NATIVE LIFE, NATIVE TIMES, NATIVE SURVIVAL  [HUNTER BEAR   12/22/05]  UPDATED WITH IOWA NOTES, AND NORTH DAKOTA JUSTICE MATTERS, AND MY KPFA RADIO INTERVIEW ON NATIVE AMERICAN CHALLENGES, AND THUNDERHEART, AND MORE

 

MORE -- MUCH MORE -- THAN JUST SIMPLE SURVIVAL

"Lupus'll kill me before this does," said I to family members the other day.
And, in a few moments, I'll explain that cordially terse little comment.
[In the meantime, please rest assured that I don't plan to cash in any time
soon.]

It's been an interesting week.  The passing of Clinton Jencks almost a week
ago at San Diego -- a long life marked by vision and courage and
commitment -- is truly a great Mountain lifting into the sky.  We now have a
webpage, "Clinton Jencks  1918-2005: Remembrance," to which we'll
judiciously add a bit now and then:
http://www.hunterbear.org/CLINTON%20JENCKS%201918%202005.htm

A few weeks of snow and ice and below freezing temps here in the mountains
of Eastern Idaho have made it impossible for me to walk safely -- even for
my now necessarily reduced hikes -- in the wild hills immediately above our
'way far up home. The weather is suddenly warm and the snow and ice are
fading but things are still slick -- and muddy. Others in our family here
have been out buying Christmas presents for all of us -- and shipping
treasure to those offspring [and their offspring] scattered to the Four
Directions.  Somewhat depressed by many days of "house arrest" and icy fog
as well, I called a friend a decade older than even I who has been battling
some substantive illnesses and who often calls us.

Susan Kelly Power [Gathering of Storm Clouds Woman] of Chicago, and the
Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota -- with which she keeps in
close touch -- is a fighting more-than-just-survivor.  She and her daughter,
Susan Mary Power, are among our very oldest family friends -- going back
decades.  A life-long and extremely effective Native activist [National
Congress of American Indians and much more], Susan, in the early 1950s soon
after she came to the Windy City, was one of the half dozen Native founders
of the first urban Indian center in the United States: the American Indian
Center of Chicago [on West Wilson in Uptown] of which she has been at
various times -- at least four -- the always very capable Chair.  The
internal situation at the Center could, to use my words, be occasionally
characterized as "Turbulence within the Circle of Unity."  During an
especially stormy period in the early '70s, all sides chose me as the
election judge in a hotly contested struggle -- and, after that long and
interesting day had finally concluded late at night, all sides felt it had
been a totally honest election.  [It was so honest, in fact, that our side
lost that one.]

Susan's great grandfather was Mato Nupa [Two Bears], the Yanktonnai leader
who, in 1863 at age 67, fought a significant battle with the United States
at Whitestone Hill [south of present day Jamestown, N.D.]  Her mother was
Josephine Gates Kelly -- first woman to head an Indian tribe after the
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.  And Josephine Gates Kelly [who was 95
when she went to the Spirit World] was a consistently tough, tough life-long
activist for the people at Standing Rock -- and for all the Native people of
the Land.  Susan's daughter, "Little Susie" to us, is an extremely gifted
writer whose best selling 1994 Putnam book, "The Grass Dancer" -- the first
of several of her fine books -- went around the world.

Susan Kelly Power knew my voice immediately.  Interestingly, although I have
had some hearing impairment as one of many deeply negative results of this
especially bad version of Systemic Lupus, I had no difficulty at all hearing
her.  In typical Native fashion, our hour-plus conversation began with a
detailed outline of how each of our family members was doing, then moved to
cover a multitude of mutual friends -- extending to at least two dozen
different tribal nations north of Mexico. [We spent, I must admit, a moment
or two on old Adversaries.]  That big dimension of the discussional
itinerary accomplished, we moved to discuss each other's substantial medical
challenges.  And each of us, it emerged, is far more worried about the
other.

And, as always,  we vigorously reiterated that we would always Keep
Fighting -- and fighting hard -- right down to the bone. Just as we and
those in our Circle always have.  I could tell her that I hike as much as I
can. I write and correspond. I can drive my 4WD Jeep short distances.  And she, in turn,
keeps up with the world via her daily sub to the New York Times, visits the
sick and shut-in, and keeps her hand actively in at the Newberry Library [a strong
Native focus] and at several Indian-interested museums and, certainly, the
Indian Center and its many activities.

