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Native American Medicine and Ceremony

The Prayer Tie Ceremony

Two Feathers Medicine Clan Fire Keeper Mike Milewski leads Native American Prayer Tie Workshops and Ceremonies.  Mike's teachers are from different Native American tribes and traditions and he honors all of them by offering his knowledge of Prayer Ties and helping those who are interested to make Prayer Ties and participate in a Prayer Tie Ceremony.  


The current round of Prayer Tie Workshops and Ceremonies Mike is leading makes use of Prayer Tie materials given to him by   one of his teachers Star Eagle (Rudy Congers) a medicine man White Mountain Apache from the Pima tribe who walked on two years ago.  Rudy was taken from his parents as a child and brought to a boarding school to learn how to be an American.  It took Rudy decades to find his parents and sister and reconnect with his family legacy of medicine people.  Not surprisingly, Rudy had become a nurse in the Navy during the Vietnam War and he combined his knowledge of nursing with the knowledge he gained in learning from his family the ways of medicine people. Usually Pipe Carriers from different tribes and others are present  to assist in these ceremonies. 

Prayer ties were made at Galaudet Gallery by Eau Claire community members during three separate Prayer Tie Ceremony events.  This fourth event concludes the prayer tie ceremony by burning the prayer ties in a ceremonial fire with words said, music and more prayer.  Everyone is invited to come and experience this wonderful ceremony.

Mike Milewski is a member of the Two Feathers Medicine Clan and a distinguished fire keeper for the All My Relations Sundance held each July in Southern Illinois. Fire Keepers work 24 hours during the Sundance Ceremony to keep the ceremonial fire burning, to heat the grandfather stones for each sweat lodge ceremony, to keep the drummers’ drums taunt and to attend to people who need assistance with fire medicine.  Mike has been fortunate to learn from two respected elders, one of them Rudy Conger (Star Eagle) was a White Mountain Apache Medicine Man whose prayer tie materials have been used during these ceremonies after the appropriate amount of time elapsed after Rudy had walked on. These four ceremonies, three to create the prayer ties and the fourth to burn them, have been held to honor Rudy’s medicine and teaching.


Prayer ties are colored cotton cloth with tobacco tied inside which are connected by a string and placed on a ceremonial tree or bush for nature to contribute prayers to the ties.  Sometimes prayer ties are left up for years, allowing nature to choose which prayers are heard, by untying the prayer ties, and which prayers need more prayer.   But for the Sundance Ceremony the prayer ties the Sundancers and other participants create are burned when the ceremony ends to send their prayers and sacrifices into the universe.  Mike has been following this ceremony throughout these events and will burn the prayer ties from these ceremonies on November 5, 2016.


Simply showing others how to make Prayer Ties is a ceremony in itself but Mike also enters into the ceremonial space to conduct the Prayer Tie Ceremony.  During his workshop and ceremony you will learn: 

  • How to make a Prayer Ties using materials provided by medicine man Star Eagle

  • The history and symbolism of Prayer Ties, Ceremonial Smudging, the Native American Sundance and information about the Prayer Tie Ceremony 

  • How to make a Spirit Knot

  • The Prayer Tie Ceremony:

    •  Gathering your materials

    • Smudging

    • Setting Right Intention

    • Putting your prayers into the tobacco and cloth

    • Tying your Prayer Tie so Spirit can access 

    • Tying your Prayer Tie to a natural power place outside


Mike Milewski at Dawn

Mike's current Prayer Tie Ceremonies will conclude during the New Moon on November 5, 2016 when the Prayer Ties made will be burned to release the prayers into the world through smoke.  Sometimes Prayer Ties are left outside for nature to do as she chooses with them; Mike has decided to burn cedar boughs and send these prayers further into the world with smoke and wind carrying them.

Learning about Native American ceremonies and other areas that interest you can be seen as recovering the Power of the Light. There is a story told by the Indians about a luminary creature which brought the tradition of the Light to the Indians many years ago. It helped the Indians to let the Light of the spirit, the Light of the life to shine from the hearts on the way to the others. The function of the modern medicine men today is to bring the Light not only to the individuals but also to the Mother Earth.


To know the Way of the Light means to have also an inner tradition. It is said the inner tradition was given not only to the Indians but to a rainbow mixture of men and women of all nations as well. Each person has its own inner tradition. To find the Light inside, the tradition and the peace means to quiet down inside and accept your intuition and the gifts you have that only need to have a light shone upon them.

Mike Milewski is co-owner of Galaudet Gallery and an award winning carpenter, President of the Memorial Nature Fund and an accomplished artist.  Mike is a member of the Two Feathers Medicine Clan.



Galaudet Gallery

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