LUPUS:  PREDATOR WITH BROAD TASTES AND MINORITY PREFERENCES [HUNTER GRAY   1/18/05]  -- AND, A GOOD DAY WITH BLM AND USFS  [HUNTER GRAY, JANUARY 24  2005]  UPDATED FREQUENTLY

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:

Lupus is an ugly and vicious disease, the systemic version of which is
frequently lethal, and no ethnic group is immune.  It does, however, have a
special appetite for minorities:  Native Americans, Chicanos, Blacks,
Asians.  Until I was struck by it, I had never really heard of Lupus.  Eldri
had had an Augsburg College Anglo friend who died of it in 1967 -- but I got
that tragedy mixed up with Leukemia.  One of my closest friends and one of
the finest community workers with whom I was ever privileged to work [for
years], was an older man, Bill Redcloud [White Earth Chippewa], who
eventually died of rheumatoid arthritis, a disease related to Lupus.  Since
my SLE situation developed, I now know of several Indian people who have
been struck by the relatively rare SLE. [A less dangerous -- but still bad
enough variant of Lupus -- is Skin Lupus.  It is more common than SLE.]

The attached short abstract drawn from a compilation of serious diseases
afflicting Native Americans  -- and in some instances for which Natives have
special vulnerability -- gives the population figure of approximately three
million Native people in the US and Canada. A fairly recent article of mine,
using 2000 census data, states that 2.4 million Native people are in the
United States -- and I would say that Canada has at least that number.
Hence, the population figures given in the abstract are low.  An important
study involving Native Americans and SLE Lupus presently being done at
University of Oklahoma -- with which I have had contact -- sets the  minimum
"blood quanta" for their research at 1/8 "Indian blood"  [e.g., one great
grandparent who is full-blood].  With an essentially full-blooded father and
an Anglo mother, I am about 50% Native by blood.

In my own situation, struck by an especially virulent and lethal version of
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus [in itself the worst variant of Lupus], I found
that, initially, virtually no physician I encountered could make a diagnosis
with dispatch.  It took weeks.  This is a common problem in handling SLE,
which has more faces than the great character actor of yore, Lon Chaney.  I
was tested for colon cancer via colonoscopy, for all sorts of blood cancers
[I had extreme fatigue and extreme anemia] and a myriad of infections
through my bone marrow samples, and I had cat scans and related stuff and
much more.  In the end, the extreme nature of my SLE, which obligingly burst
out evermore in the course of these on-going exams, led a top hematologist
and his colleague to suspect SLE.  Blood sent post haste to Salt Lake
determined, via ANA [anti-nuclear antibodies ] and much more, that I had
SLE -- and all other physicians [eleven] concurred with my hematologist and
his colleague that it was a "full blown" case.  By that time, SLE was
attacking my lungs, kidneys, liver, blood vessels, mouth, muscles, heart.
But no medic I encountered at the outset knew anything much at all about
SLE.

None, it turned out, were aware that "minorities" -- again, Natives,
Chicanos, Blacks, Asians -- have a high special vulnerability for Lupus.
The Oklahoma researchers feel that Natives may be ten times more likely to
incur this functionally dread disease than Anglos.   Organizations which
specialize in Lupus education and advocacy often say little about the
"minority dimension."  Government research and published studies --
reflecting modest funding in the case of Lupus -- often bypass Native
Americans and other minorities as well.  I should add that we have recently
learned that many SLE cases have now been diagnosed at Navajo Nation [total
tribal population is now more than 250,000].

I do take some grim satisfaction in the fact that I have probably played a
key role in local and regional Lupus education!  Of course, I am not the
only person so afflicted -- there are a few others in this general
geographical area -- but I have certainly not held my tongue on any facet
of it.  I do say all that I can about the minority connotations and
implications.  But I consistently point out as well that anyone can get
Lupus and, when they do, it's pure Hell.