For us, she is one of those who richly and courageously exemplifies the social and human fact that, regardless of all of the horrific attacks upon Native people and tribal nations that have characterized the last more than 500 years, our people and our many hundreds of consistently cohesive tribes and the accompanying many hundreds of always healthy and vigorous tribal cultures, have survived in the most primary sense -- as will they always.

And now, coming back to the original point:  Why did I say to my family the
other day that, "Lupus'll kill me before this does."

I had just announced that, after an abstinence of almost seventeen years
[1989], I am resuming Pipe Smoking.  Physiologically, I have always been
hard-driving in whatever I do. I don't drink alcohol -- which, frankly, I
can like a little too much.  So, to maintain at least relative internal
tranquility, I am simply returning -- with Zero apologies -- to that one of
many great and significant Native American contributions:  Tobacco.

And thus today we [Eldri, Josie, and me] went to Pocatello's last real pipe
shop -- to me a setting of ritual and ceremony presided over by a priestly
Old Timer -- where I found my Heart's Desire:  a splendid, longer stem Big
Bowl in the Canadian genre. In addition to that, I purchased the other
accruements for the Near-Holy Ritual: strong Borkum Riff, pipe cleaners,
pocket cleaning tool, a bottle of bowl sweetener.

Now, all I need is a Real Dragon to kill.

____________________________________________________________________

Some of the comments on my resumption of pipe smoking:
 
"How about some Johnny Walker to go along with that?"  -- John Salter [Beba]  12/21/05
 
"Personally, I favor briarwood ChurchWarden. . . Keep on keeping on. " -- Bruce Hartford  12/21/05
 
"Go for it!" -- Mary Ann Hall Winters  12/22/05
 
"If I had the disease you have, I'd be doing a lot of things." --  John Salter [Beba]  12/25/05

 

NATIVE NOTES ON IOWA [HUNTER BEAR  DECEMBER 24 2007]

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:
 
I've been surprised with the perception [and perhaps and sadly it's now a reality] that the Republican party in Iowa is enmeshed in the Christian fundamentalist thing.  My experiences in Iowa have not been recent.  But I did teach at private Coe College in Cedar Rapids during the academic year 1968-69 and at the University of Iowa for 3 1/2 years, 1973 through 1976.  I should add that in the late fall of 1963, Ms Ella J. Baker and I traveled for weeks under the aegis of our Southern Conference Educational Fund in several parts of the midwest and mountain west -- building support for the Civil Rights Bill [which eventually emerged as the '64 Act.] Ella and I spoke together in a great many Iowa settings: church, academic, labor and broadly community arenas.  The turnouts and empathetic interest levels were great. Many who came identified themselves as Republicans. I repeated part of that junket a year later.
 
While at the University of Iowa, I was involved in a number of social justice endeavors -- most Native-focused. [Among other things, I spoke widely around the state.]  One of our projects involved protection of Native burials and collateral dimensions. [This was a very burning issue at that point.]  The new State Archaeologist appointed a three person Indian Advisory Committee -- Don Wanatee [a Meskwaki], Maria Pearson [Sioux] and myself.  We worked in conjunction with the state archaeologist and produced a bill providing strong, multi-faceted protection.  It was supported by moderate Republican governor Robert Ray [1969-83], passed by the Iowa Assembly, and emerged as the strongest such protective bill in the country [presaging the eventual and strong Federal legislation.]  A year later, a number of us -- I was on the state Indian Education Advisory Committee -- persuaded the governor to endorse our proposal that an Indian Ombudsman's offce be initiated.  With the Governor's support, that passed [and a somewhat older student of mine, Andrew Roberts, Meskwaki, was immediately hired for that post.]  We were much involved in prison work at the state penitentiary -- working mostly with Native and Chicano prisoners -- and those endeavors received a significant amount of Democratic and some Republican support.  Governor Ray was helpful in our successful efforts, for example, to free Elliott Ricehill [Ho-Chunk aka Winnebago] from a very long prison term.  I could cite a number of Iowa experiences which lead to my surprise at the apparent "evangelical" base in the Hawkeye State.
 
