Reconnection Days



The Vinyard Indian Settlement celebrates Reconnection Days Saturday and Sunday at the settlement’s headquarters 1 mile north of Herod.

The festival celebrates the arrival of a band of Shawnee Natives who in 1809-10 fled what is now Ohio, being pursued by the colonial militia, according to a release from the VIS.  New research from the history of southwest Indiana records that their ancestors first crossed the Wabash River, then the Ohio into Kentucky and back into Illinois at Shawneetown in 1809 rather than 1810. Eventually, they took refuge in a region north of what is now known as Karber’s Ridge.


In September, 2010, the now Vinyard Indian Settlement celebrated the bi-centennial of that event with a Reconnection Day. After the initial Reconnection Day, the tribal council voted to make this an annual event.

For descendants of the Natives of Karber’s Ridge or of other indigenous refugees settling among those of the Vinyard Indian Settlement, Reconnection Days provides an opportunity to connect or reconnect. The VIS asks those with pictures, written or oral histories to bring and share them.


The events will begin at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday the 20th with numerous ltraditional crafts people conducting workshops and demonstrating basket weaving, stone tool-knapping, clay effigy construction and making and using the traditional blowgun. Food will be served throughout the day.

This year, on Sunday the 21st, the VIS will host a symposium:  FAITH AND CEREMONY with numerous guest presenters.  Issues to be discussed are listed in the following schedule. Daily events are free and open to the public


For more information or to leave a message, contact Vinyard Indian Settlement:


1027 State Hwy 34 South, Herod, IL 62947



The schedule, subject to change, is as follows:






Saturday, September 20, 2014                         


10:00 A.M. Descendants of VIS who are curious about their history and about membership in the VIS will bring photographs and any items that relate to the Vinyard Indian Settlement. Coffee, tea, spring water and snack foods will be served.


12:00 noon(or thereabouts): Traditional foods will be available throughout the day, and all in attendance are invited to eat.


1:00 P.M. “C” is a traditional, natural, land-fibers weaver and will demonstrate fiber techniques today.  She will have fibers on hand to conduct a workshop for those who are interested.  Her passion for weaving springs from her love for the land and the actual gathering of the fibers from the homelands of our ancestors.  “I want to see native plants from our area propagated here at VIS. Everything is a learning curve.” Her workshop will be ongoing throughout the afternoon.


2:00 P.M. Christine Wagner, also a VIS citizen, loves working with the varieties of  natural clays that she gathers here in our homelands. She shapes and models effigies of images within stone, wood and the earth itself.  “My hands in clay bring breath to my soul, images emerge, faces appear; some I have seen in stones, some are a part of the clay and appear as a gift to my soul. I speak through these images of clay. The breath of ancestors surrounds me and blesses this ability to give voices to these sculptures that will not be stilled.”


3:00 P.M. Peter Greene is a practitioner of traditional survival techniques and has been working many years with various outdoor companies sharing skills, such as flint-knapping, bow making, and teaching survival courses. “All people of the earth used these skills a long time ago. This represents to me a universal connection with all our ancestors, from a time that feels more pure than that in which we live today.“ Peter will be demonstrating flint-knapping techniques and showcasing Southern Illinois’ unique chert rock.  He will lecture and demonstrate knapping of many of the arrowhead, knife, and spear styles found historically throughout the Ohio Valley region.


4:00 P.M.  Mark Denzer will demonstrate traditional making and using of blowguns. Blowguns were used historically for small game hunting by most tribal communities of the SE region of what is now known as the United States. Mark is vested in the vision of land reclamation, cultural restoration, and traditional homeland knowledge. He spends his time learning native languages, native history, songs, wild-crafting, studying and working with today’s youth  Mr. Denzer is both Oklahoma Choctaw and a citizen of the Vinyard Indian Settlement. He is also a member of the New Tallahassee Green Corn Grounds, at Porch (Muskogee) Creek in Alabama. 

                                             (Song and Dance after dark)




1.  What is faith? Is it inherent in the consciousness of mankind or does it belong to specific religious doctrines? What happens when you die? Is it your faith that carries you across? If you are not born with faith, how does one acquire it? Does faith heal?


