Illinois man aims to keep Native tradition alive

Peoria, Illinois (AP) April 2011

A central Illinois man hopes to keep a Native American tradition alive for future generations.

James Hayden is a member of Spirit of the Rainbow Singers, a group from several Native American tribes.

The Peoria Journal-Star reports the group took part in a Bison Grounds Blessing Ceremony at Wildlife Prairie State Park.

The ceremony involves the use of herbs to protect against evil influence, smoking a peace pipe and singing traditional Lakota songs.

Hayden says he’s concerned that the ritual and others like it wouldn’t continue because they’re not practiced frequently. He believes they’re not being passed down from parents to children and worries they may be gone in a few years.

Hayden of Pekin hopes to teach his son the tradition.