This is going only to the Friends of Hunterbear list and our very small
Lupus list -- plus some other individuals.  Several family members are on
Friends.  Eldri, who has gone over this carefully, has given her imprimatur.

At one point in my long talk to BLM and USFS staffers a few days ago, I
quipped that "I have now had Last Rites and covered other bases -- so I'll
now go on living."  I meant that and continue to mean it.

There have, however, been a couple of changes.  I'm now having -- and have
been experiencing -- many little episodes where my sense of balance appears
awry, my legs are shaky, there are some other things, and I come very close
to falling. A few days ago, I fell against our bed.  Last night, early in
the evening, could have been a serious fall.  Fortunately, Cameron and Josie
were among those in our kitchen, and Cameron -- big -- grabbed me in the
nick of time.  My blood pressure was OK. But my blood sugar was low --
although, at other points, it's been low and this hasn't happened.  In any
case, we conjecture that this increasing situation stems primarily from SLE.
It does not occur while I am sitting: at computer, driving, talking.

My mind is fine and my writing seems acceptable,  I could talk vigorously for two hours the other day plus more than an
additional hour of visiting with friends, and I can walk outside in the
wilds [albeit after adequate food and water and always with a cane] in an
effective way. [I have checked some old ASDnet posts of mine dating back
almost two years into July 2003 when this thing was fast building and they
seem fine and lucid to me.]  But  all of this, plus some other
manifestations of SLE, do indicate this thing still has its claws deeply
into me.  I know there is no cure for SLE. I fight and I will always fight.
I eat well and generally get adequate sleep -- if via installments.  Helpful
medical suggestions have been made -- some of which I'll try -- and there
is, every now and then, a wistful rumor about -- maybe -- new drugs for SLE,
the first new ones in over 45 years.  But like a mirage, nothing remains
when one draws closer.  I wear my Bear Claw and Ignatius Loyola Holy Medal.
I also wear something very good that my youngest son, Peter, recently gave
me:  a Wolf Claw and Arrowhead combination.  I also wear the Tibetan copper
bracelet Beba gave me.

Of course, I'll continue to see medics.

Cloudy is showing increased concern and hovers constantly on my behalf.

The second change is that, should I pass on, I want my ashes to be placed at
several special old-time Gray [Hatchiorauquasha] family locations up in our
hills.  Our old wilderness hunting camp on the rim of Sycamore Canyon far to
the southwest of Flagstaff would be fine but it would pose logistical
problems for people.  Here is our large house -- 'way up on the far Western
edge of Poky -- with the hills and mountains immediately above us.  The
ashes should be deposited in the Winter Camp Valley, on Lookout Ridge, on
the Secret Trail, and down in Gray Hole near the spot where the big mountain
lion sprays.  These are all very special settings.  Eldri, not too mobile,
can go up in a Four Wheeler for part of the way -- to the Winter Camp
Valley.  She [with someone] can wait there while others go on foot well
beyond.  All of that is easily worked out.

I'm not into memorial services.  There may well be a Catholic mass, but I
have in mind a feast and one with several appropriate kinds of drink.
Someone should play via CD a good rendition of Shenandoah and the Call of
the Far Away Hills.

I trust that this does not seem overly self-centered and certainly not
macabre.  But I am a good organizer and I cover as many possibilities as
early as I can.

In the meantime, as I told my BLM and Forest Service friends, I plan to go
right on living.

Our very best -

Yours,  Hunter Bear [Hunter Gray/John R Salter Jr]

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
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]


Be well, my Brotha.  Not to sound morbid, but am attaching obit for Memphis Norman.  I saw him at our fortieth Tougaloo reunion last May.
Joyce  [Ladner]  January 28 2005
I would like to come and visit you this summer. I'd like to shake your

 Martha E. Ture    January 28  2005
 Research Coordinator
Dammit, man, you deserve to be remembered way beyond those who know of
you now. If you weren't a really good writer when you let your stories
roll, I wouldn't press on this, but it would be a loss to literature as
well as to history if you don't get that autobiography out.
   On falls, I haven't had any, but with the memory of my wife's agony
in the four months between fall #1 and death, I urge you to do
everything to prevent that. The problem is bone (or, worse, hip)
fracture, which can be unbelievably painful. I will never get over my
wife, a person of great strength of character, plus simple dignity,
pleading to me: "Help me! Help me!", when I was under orders not to give
her another pain pill until the minimal four hours had passed, and she
was in agony.
Bill  [Mandel]  January 28 2005

