His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama returns to Chicago

By Kimberlie Acosta (July 2011)
Chicago, Illinois (NFIC)

In 1893 the first Parliament of World Religions was held in Chicago, Illinois – not represented were the Native Americans, who at that time were being persecuted in this country. One hundred years later, on August 27, 1993, in Chicago, Ojibwe spiritual leader, Archie Mosay gave the opening prayer for the 2nd Parliament of World’s Religions, which he dedicated to the Dalai Lama and prayed one day he hoped that the Dalai Lama would be able to go home to Tibet, which he had been exiled from since 1959.
Archie (Niibagiizhig) shared a deep connection with the Dalai Lama, in that he too as a small child was born to lead his people. At a young age, he learned his language, culture and religion. Living up to the title he inherited – Grand Chief of the St. Croix Band of Ojibwe, from his father Mike Mosay, Archie went on to live a long life passing his knowledge down generation to generation.

Then on July 29, 1996, Archie Mosay passed away at the age of 94. In honor of his memory the Archie Mosay, Ojibwe spiritual leaderstaff here at News From Indian Country and IndianCountryTV.com  sent a request which was granted to go and cover the Dalai Lama’s current visit to Chicago.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet returned to Chicago for two public events to expand on the ideas set forth in his book “Toward a True Kinship of Faiths.”  

On July 17th, over 8,000 people showed up for his public talk entitled “Bridging the Faith Divide” at the University of Illinois, Chicago Pavillion. The talk featured artwork devised from an interfaith collaboration of 12 faiths including; Christian, Baha’ism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American religion, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism and  Zoroastrianism.
Representing the Native American Religion was the American Indian Center of Chicago and their assignment was designing the Baha'i 9-point star as they interpret their symbolism and faith.   The sculpture committee from Am Shalom Temple of the Jewish faith had the assignment of designing the Mother Earth symbol as they interpret Native culture.

The sculptures were unique interpretations of the symbolic images for each of the world religions. In addition, each sculpture incorporated a live sapling or plant that was to capture the Dalai Lama’s metaphor of a tree watered by many different sources – the tree resembles the human soul while the water represents the different spiritual traditions that can sustain and nurture it.

Then on July 18th, at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Dalai Lama was joined by Rabbi Michael Lerner, Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Rev. Peg Chemberlin, in a panel discussion entitled “Building Bridges: Religious Leaders in Conversation with the Dalai Lama,” which was attended by a sold-out crowd of 1500 people.

IndianCountryTV.com was one of only a handful of media allowed to cover the July 18th event. To be there among such divine spiritual beings brought me back to a time sitting in Archie Mosay’s home, listening to his soft spoken words... feeling the gentleness in his tone. I never thought there would be anyone else who could bring such peace in my heart when they spoke, until being in that room with the Dalai Lama. He held that same soft spokenness... same  gentle tone, with words that lifted your spirit and brought a smile to your heart.

Yes, truly Archie Mosay and the Dalai Lama were cut from the same cloth... born to lead their people... to spread messages of peace, love and acceptance of all.

To watch the complete rebroadcast of the July 18th, “Building Bridges: Religious Leaders in Conversation with the Dalai Lama,” go to IndianCountryTV.com or at Building Bridges: Religious Leaders in Conversation with the Dalai Lama (TV)