"The U.S. census of 2000 indicates that 2.4 million people identified
themselves as Native Americans: up 25% since 1990. This is a clear and
unequivocal statement of basic Indian identity -- although almost all of
these would be of some mixed [ Native and non-Native] ancestry, a very
common situation throughout Indian country in this day and age. [In
addition, slightly over four million other people indicated some Indian
ancestry -- but this category is not accepted by many Native people as
indicative of basic Native identity.]"   NATIVE AMERICAN STRUGGLE:  ONE
CENTURY INTO ANOTHER  by Hunter Gray [Democratic Left -- DSA -- Spring
2002.]

From the attached abstract:

Many Native American groups have high prevalence rates of
rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus, connective tissue
diseases, and spondyloarthropathies. There appears to be a correlation
between the pattern of rheumatic diseases in Native North Americans and the
patterns of migration and ancestry.


http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/multiculturalhealth/Reading/Reading%20Native.ht
ml

Rheumatic Diseases in North America's Indigenous Peoples
     Peschken, C. A.

      Esdaile, J. M.
     Semin Arthritis Rheum., 28(6), 368-91.
     Native American
     1999

       June

     Abstract:

      OBJECTIVES: There are at least 3 million North American Indians and
Eskimos in North America. The epidemiology of rheumatic diseases in Native
North Americans differs from that described for the remainder of the North
American population. An enhanced understanding of rheumatic diseases in
these indigenous people may provide valuable clues to the cause of these
disorders and improve rheumatologic care. METHODS: The world literature was
searched for all reports of rheumatic diseases in North American Indians and
Eskimos. The reports were reviewed and the findings summarized by disease
process. RESULTS: Many Native American groups have high prevalence rates of
rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus, connective tissue
diseases, and spondyloarthropathies. There appears to be a correlation
between the pattern of rheumatic diseases in Native North Americans and the
patterns of migration and ancestry. In general, Amerind Indians have
increased rates of RA and connective tissue disease, while Na-Dene Indians
and Eskimos have high rates of spondyloarthropathies. The RA seen in Native
Americans is generally severe, seropositive, with an early age of onset, and
frequent extraarticular manifestations. Many Native American groups have
very high frequencies of the RA shared epitope. The majority of Native
American and Eskimo groups also have high frequencies of HLA-B27, and some
of the world's highest prevalence rates of spondyloarthropathies are
described in these groups. Although some groups show a marked tendency to
develop either Reiter's syndrome or ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic and
enteropathic arthritis are rare. CONCLUSIONS: The excess rheumatic disease
seen in this population is most likely genetic in origin. Because of the
combination of high rates of rheumatic disease and relative genetic
homogeneity, Native North Americans represent a singular opportunity to
study genetic contributions to rheumatic disease. For clinicians, the index
of suspicion for rheumatic diseases in North American Indians and Eskimos
should be high, and the severe disease and sometimes atypical presentations
kept in mind.

Fighting on --

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

Dear John, [1/18/05]

This is LaDonna your old student. Just wanted to thank you for all the
information on lupus. It take a strong man to be able share all the
information on this disease. I am sending prayer for your recovery.
My cousin's daughter almost died this last year from lupus. She is 15 years
old and still in a wheel chair. She has lost all her hair and is slowly
recovering. We thought we would be burying her. I also have two other cousin
with Lupus. We never heard of lupus now  more people on my reservation are
now being diagosed with lupus. It is such a deadly disease.

LaDonna Brave Bull  [Standing Rock]

From Ishgooda, manager of Native News:   1/17/05

One year ago this past Christmas  Eve, I lost a good friend after her 20
year struggle with systemic lupus.  It is a horrible disease ..

At 07:41 PM 01/17/2005 -0700, you wrote:
>NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:
>
>Lupus is an ugly and vicious disease, the systemic version of which is
>frequently lethal, and no ethnic group is immune.  It does, however, have a
>special appetite for minorities:  Native Americans, Chicanos, Blacks,
 

ADDED NOTE  [HUNTER GRAY   1/20/05]

