Coals from two Sacred Fires, one in Sisseton, SD and the other in Fort Berthold, ND, were carried to the Cheyenne River Reservation and used to start another Sacred Fire next to the Old Agency building.
The fire, said Toni Handboy, will burn for 28 days. Its purpose is to heal and unite the CRST community against destructive forces such as the meth epidemic.
“The fire has already helped some people receive healing,” Handboy said.
Several people staying at the Old Agency Homeless Shelter have agreed to begin treatment for addictions, Handboy explained.
Joe Brings Plenty, police officer and Wolves’ Den Boxing coach, worked with Handboy to organize the fire, and Chairman Harold Frazier wrote a letter of support for their efforts.
This past Monday, Brings Plenty and his boxers collected wood and brought it to the fire, which Handboy said was a major concern of hers, as the wood was getting low.
“I realized that this is a big commitment,” Handboy said.
After the wood was unloaded, a handful of men and women stood around the fire singing prayer songs and praying for women in the community.
The sacred fire is available for anyone to visit. A tobacco offering and a prayer next to the fire is all that one needs, and Handboy has been keeping tobacco on hand for visitors to use.
Handboy said she hopes that everyone can put aside their differences and disputes and come sit around the fire.
Even though Handboy was initially concerned about food and wood, when Brings Plenty and his crew brought the wood, and the food was served, she said that with prayer, she must trust that there will be people to step up and provide what is needed to keep the sacred fire burning.
Since prayer knows no boundaries, all people of any spiritual preference, are welcome and encouraged to join the circle around the sacred fire, Handboy explained.
It will burn until Jan. 28.