Indian Tribes Exchange Gifts, Blessing in Ancient Ritual

By Daday, Eileen O. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 24, 1996 | Go to article overview

Indian Tribes Exchange Gifts, Blessing in Ancient Ritual


Daday, Eileen O., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Eileen O. Daday Daily Herald Correspondent

A Native American ritual "as old as the waters" played out Wednesday between leaders of two Indian tribes in the middle of downtown Arlington Heights.

Set against the backdrop of Native American fine art pieces displayed at the Tribal Expressions store, the two religious leaders exchanged gifts and blessings, in a symbolic beginning to relations between the two Indian nations.

It was an ancient, fossilized tooth from a cave bear - believed to be 80,000 years old - that was presented to Bear Boy, a religious leader and medicine man from the Ute Nation.

The gift was presented by Duke Joseph Big Feather Schallmo, a leader of the Two Feathers Medicine Clan, which is an amalgamation of Indian tribes that was formed in 1866 to protect sacred traditions, he said.

Two members of his clan on hand for the ceremony, Mike Blind Horse Sandberg and Thomas Shadow Bear Pecora, have two more giant teeth from the same bear.

"We want to welcome you as an extension of our family," Schallmo said to Bear Boy. "Let us put aside the war club and pick up the (peace) pipe."

Bear Boy lives among 4,000 members of the Ute Nation on the Uinta and Oray Reservation, located in northeastern Utah. He came to the Chicago area at the request of members of the Native American community here, to lead a series of spiritual talks and ceremonial gatherings.

He travels around the country, he said, in an effort to awaken people to the greater mysteries beyond their material goods. His message of being one with the world and with all of its creatures and creation is a dream handed down to him from his grandfather's grandmother. …

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