Yours, Hunter Bear
 
 
HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

COMMENT BY LOIS CHAFFEE:

I'm not sure how much "enmeshed" covers, but I'm reading that the Christian evangelicals account for 40% of the expected Republican vote.  Anybody have more detailed information? I would estimate that some unknown portion of that 40% is clinging to sanity, and there's the other 60%, of which some can be counted to round out the sanity faction - so there may be hope for the reality-based community.  Lois
 

 

THUNDERHEART [HUNTER BEAR  12/30/05]

Comment by Hunter Bear: 12/30/05

I have never been a great movie goer.  Some of this may go back to being a
Depression child, especially with the limited film fare of those days, but,
for whatever complex of reasons, I've always preferred reading -- and
writing. [SHANE AND SALT OF THE EARTH were favorites of mine very, very
early on.] Lately, however, relatively house-bound [and restless], I've
spent more time in front of our family television and I've seen things I
wish I had seen earlier.  One of these was CONSPIRACY [2001], which I
discussed in a post a year ago  http://www.hunterbear.org/reminiscence.htm

And another is THUNDERHEART [1992].

Now, almost always when I encounter these on HBO, I see them to the end.

When THUNDERHEART initially appeared, many of my University of North Dakota
students -- Native, Anglo, and Other -- strongly recommended it.  But Eldri
and I went to virtually no movie houses and missed it. It was our
considerable loss. Finally seeing it on TV several months ago, I realized
significant dimensions of it certainly resonate deeply within me.  And the
family has since given it to me on DVD as one of this year's Christmas
gifts.

The setting is the Badlands of South Dakota -- obviously depicting the
troubled Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Reservation in and around where much of it
was filmed. The cast is rich with Indians.  Val Kilmer, himself part-Indian,
plays Ray Levoi, a young FBI agent, a good part Sioux,  who grew up in a large urban
area,  and who with his superior, Frank Coutelle [played by Sam Shepard],
goes there officially to apprehend an alleged killer, a Native militant who
the FBI perceives as "an enemy of the United States."

Early on Levoi encounters tribal policeman and astute detective Walter Crow
Horse, a man of considerable courage, social conscience and wit, admirably
carried by Graham Greene [a Six Nations Oneida and always a special favorite
of our younger family members.]  Despite outwardly differing cultural
backgrounds and perspective, the two men are slowly drawn toward each other.
Crow Horse, as with almost all of the Natives in THUNDERHEART, is politely
tolerant of Levoi -- but Levoi's personal story unwinds slowly on the
"Moccasin Telegraph":  a Native father and high steel construction worker of
considerable courage himself, who tried to give his son some sense of Sioux
culture and identity, but who dies as a result of alcoholism.  Some ice is
thawed, then broken, much of this due to the kindly reaction  and
involvement by Grandpa Sam Reaches [Ted Thin Elk] to whom the young agent is
brought by Crow Horse.  The venerable Elder, obviously aware of deep
conflicts not resolved in Levoi, also senses a very special quality in him.

It isn't long before Levoi, with help from Crow Horse and implicit
suggestion from Grandpa Sam Reaches -- a critic of the corrupt tribal
administration -- begins to slowly realize that there may be another agenda,
primary and sub rosa, on the part of his FBI superior in close conjunction
with the crafty and violent tribal chair, Jack Milton [played by Fred Ward,
also part-Indian] who has a legion of gun-waving goons. The nature of this
sinister scheme is sharpened specifically by a young, attractive and sharply
sensitive school teacher, Maggie Eagle Bear [Sheila Tousey] who has
discovered that a major river on the res is being polluted by uranium
spill-off.  Levoi is drawn, deeply and almost subconsciously, to her.

Along the trail, the name of a historic holy man is told to him by Grandpa Sam Reaches -- Thunderheart,
who was among the hundreds of unarmed victims of the United States Army's
Wounded Knee Massacre in late December, 1890. 

And it is clear that the Elder sees Ray Levoi in the most direct, personal sense as Thunderheart.

In a major juncture,  Levoi in his vehicle falls suddenly into a very strange and deep sleep.
And in that state, he is suddenly running desperately with the other
Indians, men and women and children, away from gun-shooting cavalrymen.  He
and the other Indians die.  He awakens, visibly shaken.
 

