Courtesy Global Change Media
Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, will speak and lead ceremonies this weekend during a Purification Gathering in southern Arizona.

AIM Co-Founder Dennis Banks to Attend Purification Gathering in Arizona

Lee Allen

In unity there is strength. This is a concept slated to be demonstrated at the Times of the Purification Gathering on May 5 through 8 in southern Arizona.

“The Great Spirit has sent many Native elders to our spiritual restoration purification ceremonies since 2001,” said Gabriel of Urantia, leader of southern Arizona’s host site, Avalon Organic Gardens and Ecovillage, and the 120 Destiny Reservists/Change Agents there from around the world who currently work to bring global change to the planet.

Some of those who have been before will return this year to lead, including Dennis Banks (Anishinaabe/Ojibwa), co-founder of the American Indian Movement, Wendsler Nosie, Sr. (Apache), of the Save Oak Flat protest movement, and Native elders from several tribes.

The Purification Gathering is a coming together of speakers and storytellers, musicians and dancers, and brothers and sisters from the four corners of Mother Earth to recognize and remediate the troubled times we live in and prepare for survival in the troubled times that lie ahead.

“We are unified in the vision of making the world a better place,” said Gabriel. “People need to be more kind and compassionate to their brothers and sisters. That’s not happening now and we need to accept our differences and go forward with each other in a spirit of love and harmony, not animosity and hate. Many are caught in the 'I' mode rather than the 'we' concept where people become givers who want to serve humanity rather than just takers.”

The common thread of the gathering is a desire for a life of simplicity, integrity and harmony aligned with divine patterns of life on earth.

“A lot of people currently live in fear and a sense of hopelessness about all the Earth’s changes that are happening. We have hope for a new beginning, a new world, where Turtle Island inhabitants can survive the troubled times ahead. With a global ecological crisis already upon us, now more than ever it is imperative to pay attention to ancient warnings of Indigenous peoples whose traditional relationship with Mother Earth has made them the Earth guardians of the 21st century.”

The four sacred days will be filled with Indigenous music, ceremonies, drum circles, medicine wheels and opportunities to partake of sweat lodge ceremonies in a structure specially built for the event by Hopi Pipe Carrier Lawrence Namoki.

Banks, a Native American activist, author, lecturer and teacher, will conduct two of the evening sweat lodge ceremonies. “Entering the lodge is like going into the womb of Mother Earth and being born again,” Banks said. “When you come out, you have experienced a spiritual awakening, a life renewal that has given you positive ideas, fresh signals and a new commitment to friends, family and the planet we live on. It’s an enhancing ceremony.”

Banks, one of the Red Power movement participants in the occupation of Alcatraz Island years ago and an organizer of “The Trail of Broken Treaties” across the U.S. to Washington, D.C., is still at it. At age 79, he is halfway through a 3,000 mile Walk Across America, marching for an end to domestic violence and drug abuse and taking that message to every reservation and Native community on the way before presenting to Congress just how widespread those problems are in Indian Country.

For tickets or information on the spiritual gathering in Tumacacori, Arizona, go to or call (520) 398 2542.

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