A very quick personal note:  After a difficult ten days or so -- in which
some family folk here began pushing emergency trips to the medics [which
raise hospitalization concerns on my part], I woke up this morning feeling
almost normal. [We have been eating lots of elk meat, even for breakfast,
but I don't think that is it.]  Maria and I and Hunter [Shelty] took a long
and strenuous walk, but had to go slowly because of snow and ice.  Among
other things, I take Prednisone [which I hate] and resist Imuran and
Methotrextate and Cytoxan which are all chemo drugs that can cause cancer.
[The Pred, of course, has given me diabetes.] Prednisone can wreck bone
structure -- but not in everyone.  I have not done bone density tests yet
but, to play safe, take  calcium supplements and buttermilk and Actonel.
Since my feet  grew, in orderly and [for me] traditional fashion, now from
15 to 16 , I assume my bone structure is OK at least.  But with all of the
ice and snow, we are careful.

Oddly, when I awoke this morning I had on my conscious mind the fine novel
by Carson McCullers called Clock Without Hands.  About 45  years old, and
set in Georgia with school desegregation ostensibly imminent, it involves in
part the story of an older [Anglo] man who has been diagnosed with Leukemia.
The title is apt -- and now too damn apt for my liking!

Fight on, fight on.

Best -  John or Hunter or Anything at All
 

A GOOD DAY WITH BLM AND USFS [HUNTER GRAY, 1/24/05]

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:

Things went well -- in fact, very well -- in my talk today to key staffers
from U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Caribou National Forest on the
Civil Rights Movement, its historical forces and personalities, attendant
issues -- both past and contemporary, national and Idaho-wise: economic
privation, the "War," repressive legislation, police problems, death
penalty.  These were all Western outdoor professionals, several of them
Native:  engineers, land and water and grazing and timber management
specialists, archaeologists, fire control experts -- to name but a few.
Casually dressed, their many questions were among the best I have ever
received in that topic context [and they appreciated my Indian and Western
humor, some of it self deprecating].  I had handout material that discussed
the Jackson Movement and Medgar Evers,  Tougaloo College, Martin King.  A
copy of my book, Jackson Mississippi -- which a BLM friend owns -- was
widely passed about.  Eldri was there and contributed much rich observation,
especially on Old Mississippi. Others were present and Thomas came between
classes at nearby ISU for my whole thing.

The session was officially scheduled for 10:30 am to 11:30 am and it went to
12:30 pm.  Everyone stayed.  Afterward, a BLM friend and his wife and Eldri
and I had lunch.  We talked to some extent about the right-wing "Sage Brush
Rebellion" [called now by various names], which seeks privatization of all
public lands and the theft of Native lands -- in order to benefit the
so-called agricultural and resource and recreational interests.  This
country and its people are fortunate in having as ethical watch-dogs BLM,
USFS, National Park Service, National Wildlife -- and other outdoor Federal
agencies -- and at least some [not nearly enough] Native lands that have
been somehow kept intact.

About three years ago, I posted on the Sage Brush Rebellion and the
so-called Western Caucus.  Here it is:
http://www.hunterbear.org/western_issues_2.htm    [Link to my full piece]
 

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:  1/25/05

Many topics were discussed yesterday in my excellent meeting with BLM and
USFS people.  One involved a very special reason we came to this specific
setting in Eastern Idaho:  my direct ancestors, John and Marienne Gray and
their oldest, Peter. [Among the Idaho place names honoring John Gray are
Grays Lake and Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge. If all the ancestral
tributaries that flow into us and beyond are critically important, this one
stands very high on the mountain.  They are presently much on my mind as is
their Winter Camp, which is only a relatively short distance from our home
right here.  Some may have already seen this -- I have added a little
more -- but, in any case, here is the intro to my not-short piece, and then
the link to the full saga.  H

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: I am writing much new material and expanding older
stuff -- and I am doing so "with all deliberate speed."  When I initially
wrote a shorter version of this piece, I could hike five rough mountain
miles per day with ease.  I no longer can hike at all -- at least not at
this point.  But, ever the optimist, I hope to again, and I can certainly
always remember.

[Special Note 1/25/05:  From mid-Summer, 2005, I have been hiking two to
three miles each trek in our immediate rough mountains.  I have to move more
slowly, but I get there and I get home. And we get to the special Gray
places.  My feet have grown once again -- to Size 16 -- and I have new Lowa
Mountain Boots.]