Compelled, Levoi now visits the graveyard at Wounded Knee where these
many victims lie buried.  On an old stone memorial are carved the names of
many of the leading targets of the Army on that horrific day and, as he
reads down the list, Levoi notes, in stunned and profoundly empathetic
fashion, the name, Thunderheart.

He tells his "dream" of running and death  to an astonished, but not really surprised Crow Horse.
"That was no dream," his friend tells him.  "That was a vision."  And he
explains to Levoi that that comes only rarely and not to everyone.

And by now, increasingly critical of the FBI arrogance he is seeing, coupled
with mounting evidence of FBI frame-up endeavors, Ray Levoi, drawn powerfully
and irreversibly by his Native side and expanding consciousness, quietly
crosses the line into the Indian World.

By moon-lit night Crow Horse takes him to a special remote area to explore
the presence of nefariously and dangerously disturbed uranium -- of which
they find plenty of evidence.  It's clearly obvious in the add-up that a
small handful of self-seekers, including his FBI superior Coutelle and
tribal chair Jack Milton and outside entrepreneurs, are planning to secure
and "develop" the yellow ore to enrich themselves --  at the expense of the
Indian people and the land and the water.

Suddenly seeing circling coyotes in the moonlight down in a draw, they
investigate further.  The coyotes flee, and the two men then see the body of
Maggie Eagle Bear -- recently shot -- lying in a shallow grave.

They return to a key reservation settlement where the final climactic
excitement mounts rapidly.  Coutelle and Milton, by now aware of the stance
of Levoi and Crow Horse who have just discovered another killing, arrive
accompanied by pickups full of armed goons.  Pursued, Levoi and Crow Horse
flee on obscure roads in Levoi's  vehicle while, in a CB radio conversation
with his one-time superior, Levoi traps Coutelle via a tape recording.
The flight takes the two into an especially sacred area.

The road ends close to a high, cliffy ridge and the Levoi car banks down in
a ditch.  The two men head on foot toward a complex of small canyons but
stop when an armed Coutelle, Milton, and the army of goons all level down on
them.  In a tense, terse colloquy between Levoi and Coutelle, the latter
offers to receive Levoi back into the Fold along with an attractive deal.

If Levoi hesitates, it's only for a split second before walking over a few
steps and publicly affirming his stance with Crow Horse -- and the People's
cause.

Guns -- many of them -- are now aimed directly and purposefully at the two.

And then, to the sound of traditional singing, many of the People appear
over the up close ridges with their own guns -- appropriately aimed.
Grandpa Sam Reaches is obviously a major leader in this dramatically timely
appearance.

The other side wilts.  It's clear that the Sun has won.

In a few short scenes, before Ray Levoi heads out to publicly expose the
uranium schemes, Elder Grandpa Sam Reaches and the young man exchange
meaningful gifts in the context of solid relationship.  Solid too, are the
ties between Levoi and Walter Crow Horse who reminds the now most likely
ex-FBI agent that he can always come back to the res.  And, with specific
reference to the Wounded Knee massacre, he tells Levoi, "You were there,
Ray."

The Land -- the setting -- is very real. The acting, consistently excellent,
is mostly done by Indians. Almost all  of the depicted homes and
settlements, and many of the vehicles, fit the economically marginal nature
of nearly all Indian reservations.

The themes are obviously powerful and are handled sensitively and well in
authentic fashion:  Ray Levoi's ultimately well resolved and not uncommon
between-two-worlds socio-cultural identity conflict, and the struggle to
preserve the Earth and prevent the desecration of It and  The People. The
frequent complexities of tribal factionalism -- bureaucracy with hovering
outside corporate interests opposed by strong and vital traditionalism with
vigorous traditional approaches -- are set forth with accuracy.

And Vision -- always rare and usually with great personal meaning:  No
Indian would ever have any problem with that.

___________________________________________________________

hunter,

this was filmed during the period when we were living in n.d.
together, you, me, john, etc -- it was during the drought year --
'89? -- which you can see from the dryness of the foliage in the film.

at the same time, or in roughly that timeframe, the director michael
apted (british) filmed "incident at ogalalla," the documentary (narr.
robt redford) about peltier.  if i recall rightly, the funding for
the documentary was tied into the funding for the film -- something
like, ok, we'll give you $$ for "incident" if you also bring us a
hollywood movie.

i've often thought that of course it would take a british director to
reduce this whole thing to its elements.  my favorite scene is when
maggie says (something like), you want to solve some crimes?  here
they are -- 200 uninvestigated murders of traditionals.
knock yourself out.

i always like that, since joe killsright stuntz's killer was never
prosecuted (june 26, 1975).

hope yr well and lkg fwd to a good 06,

kass [fleisher]  12/31/05

____________________________________________________________
 
Just wanted to let you know that.
Sorry not much for words on the net.
I like to read and learn.
 
