Manataka American Indian Council
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If you would like your wedding ceremony officiated by a licensed American Indian Spiritual Elder
Fill out this questionnaire. You should have a firm date and location before completing this form.
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND HELPFUL INFORMATION BELOW BEFORE YOU COMPLETE THIS FORM.
*Denotes Required Fields
MAIC does not arrange transportation and wedding services such as catering, floral, wedding attire rentals, printing, media announcements, or honeymoon. MAIC arranges ceremony officials and witnesses at no fee. Your personal wedding counselor will contact you about the details of the most important day in your life.
Elders do not charge for ceremonies. It is acceptable to make a contribution to MAIC for its volunteer services, however, it is not required. Hand-made gifts for your officiating elder is always appreciated.
Ceremonies on the Sacred Manataka Mountain:
No permit is required. Good walking shoes are required and most areas are not accessible by a wheelchair. 15 minutes brisk walking distance.
Ceremonies at the National Park Fire Circle or Amphitheater:
These locations are recommended only for large wedding parties, however, It is not required for the ceremony to take place at either of these locations.
The National Park Service requires a Special Use Permit to be completed in advance of the planned date. A non-refundable application fee applies ranging from $50 for a two-hour event to $100 for a four-hour event. Call the National Park Service and send the application and the fee early to reserve a date and time. The fee only applies to the ceremony only and does not cover campsite fees. There will be an additional fee if electricity is required. Call Hot Springs National Park at 501-623-2824. You may print off a copy of the permit application and send it to the address shown on the application. MAIC cannot perform this task for you. NPS Special Use Permit
Note: The current Hot Springs National Park Superintendent discourages American Indian religious ceremonies. Some services are not available inside the boundaries of the National Park. No special use permits required outside the boundaries of the National Park.
Lodging: Motels, hotels, condos, lake cabins are available and prices vary. Call the Hot Springs Visitors and Convention Bureau 800-543-2284 for a visitor packet or log on to http://www.hotsprings.org/
Photographer: MAIC can arrange for a professional photographer to the be present. You are responsible for finalizing the arrangements and payment for this service. An experienced Manataka photographer is available at $75 using your camera and film. The best way is to have a friend or relative take pictures.
Ceremonial Assistants -- Singers / Drummers / Dancers: It is customary to have at least two singers and drummers in regalia to perform traditional songs during the ceremony. At least two ceremonial assistants are required to insure your ceremony goes smoothly. They also serve a double role as drummers and singers performing during ceremonies. Our drummers/singers know all the old wedding songs and perform them beautifully. Our singers also play an Indian flute, but it may be necessary to consider hiring someone local. Arrangements must be made in advance. Fees vary according to the date and time, but generally range between $100 and $175 each.
Manataka Elders are licensed to perform ceremonies in all states and some foreign countries. Travel, lodging and food expense is the responsibility of the wedding party. It is customary for the officiating elder to require the services of one or two assistants.
Music Performers / Ceremonial Assistants:
Transportation / Lodging / Food: We ask the wedding party to cover these costs. We require transportation and lodging confirmation numbers and details to be emailed before we can confirm the date for you.
Transportation: Compare the cost of flying verses renting a car for the time needed for travel and ceremonies. Please consider the distance between Manataka and your ceremony location.
Ground Transportation: A premium car large enough to hold three people, drums, a large amount of ceremonial items and luggage is needed.
Lodging: Only one room with two-double beds is needed. Staying in a private home is acceptable.
Other Items: Arrangements for all other items such as floral decorations, wedding regalia, blankets, wedding bowels and vases, travel, and personal gifts are the responsibility of the couple and their families.
Deposits: Go to http://www.manataka.org/page201.html to submit deposits for the services. Wedding ceremonies are confirmed only after a deposit has been made. Scroll down to the Wedding Deposit payment button and complete the simple form.
Ceremony: If you decide to perform the Blanket
Ceremony, you will need two blue blankets (not cut from the
same cloth) and one white blanket. Blankets can be
Indian-made or manufactured.
the names, ages and relationship to the wedding couple so we
can print them in the Wedding Booklet.
