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Native Americans Hold Memorial Service

By Stan Stelter

Bismarck, ND – About 100 Native Americans and others gathered last night for a special memorial service at the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck.

The service combined traditional Indian ceremonies and prayers -- remembering those who've died in Tuesday's terrorist attacks and those who need healing. Carol Walker -- a United Tribes faculty member -- was among those attending the ceremony. She says there were prayers at many levels:

"As a Native American people who have spirituality what we wanted to do was offer prayers to the creator and for prayers for the families who lost people in both Washington, D.C. and New York and also prayers for our young men and young women that are being called upon now. We also wanted to offer our prayers to our mothers, our sisters but especially our mothers because they their sons and daughters going out you know they're going to be scare and apprehensive."

The traditional ceremony was led by John Beheler, a Yanktonai Sioux, who says he's a helper for traditional ceremonies.

All of those attending participated in a smudging ceremony led by Russell Gillette, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes:

(N-Heal-1B :24 "to get strength.")

"So what we are trying to do, we use our sage, our sweetgrass, and our smudges as well as tobacco and see what we do, we set these prayers off to the creator and so doing we're getting spiritual help here and take care of things here. All of creation is out of God and so we go to him to get strength."