20th Red Road Gathering begins Thursday, Sept. 17 in Vermillion

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The 20th annual Red Road Gathering, “Transitions and Transformations: Embracing our greatest potentials!” begins Sept. 17 at the National Guard Armory in Vermillion.

The two day Red Road Gathering provides a compassionate and supportive environment through culturally-based information and activities for the participants. Additionally, the activities are used to de-stress, network and heal as each day starts with a Prayer Walk at 7 a.m.

This year's Gathering includes presentations by authors and renowned speakers and practitioners of complementary and holistic medicine from the United States and Canada, including a healing village. Intertribal Native American drum groups Wase Wakpa Community, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Menominee Nation of Wisconsin will provide honoring and traditional songs.

Among the naturalistic approaches for "walking in balance" during the Red Road Gathering, this will be the fourth year of the reading of United States and coalition casualties from Operation Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. The names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan will be recited along with the names of journalists killed since the conflict began. The Killed in Action and Missing in Action roll from the Vietnam era of South Dakota Veterans is also recited.  Among the readers of the roll are students, staff and faculty from USD as well as friends and families of those killed or missing in action. The roll call starts as members of the nations attending the gathering carry the Wase Wapka Eagle Staff, the United States flag and colors of the Lakota Nation.

For more information, including an agenda, or to register, please contact Kathy Husby, USD Alcohol and Drug Studies Department, (605) 677-5386. A photo of Don Emick, a World War II Navy Veteran, reading the names of journalists, U.S. and Coalition fatalities from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts during last year’s Gathering is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Red_Road.jpg.