When the date of the ceremony is confirmed, email the date and time to begin Marriage Counseling sessions:
Groom will call for telephone session: Date: ______________ Time: _____________
Bride will call for telephone session: Date: ______________ Time: _____________
Both will call for telephone session: Date: ______________ Time: _____________ (speaker phone if possible)
Manataka requires a marriage license to perform ceremonies. We understand that some couples feel "a piece of paper" does not make a good marriage and this is true, but we are bound to follow civic laws and the Creator's wishes.
Learn about marriage license laws in your state: http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/
Age Requirements for Arkansas
Groom appears at the tipi wedding lodge with elders. Elders inquire as to his ability and favor to be married. He shows gifts prepared for the ceremony. Elders give permission for the ceremony to be conducted.
Bride and her entourage gather in the forest to begin the wedding procession.
Elders smudge ceremony circle, paths to lodge and individuals who wish to be cleansed.
Music begins with three hard and slow heartbeat strikes of the drum. Drumming continues.
Bride hears the drum and begins a slow march to the wedding tipi as everyone else walks behind.
Bride/entourage enter camp area as the drum beat increases to fast and three hard strikes ends the drumming as the Women’s Council and others begin to sing love songs.
The elders walk to the bride and inquire as to her ability and favor to be married. The bride’s mother or stand-in replies for the bride and shows gifts prepared for the ceremony to the elders. Elders give permission for the ceremony.
The grooms entourage, elders and guests form two lines on either side of the path to the lodge.
The mother and her brother assist the bride to dismount and she is led down a path to the wedding lodge. The bride’s mother and her entourage lead. Followed by the bride and her entourage.
The loud strikes of the drum begins a slow cadence march to the lodge, between the lines of guests to stand in front of the lodge.
Drums stop with three loud beats and the eldest of the gathering steps forward to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
(A fire has previously been started in the fire circle by the spiritual leader using seven sacred woods and blessed with smudging.)
The spiritual leader will enter the wedding lodge first, followed by the groom along with two men who serve as his stand-ins, followed by the bride and her entourage. They all move sun-wise (clockwise) around the fire circle one complete revolution and come to stand in front of the fire circle and altar as the spiritual leader and the elders take their place behind the fire circle and altar.
Three prayers are then offered. The first is given by the spiritual leader, the second by the mother of the bride, and the third by the groom or his elder.
Three wedding songs are sung.
The elders announce to the spiritual leader they have given permission to proceed.
The spiritual leader asks the couple a few questions about their intentions and vows. He will then invite the groom to state his vows and intentions.
Vows may be given in a number of ways. The words may be composed by the couple, taken from traditional ceremonies according to the couples religious beliefs, or vows may delivered by the spiritual leader. Your wedding counselor will confirm your intentions prior to your arrival.
The spiritual leader hands to the groom offerings of sage, sweet grass and tobacco. The groom gives a prayer and sprinkles the offerings into the fire.
The spiritual leader then asks the bride for her vows and intentions.
The spiritual leader hands to the bride offerings of corn, squash, beans or mullein. The bride sprinkles the offerings into the fire.
(A Fire Ceremony may be inserted at this point.)
(A Ring Ceremony may be inserted at this point.)
(A Blanket Ceremony may be inserted at this point.)
(A Wedding Vase Ceremony may be inserted at this point.)
The Basket Ceremony, the Rite of the Seven Steps or other gifting ceremony may be inserted at this point. If the ceremony is conducted in the tipi wedding lodge, the entourage forms a processional behind the spiritual leader and the couple and walks slowly to the sacred fire circle with the beat of the drum, pausing at each of the seven steps down into the circle to offer a prayer.)
The spiritual leader then offers a prayer and the couple performs the gifting ceremony. Songs and prayers are given.
In closing, the wedding entourage moves sun-wise out of the fire circle with the bride and groom leading the way, followed by the spiritual leader, elders, the bride’s family and finally by the groom’s family.
Native American Courtship and Marriage Traditions
by Leslie Gourse
A specialist in music biographies and jazz histories, Gourse here sets off in a new direction with a treatment of love, courtship, marriage, and family traditions among several North American tribes, including the Hopi, Navajo, Iroquois, and Oglala Sioux. She describes old traditions and their evolution during modern times, and provides hints for brides and grooms who would like to incorporate these customs into their wedding ceremonies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR. Hippocrene Books, Inc. Soft Cover, 119pp. $14.95
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