For over five years now, Sacred Circles Institute has been providing its year-long, cross-cultural, earth-based spirituality home study course, "Walking the Sacred Wheel" to Native American women and men in prisons throughout the United States. We send the monthly lessons as a "give-away" to all those who request the course and are unable to pay for it. In return, we ask prisoners to send stamps, poetry, drawings, tobacco, and jewelry as a gift back to the Institute.
Since 1995, several hundred prisoners in over 60 U.S. prisons have received these materials. Currently we are mailing these teachings to over 100 inmates. In addition, we answer many personal questions pertaining to the prisoners' spiritual path and practices.
The response to the lessons has been heart-warming, and at times, somewhat heart-wrenching. John, one of several in a Native Council of prisoners from an East Coast "Iron House" recently wrote, " We were in a mess before we became acquainted with you and the teachings of the many folks who contribute their expertise in the lessons. We've become focused (as a diverse group of Native Americans from many different Nations), which is the hardest feat to accomplish in a prison environment). You would have to witness this yourself to know the difference that Sacred Circles has made in the lives of these men. The teachings have been an anchor in reality among all the chaos within these walls. So I say, 'Pilamaya' (thank you), 'Kola' (friend), and may your footsteps be light."
We want to continue to offer this course, at no cost, to all prisoners who request it. It costs us a little over $5 per month, per prisoner, for printing and postage, plus many hours of volunteer help to respond to the personal correspondence. There are also direct costs for materials to make rattles, feathered fans, drums, medicine bags and other ceremonial objects to send to them. We also mail used and new books to them through a special fund that has been created at Vision Quest Educational Center and Bookstore in Everett, Washington. (Please go to Sacred Supplies and Provisions on the Journey on the Circle Resources page of this website for examples of the items sent).
Thus, we are asking for your help so that we can continue to provide these lessons and the "personal touch" that is so important to our prison brothers and sisters during this next year. You are invited to send a check, money order, or VISA/MC number and expiration date to:
Sacred Circles Prison Fund
P.O. Box 733
Mukilteo, WA 98275
($60 will support one prisoner for a whole year). We can also bill your VISA or MasterCard for $5 to $25/month if you prefer. Any amount will help. (You can access our quarterly newsletter by clicking on "THE HOOP" which contains prisoners' poetry, letters, and other activities of Sacred Circles).
Your personal prayers in the prisoner's behalf, as they learn to walk in a new way, even in the midst of such formidable odds, will also help immeasurably.
If you have any questions about this project, the lessons, or other aspects of the Institute, please email us at sacredcircles.org.
All our blessings and thank you in advance.