2. What is the purpose of ritual or ceremony. Is this how we manifest the “will of god or God or gods”? Does ceremony work? What happened with the Ghost Dance and other indigenous movements to save our homelands and the graves of our ancestors? Do we engage in the “wrong” ceremonies? Are there ceremonies existing that will protect our homelands and cultures? Are they necessary?


3. What does Christianity say about the destruction of the earth? Does the age old story of the Eagle and the Condor hold any relevance in today’s world? Are YHVH and Jeshua manifestations of faith, the creation of Hebrew tribal mythology, and how do people actually study the origins of religious thought and sift out the hardcore truth?


4. Truth and Theory. How are these manifested in the creation of colonial and religious history? How does religion weigh in with people who are born without conscience?


                                            LIST OF PRESENTERS:



RICK RAINING LIGHT ARROW WILLIAMS has been on a journey of Faith with his wife Phyllis Silver Cloud War Eagle Williams since 1997. In 2000, as a minister in the Assemblies of God, Creator spoke to him and his wife to step out and follow him. It was a choice of obedience and faith that has allowed them to walk with several people groups including Bikers, Native Americans and Messianic Jews.


“While walking this path we have come into some truths that have challenged a lot of what we thought we knew.  Along this path Creator’s son, Yeshua, the Chief of Chiefs, has been gracious to give us signs that we were walking the right path. Some of the signs for us have been the Regalia that we have been gifted and the gifting of our names. We have been very fortunate to have a lot of First Nations peoples whom Creator has placed in our lives to mentor us, help us follow him and to find out about the nations that flow thru our veins. I am a house of many nations with the blood of many nations running thru my veins. Yeshua, the one the Europeans call Jesus, has led us down a path, a path of faith;  by walking this way he has helped us to see that he has been misrepresented by the Church,  especially to First Nations peoples.  Creator sees things differently from us, has a Love that is so much greater than ours and has never given anyone a bad story. Just remember: A walk of faith doesn’t mean you know everything.  In many instances, you get to see how much you don’t know, what you can learn and the reason you must trust the Chief of Chiefs.”





MARSHA FORREST:   A woman of Mohawk ancestry who was born and raised on the Six Nations Reservation in Ontario, Canada, Marsha was encouraged by a large extended family to pursue her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. She maintained this life for forty years. Now, as a Health and Wellness Consultant, she supports people in ways to help them discover their own strengths and responsibilities for their well being and their environment. She holds the vision of a holistic view of health which finds the balance of the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental aspects of one’s own being as they grow toward their full potential. She believes every person has an opportunity to make a positive difference to others and our precious world, just by their willingness to be compassionate, respectful and loving.


“It has been fulfilling to continue to incorporate both western and complimentary techniques into my work. Some of the techniques include acupressure, reflexology, polarity therapy, massage and traditional healing practices. I have been taught by many Native Elders over the last thirty years and have been grateful to learn about the traditional teachings and ceremonies. I have been encouraged to share these teachings with others, and I continue do this with individuals or with groups.”



RENEE RICHARD TUMUKUMDE is a former Christian rapper-turned missionary to America. “Deep calls unto deep,” and Renee’s passion for the ministry of prayer birthed Camp 120, a group of young professionals back home in Uganda who have since 2010 been fasting and praying around the clock for revival and community transformation everywhere.  With an ability to multitask, Renee is evolving as a photographer and financial empowerment enthusiast--all for the glory of Christ. Renee has been married to Diane Kwezi Tumukunde for four years.



MARK DENZER  is both Oklahoma Choctaw and a citizen of the Vinyard Indian Settlement. He is also a member of the New Tallahassee Green Corn Grounds, at Porch (Muskogee) Creek in Alabama.  Mark delves deeply into the traditions of ancestors and finds both commonality and differences in all tribes as it is with all peoples who adhere to specific religions and ceremonies. He has concluded that the spiritual force is manifested in all those who still connect both spiritually and physically with the world around them and do not have to search, as in many religions, for what is obvious in the world that sustain, feeds and manifests ritual.













For further information and nightly rates, please click on the link below.


Or contact the Vinyard Indian Settlement Office at (618) 264-5909 for more information!  




















                                                                    primitive camping



                                                 traditional feast

     oral history




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