Hunter/John/ Friend,
     I continue to remember you in my daily Buddhist meditation (that sounds exclusive; in my daily meditation) and I send metta to you daily (that can translate as friendly good wishes).  Watch yourself, my friend, regarding that poor sense of balance.  I have that problem also, and have had some falls. 
     My warmest good wishes to you and Eldri and Josie and the others.
     Love, Clyde [Appleton]  January 28  2005

Hunter: Don't you dare check out until you've read--and fully absorbed--Revolutionary Road and Selected Short Stories of Richard Yates! That should take some time and may even change your prognosis altogether.

You know, fully appreciating Richard Yates could take years--maybe even decades.


 [Note by Hunter Bear:  Steve has just very kindly sent me these two great books and they are now here.]

Steven F. McNichols   January 28 2005

San Francisco, CA 94104-3503


Take care of yourself, you and Eldri, as long as you can. 

And afterwards, I am sure you will keep on fighting too. For myself, I hope that when the time comes, hopefully many decades from now, that I pass on to whatever follows this, I  can work together with you to organize whatever is there to help us clean up the mess on earth.

I am, by the way, just back from Argentina.  They are very organized and militant there in some ways.

sam [Friedman]  January 28 2005


Sometimes it takes a lot to shine a clear light on the new
terrain you cover in this journey. But we others who will
follow in your footsteps are the better for it. Keep on.

And thanks.

Barry Cohen  January 28 2005

[Note by Hunter Bear:  Thanks very much, Barry, for your kind note.  I had always assumed from my latter teen years onward, that if I ever died -- if -- it would be fast and
violent.  This especially malevolent version of SLE is quite unpredictable
[unlike, say, long long term Huntingdon's or some varieties of blood
cancer.]  On balance I will take this relative uncertainty.  In any case,
its onset has forced me to grow in many positive directions and for that I
can be [grudgingly!] grateful.


Sounds like some bumps in the road, and it also sounds like you're
doing just fine.
I was deeply moved when I read of your medal of Ignatius Loyola. He
has meant a great deal to me over time.  What's possible now is for
me to invite Ignatius  or request that he join me in, as the Quakers say,
"holding you in the light".  I have a feeling though you'll be just fine.
Back with the medical dimension, if you wanted to get a handle on the
dizziness/balance picture at any point, an MRI can be a helpful
diagnostic tool.  I'm sure that suggestion comes from awareness of it's
use in my work.

I'm going to close for tonight but I think, amigo, you'll be seeing many
more Springs.
With ya though at all bends and turns in the road
Peace my friend to you who is so deeply loved by so many.
In solidarity,
Tim  McGowan   January 28 2005

>From Kass Fleisher: 

thinking of you.  i have this rule that, if distance is involved, and
since $ is not always loose for us, i would rather go visit a
threatened friend while they're still here, than go to their funeral.
but i'm hoping to do both.  so you sit tight.

i'll share some good news:  at some point the first week in january
we noticed that the amazon sales rank for _bear river_ had fallen to
10,000 -- which is best-seller rate of sales! -- and it stayed there
for a week and we couldn't figure what was going on -- till we
discovered that the book was adopted for teaching in several courses.
u. of illinois-chicago, and penn state, are the 2 we know of.  it's
back up to 400,000 now.

we'll beat this story yet.  i'm happy to share this news with you
today of all days:  the anniversary is today.  january 29.  142 years

don't take any shit.

love, and always deep gratitude and admiration,
kass  [fleisher]   January 29 2005


From Karin Kunstler:

