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Tahoma Sogenji monastery

Chief Carl Simpson


I sadden to let you know my father passed away at Wednesday. I'm sorry I didn't get this message to you all sooner. He has been preparing himself over the past year as his health declined. Our entire family was there to see him  pray with him, and prepare him at the hospital so it was a beautiful ceremony. He wanted to be cremated because he didn't want archeologists digging him up.  We brought him home to my house and set up our traditional longhouse teepee and had our sacred Waashat seven drum services. The next day we had a huge gathering and Waashat seven drum services at our Longhouse. The next day he was buried next to his day and my brother Curtis. Johnny rode a horse and lead his horse riderless to the burial grounds for his last ride home. Our family then brought a small portion of his ashes high into the Wallowa Lake mountains to complete our last ceremony.  He traveled with us, his spirit light followed us for his last journey on earth. We all saw his light with us, it was life changing experience and her sacred. I am sending pictures of our family. I want you to know how much he loved you all, your family, Roshi  and all of our dear family at Sogenji and Tahoma. Next year we will have a memorial and at the same time I will be stood up to become chief as is customary. I pray you are all healthy and send my deepest love to you all. Don and Peggy and family 


Dear Don, and the whole family. 

My heart is pained to hear of the passing of Chief Carl. I loved him. I feel this deeply in my heart. I sing songs for him and mourn his passing with honoring in my soul. 

Ever since we lived together at Sogenji, I have felt an unspoken connection with Chief Carl, a thread of calm that was a balm. He came to the early morning chanting and sat with us, nodding his head with eyes closed to the beat of the drum, and I could see the spiritual comprehension and peace in his face, he was hearing the spirit energy resonating through the sounds. Don, you and your father Carl and sister Sandy did a pipe ceremony for us in the Guest house, and that changed something very profoundly for me. It was so huge and inclusive and sincere. Watching Carl at Sogenji was a great teaching. I noticed he did not rush and he did not stop and collapse. He kept a steady flow going through time and movement at the Temple, and watching his calm pace helped me a lot. 

I remember Chief Carl came all the way to Whidbey Island with Johnny to the Tahoma mountain opening ceremony in 2011, and offered a beautiful song to Chisan and Dairin for their ceremony. They rang little bells and chanted in unison. His presence was great. That was the last time I saw him. Last Tuesday Nov 16 I was thinking strongly of your father. I was in an antique thrift shop on Whidbey and I saw some antique animal fur pelts. I felt strongly they were meant to be returned to native peoples, to honor the animals' death and make them useful.I thought of your father. And the cultural museum of the Walla Walla Umatilla Tribe. Maybe they are spirit animals that wanted to help him in his journey to the afterlife. So I was preparing this gift to send care of your dad when Chisan sent me this news. My heart is full not only of the sadness, but also of joy thinking of how loved Chief Carl is. I am thinking of his wife your mom Arleta and everyone in the tribe and all your loved ones. Please let me know I would love to come pay my respects at any memorial ceremony it would be appropriate for me to attend. 

Honoring your dad, feeling this great loss of a great leader and kind man, 

Love, Jessica Sokei 



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