the letter and his request leads to a face-to-face meeting with the president.