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WELCOME
 
 

Today I am going to share a story from a Friend named Les Tate
also I would like to  Thank Les in allowing me to share his story .It was only
after reading his story that it  made me realize that I  am INDIAN.

So Please come sit by my  fire and  You may find out who you are to
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

 ARE YOU AN INDIAN?

By

Les Tate

11/18/96
 
 
 
 

How often have you heard or said "I'm part Indian"? If you have,
 then some Native American elders have something to teach you.
A very touching example was told by a physician from Oregon who
 discovered as an adult that he was Indian. This is his story.
 Listen well: Some twenty or more years ago while serving the Mono
 and Chukchanse and Chownumnee communities in the Sierra Nevada,
 I was asked to make a housecall on a Mono elder. She was 81 years
old and had developed pneumonia after falling on frozen snow while
 bucking up some firewood.

      I was surprised that she had asked for me to come since she had always
 avoided anything to do with the services provided through the local
            agencies. However it seemed that she had decided I might be alright because
          I had helped her grandson through some difficult times earlier and had been
 studying Mono language with the 2nd graders at North Fork School.

         She greeted me from inside her house with a Mana' hu, directing me into her
          bedroom with the sound of her voice. She was not willing to go to the hospital
          like her family had pleaded, but was determined to stay in her own place and
                  wanted me to help her using herbs that she knew and trusted but was too weak to
                do alone. I had learned to use about a dozen native medicinal plants by that time,
                      but was inexperienced in using herbs in a life or death situation. She eased my fears
        with her kind eyes and gentle voice. I stayed with her for the next two days,
                  treating her with herbal medicine (and some vitamin C that she agreed to accept).

       She made it through and we became friends. One evening several years later,
          she asked me if I knew my elders. I told her that I was half Canadian and half
                  Appalachian from Kentucky. I told her that my Appalachian grandfather was raised
             by his Cherokee mother but nobody had ever talked much about that and I didn't
            want anyone to think that I was pretending to be an Indian. I was uncomfortable
          saying I was part Indian and never brought it up in normal conversation.

                     "What! You're part Indian?" she said. "I wonder, would you point to the part of yourself
 that's Indian. Show me what part you mean."

                 I felt quite foolish and troubled by what she said, so I stammered out something to the
                 effect that I didn't understand what she meant. Thankfully the conversation stopped at
           that point. I finished bringing in several days worth of firewood for her, finished the
           yerba santa tea she had made for me and went home still thinking about her words.

Some weeks later we met in the grocery store in town and she looked down
at one of my feet and said, "I wonder if that foot is an Indian foot.
Or maybe it's your left ear. Have you
figured it out yet?"

              I laughed out loud, blushing and stammering like a little kid. When I got outside after
shopping, she was standing beside my pick-up, smiling and laughing.
"You know" she said, "you either are or you aren't. No such thing
as part Indian. It's how your heart lives in the world, how you carry
yourself. I knew before I asked you. Nobody told me. Now don't
 let me hear you say you are part Indian anymore."

She died last year, but I would like her to know that I've heeded her words.
And I've come to think that what she did for me was a teaching that
the old ones tell people like me,because others have told me that
a Native American elder also said almost the same thing
to them. I know her wisdom helped me to learn who I was that day
and her words have echoedin my memory ever since.
And because of her, I am no longer part Indian,
 

I
am
Indian.

I give thanks to the Great Creator in allowing me to find this story
and in finding a friend in  Les Tate.
Here at my fire anyone may speak when handed the talking stick.
If you have a story you would like to share please email it to me .As
we all gather around the fire Here  your story will be told
with  full credit  going to you or the author of the  story

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May the Great Creator always fill your heart with joy
and your eyes with beauty
May you always walk in both Peace and Beauty