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Oneida Nation holds healing ceremonies in wake of deadly shooting

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 10:23 PM CDT
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ONEIDA, Wis. (WBAY) -The Oneida Nation is planning two healing ceremonies this week in the wake of the deadly shooting inside the Duck Creek restaurant at the Oneida Casino Complex.

The first ceremony will be held on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Casino Complex grounds for Nation members and employees of the complex.

“We say healing is a long journey, but it begins with that first step,” said Artley Skenadore, high school principal of the Oneida Nation School System.

Flags still fly at half-staff to honor those impacted by the shooting on Saturday.

Now, tribal leaders are using long standing traditions and tools to spread a message of healing.

“Our belief in our traditions is that tobacco is a gift that was given to us, and it was more or less, our messenger to the creators land, and to all of creation. In this particular case, this tobacco as we burn it tomorrow, is to send that message of how much encouragement we need,” said Skenadore.

Skenadore will be one tribal members presiding over the ceremonies, which includes smudging the entire Casino complex with sage and cedar. A cleansing tradition requested by employees.

“When we think of the scent of our Tobacco and the scent of our cedar and our sage is that those trigger memories for us, and on this day, the memory we want them to be reminded of is that we are encouraging them,” said Skenadore.

These traditions are carried not just times of crisis, but on a regular basis to uplift spirits and show how strong the community is when standing together.

“We want to uplift them, and we want them to once again feel that they are part of us all,” said Skenadore.

A community ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 8 at 9 a.m. on the Oneida Pow Wow grounds at N 7210 Seminary Road in Oneida.

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