John Gray, Mohawk/Scottish, who was also known as Ignace Hatchiorauquasha,
and his Mohawk wife, Marienne, are my direct ancestors.  They are also among
the major culture heroes of our family  -- exemplifying the best of the
"Indian Way" :  human beings of great grace and courage who devoted their
lives to serving their community rather than serving themselves -- and who
developed and maintained an extraordinarily cohesive family which functioned
always as a collective and communalistic "horde."

Most of their lives were spent in uncharted lands in the turbulent Western
fur trade.

I spend no time at all on the so-called "Mountain Men/re-enactors" of today
who occasionally try to contact me for information on the Grays.  These
people, romantics and superficial ones at that, are interested only in
self-serving glitter for themselves -- and care nothing about the great
creative and constructive  life-long activism and service of John and
Marienne.

A man who did care  -- and who well captured much of the meaning of all of
this -- wrote of John Gray:

"His unusual ability to deal with the whites enhanced his stature as an
Iroquois chief. . .he stood out as a gifted leader of his people,
understanding and following their ways in a manner that would have been
difficult for a white man. . . he not only explored the wilderness. . .he
also helped to bridge the cultural gap between Indians and whites during the
years of the fur trade, even though much of the time the Iroquois and white
trappers did not get along together at all well , and the whites often
resented his position on the Indian side when there were differences in
outlook.  More than that, his leadership of the Iroquois out of Ogden's
camp, May 24, 1825, contributed substantially to the Hudson's Bay Company
adoption of competitive pricing that limited the expansion of the St. Louis
fur trade in the Oregon country."  [Merle Wells, Idaho State Historical
Society, on John Gray]

http://www.hunterbear.org/GRAY%20LANDS%20AND%20GRAY%20GHOSTS.htm  [my full
article]

 

Glad to hear the presentation went well; when people remain after they don't have to it's always a good sign.  Sounds like you're in fine form as always. 
 
Hope this energized rather than exhausted you.  Maybe it did both.  [John Salter]  1/24/05
 
 

Dear Hunter Gray: I'm fortunate to be reading you on the SNCC list.  All Best, Jacqueline Fralley  1/24/05

Sounds like a great talk. What was the best question you were asked?

Later  [Peter Gray Salter/Mack]  1/25/05
 

Hunter Bear: "Why did you come to Pocatello?" and also, "How were you able to keep
going -- over the long haul -- through everything?"  To the first, "John
Gray --  Hatchiorauquasha".  And the second, "Life long commitment to social
justice which started in childhood -- as well as Eldri's always present and
strong support."  H

 

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR   FEBRUARY 1 2005

Good to get this appreciative letter today. 

Since my long talk on January 24, I've picked up several strongly appreciative words -- including one typed letter [thoughtfully written and well together] that is six pages in
length.  That of today:

United States Department of the Interior / Bureau of Land Management /
Pocatello Field Office etc.

January 31 2005

John & Eldri Gray
2000 Sandy Lane
Pocatello, ID 83204

Dear John and Eldri:

Our employees and I would like to thank you for the presentation you made to the combined Pocatello BLM and Forest Service staffs on January 24, 2005. The civil rights work that you performed in Mississippi in the early 1960's made history and was simply amazing.  The  presentation you made had a profound effect on many of us.  I talked to several fellow employees afterward and they characterized your talk as "profound" and "life changing".  One employee stated that he specifically ate lunch alone in order to better contemplate what you had said.  I think this speaks very
highly of your remarks.

Thank you again for taking time and making the effort to draw attention to
civil rights and focus our thoughts in remembrance of Martin Luther King
Day.  We wish you the best in your continued endeavors.

Sincerely,
Philip Damon
Field Office Manager

Note by Hunter Bear:  This is one of the finest audiences in all respects
that I have had for some years.  That goes beyond the fact that -- as is the
case -- these are the kind of Western outdoorspeople with whom I've
interacted congenially at many key points throughout my life.

H
HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

                                                                                                                                                       

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