The Kateri Tekakwitha Peace Conference began in 1998 with the Prisoners of Conscience Interfaith Pilgrimage to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas. The first two years were actually pilgrimages to close the now infamous U.S. Army School of the Americas/WHINSEC at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The pilgrimages began at the National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda, New York and walked to the Capital in Albany. In 1999 a large rally was held at the Capital with many notable speakers including Bishop Howard Hubbard, Chief Jake Swamp and others. More inside . . . .
The early conference history was not archived and some of it has been lost although we still are in hopes of recovering most of it.
A partial listing of our conference titles and speakers is as follows:
- Preparing Fertile Fields: An Indigenous Rights Conference and Concert
- Featuring: Chief Jake Swamp*, Luis Yat and Strong Turtle Drum*
- Indigenous Peoples Under Siege
- Featuring: Luis Yat and Ed Kinane
- Ethics, Truth and Terrorism: A Closer Look at America’s Role Featuring: Laura MacDonald, Cynthia Banas and Connie Houde
- Creating Peace In A World At War
- Featuring: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and Kathy Kelly
- Some people think there will always be war, that war is inevitable, an outcome of our flawed human nature. Others say things will never change, become resigned and give up. To the first group, we offer this challenge. The outcome of your experience is the product of your beliefs and actions. We have the ability to choose. We have the ability to discern. We live in a cause- and -effect universe. Subsequently we determine the quality of our lives and the quality of the world we live in. Finally the only change we need to make is subjective. It is within our hearts and minds, so very close to home. It is possible! We can make these changes!
- To the second group, we say that to be resigned and give up is to acknowledge evil as your master. Clearly that is a poor choice and clearly there are positive, life affirming alternatives. Our keynote speakers are wonderful examples of what can be accomplished when the heart and mind are unified, when actions taken are for the common good, when the individuals dare to be compassionate, are willing to listen and to act with humility and empathy.
- A Call to Conscience: Finding Our Way in A Troubled Time
- Featuring Colleen Kelly, Blase Bonpane and Bill Quigley
- The Convergence of Hope and History: Sustainable Solutions For A Peaceful World
- Featuring Jim Merkel and Jim Jennings
- The capacity for hope is one of the most sustaining and helpful qualities of the human spirit. Even when the world looks bleakest, history is replete with ordinary men and women who still find cause for hope. Courageously stepping forward, humanity continues its journey toward wisdom and understanding, toward compassion and love, bringing into being this meeting of Hope and History.
- This year’s conference is dedicated to sustainable solutions for restoring our land and renewing our spirit. We will discuss sustainable solutions for our energy needs and how to live simply.
- We will consider what constitutes a workable government and a responsible citizenry, and how our spiritual values and individual initiative can carry us forward to a time of peace, sustainable prosperity and compassion.
- Hope & Resistance: Transforming the Course of History Featuring Stephen Eric Bronner and Fr. Louis Vitale OFM
- Nurturing Peace: The 10th Anniversary Kateri Tekakwitha Peace Conference Featuring: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Colonel (ret.) Ann Wright
- Harnessing the Winds of Change
- Featuring: Bruce R. Hare, Lawrence Davidson, Janet Amighi and Joanne Sheehan
A Question of Balance?
Is our 21st century society effective? Sustainable? A success? Economies are collapsing and workers are losing their jobs. The sum of the parts no longer seems to be a whole. The earth is experiencing both man-made and natural disasters, oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico, erupting fire and ash in Iceland. War and earthquakes have destroyed cities both near and far. Many of us yearn for peace, security and a sense of well being, yet find ourselves frustrated wondering how balance might be achieved, how harmony might be realized.
This year’s peace conference, “A Question of Balance?” is attempting a synthesis of right brain and left brain activities and understanding. Coupling traditional lectures on current political issues with workshops on inner exploration and self growth (some based on the work of Joanna Macy) along with a Tibetan gong vibrational bath, we hope the day will be trans-formational, providing a new heartfelt understanding of the world we live in and our place in it.
To be continued . . . .