Dear John - your strength and courage are really inspiring.  I am so
grateful that I reconnected with you although much too late.  Some of
what you said made me think of my grandmother (Bill's mother) who had
a Saint Christopher medal, a Saint Jude medal and a statue of another
saint next to her bed and a mezzusah (sp?) hanging from the bed post -
and hanging on the wall she had pictures of four people whom she
admired very much - Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy
and her mother.  They were all of great comfort to her.  As for me, I
always carry around a "gris-gris" (amulet) that was given to me by
someone in Senegal when I was a Peace  Corps volunteer there in the
sixties and a little stone that was given to me by a Native American
elder in Arizona some years ago.  The protection of our spirits,
whatever they are, keeps us going in our adventures on earth and will
guide us in our next adventures.  Coming upon your words and your
wisdom will, I know, add to the inspiration of my spiritual journey.
My best to you and Eldri and your children - Karin
[Kunstler]  1/29/05


From Alice Azure

Hi, John,
I'm glad the little book reached you and Eldri.  I am by no means accomplished on the piano, but if I could, I would play "Shenandoah" for you, my friend, for it's one of the few I can play very well (along with "Lucky 'Ol Sun" and "Tennessee Waltz," my mother's favorite).  Maybe I will email my sister Joanie in Warrington, VA and ask her to play it for you tonight, as I no longer have my piano.  She's the accomplished musician in our family.  

Anyway, I am thankful for the great family around you now.  Thank you too for sharing things with us.  I have been sick with a cross between the flue, a cold and a sinus condition.  So I read Robert Conley's War Woman the whole time.  Wonderful.  He and his wife--good friends of mine--are Cherokee and live in Tahlaquah, OK.  Sometimes he can be coaxed away from his writing there--but not often!

Alice [Azure]    January 29   2005

From Heather Booth:

I sent comments to you when we were gathering folks' recollections for your
website last year.  I think the site then crashed, and I'm not sure if you
ever saw much of what people sent in.  So, I'm sending some words of
appreciation for you now.

We haven't met.
I didn't have the great pleasure or benefit from knowing you in the most
active days of the movement.
Yet, from reading your thoughts and email messages, I have been touched by
what you say, how you live your life and who you are.

It is not so common for people to work from such a centered clarity about
their vision and values, incorporated into their daily life, personal
relations, friends and social commitments.  You convey that unity, that
clarity. And you combine all this with practical clarity about what really
matters and how to do real organizing, how to help people build a better

You are an organizer who has followed or created the path of what could make
the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people using your own great
skills at any point in time.  So you have been teacher, organizer, legal
advisor, friend, counsellor.  You have been active in civil rights, Native
rights, human rights.  You have been North, South, East, West--wherever the
movement needed you.

The stories you tell are filled with people and struggles--all told with
warmth and caring, but also with lessons about what is of value and how to
make a difference.

So, though I never knew you personally, I have also gained from your
clarity, your moral vision, personal decency and your practical advice.
For all this and more, I thank you.

In common struggle and the struggle continues made stronger by your works,
Heather Booth   January 29 2005

From David McReynolds 

Dear Hunter,

If there is anyone who will insist on "continuing" so long as possible, it
will be you. And I remember very well that last year a number of us were urging you on toward spring, which you made, and the long walks, which you were able to resume.

So again, though a year has passed and things remain (clearly) grim, and
since you've had the last rites you can relax in the event of a crisis, and while it is obvious from this post that things are NOT good at this time, let me join all the others who have written in hoping that you will be hitting your mountain trails before long.

I went out this afternoon to go to the War Resisters League office to feed
the office cat (I'm responsible for Rustie's care on weekends - Rustie in honor of Bayard
Rustin). It was a quarter of five, but felt like broad daylight, while only a month ago it was pitch dark by 4:30. That, and the fact the temperature had climbed well above freezing for the first time in several days, left a feeling as if early March was upon us, not the impending month of February.

So may you find, in the days immediately ahead, a sense of early March and
the reach of Spring.

David  [McReynolds]  January 30 2005



Hunter Bear:
Joan Mulholland forwarded your email to me. I've tried to follow your
continued freedom struggle. Your courage has long been admired. I wish for
your perseverance. I have a niece who has Lupus. I have followed some of
your emails to her. She has asked me to inform you that your statements are
of great inspiration to her. She wishes you the best.

May the sunshine of life forever illuminate your spirit. You have set an
example that I will always try to live up to. NEVER give up.

From an old Tougaloo Activist.
Thomas M Armstrong
  [January 31  2005]

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
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]