What do you get when you put a Mohawk singer, Tlingit drummer, and an Italian musician together and bring along a sound tech, a farmer, a school teacher, a nurse, a mailman, a corporate gal, a social worker, and a writer? You get a great band and a ministry team that just completed the most successful ministry journey to South Dakota prisons and reservations.
“We are still swirling from the powerful times of God's anointing, divine appointments and favor!” says Bruce Bartelli, coordinator of Mission Wounded Knee’s Journey to the Father’s Heart tour.
From October 25 to November 2, 2008, Native band Broken Walls performed nine concerts—three in prisons, five on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservation, and one at New Life Assembly in the state capital, Pierre.
"Broken Walls and the MWK team “went above and beyond what we expected,” Bruce continued. “The team members all saw what was needed to be done and pitched in to set up sound and musical equipment in record times.”
The team included Jonathan Maracle, Kris Delorenzi, Bill Pagaran, Bruce and Donna Bartelli, Cindy Austin (Rochester, NY), Wayne and Chicky Taylor (Wakefield, MA), Sound techs Paul Starling (Alberta) and Richard Erb (Saskatchewan), and Jim Uttley, Indian Life Newspaper, (Manitoba). Joining the team from Rosebud to Pierre were Wendy Barcaro (Mission, SD), Norma Blacksmith (Pine Ridge, SD), Elizabeth Thomson, Dave and Joyce Bell, and John and Beth Russell (Rochester, NY area)
The MWK tour included ministry in the Mike Durfee Correctional Facility in Springfield, SD, the South Dakota State Penitentiary (Men’s Maximum) in Sioux Falls, SD, and the Women’s Correctional Facility (Medium to Max) in Pierre, SD.
Following the concert in the State Penitentiary, Jennifer Wagner, Lead Cultural Activities Coordinator for the prison wrote: “…The concert was terrific and I and the inmates hope you all can come back again! I know the scuttlebutt in the halls was that the men who didn’t show up missed one heck of a concert!
"The inmates at our facilities were touched by the message and music of Broken Walls. I have never seen the inmates give anyone a standing ovation before, but they stood up and clapped loudly in appreciation for Jonathan Maracle and his group…Broken Walls promoted pride, respect, joy and the celebration of the Native American Spirit. Our inmates are hoping that Broken Walls will be able to come back soon to South Dakota.”
The band also played in Whiteclay, Nebraska. Recapping the last days of the MWK tour, Jonathan Maracle wrote: "....We’re on our way home after the most successful tour ever. We played White clay the other night and truly connected to the Native people. A powerful time of worship. We did several memorials to sons, daughters and brothers who had died. It was powerful and an awesome tool to reach their hearts.
"Two days ago we played in the SD Maximum Security for women. About 120 came out and were very excited to have us there. When I played Tears (flute song) for the mothers and grandmothers, they all stood and cheered after I was done.
We ministered very clearly about the love of Jesus and as I played Rise Up they all stood to their feet and raised their hands over their heads, many with tears.”
“We felt the prayers of the saints each day as we sensed the Lord's favor and presence every step of the way,” stated Bartelli. “Continue to pray for Jonathan, Kris and Bill for an increase in bookings so their families may prosper in 2009. Also that we may hear only the voice of the Lord for MWK direction in 2009 as well.”