Joanne  12/30/05
 
___________________________________________________________________
 
Thanks for the review of Thunderheart; I'll try to find it and see it.

I certainly follow some of your activities/thoughts/friendships through the SNCC List Serve (with great enjoyment), but since you suggest we stay in touch, I'll send you a booklet that my husband organized for my 60th birthday (on Dec 15 of this year). It gives some flavor of some of the organizing I've been involved with over the years (and continue to do).
 
Your words and your work continue to inspire.
 
Thanks. And to your better health and better times in the new year.
 
Heather [Booth]  12/30/05
 
________________________________________________________________
 
Your review convinced me. I ordered the video tonight.
Thomas Armstrong  12/30/05

______________________________________________________________________

 
A bit part, schoolteacher, in the early moments of the movie is filled
by Candy Hamilton, a veteran of the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense
Committee (and one of several people who I shared a house with in
Atlanta before that).

- Reber Boult
  1/01/06

___________________________________________________________________

FROM AN INDIAN FRIEND VIA E-MAIL, WHOSE PATH HAS
CROSSED MINE NUMEROUS TIMES OVER HALF A CENTURY
WITHOUT OUR EVER MEETING, AND WITH WHOM I FINALLY
SPOKE, OVER A THOUSAND-MILE DISTANCE (POCATELLO,
IDAHO) ON MY NOV. 25 KPFA BROADCAST A FEW WEEKS
AGO, WHEN I INTERVIEWED HIM. IT MAY BE HEARD AT
KPFA.ORG/ARCHIVES. HIS WEB SITE AND MAILING LISTS
ARE REMARKABLE FOR THEIR CONTENT AND THE HUMAN
BEING THEY REVEAL.

Bill Mandel  1/02/06 -- To a friend of his with my review of Thunderheart

_________________________________________________________________________________

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

NORTH DAKOTA JUSTICE MATTERS [HUNTER BEAR   1/03/06]

 

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: January 3 2006

 
The following involves a letter to me from a former student and a long-time
friend.  He is a Sioux from one of the North Dakota reservations.
Presently at Fargo, ND, he has been having a tough time pursuing
social justice issues, against steep odds.  But he is a determined and
sensible young guy and has stayed well with the fight.  Here is
 my letter to him.  I might add that he concluded his letter with these kind words which I much appreciate:
 
" You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers.  It is my greatest hope that
you prevail in vanquishing this lupus disease from your physical body.
Having you here on this earth means so much to all the people who find
strength in their fight for social justice through your many accomplishments
and continued fortitude.  Keep up the good fight !!!

Your student and fellow agitator,"

R.

Dear R: [from Hunter Bear]

I have been hearing lately from a number of former students -- UND and
Tougaloo especially -- and I am always very glad indeed to hear again from
you.  I gather winter hasn't been that bad -- so far -- in the Northern
Plains.

You have done, and are doing, all of the appropriate things in an obviously
very difficult situation -- and  are handling them well.  It's important
always to remember that the good results of our best efforts may not always
be immediately noticeable -- and the Adversaries, if they can avoid it,
don't ever want to admit to us [or perhaps to anyone] that they have made
positive changes as a result of our tenacity.  Point is, you are having, I
am certain, much more of a solid effect than you realize.  You have kept at
it, with commendable stubbornness -- raising the issues sharply and clearly
in many forums and pushing at the grassroots.

These are obviously hard times for social justice nationally -- and
certainly in North Dakota which does its best to remain oblivious to
injustice.  This has certainly been very true in Grand Forks and Fargo.
Frankly, our long and hard-fought campaign at Devils Lake and Ramsey
County -- a setting you know only too well -- in the latter 1980s, was
"helped" substantially because we were fighting a bunch of openly red-neck
adversaries:  that surreal prosecutor, Lew Jorgenson, with whom I clashed in
District Court for two hours during an Indian trial [when I appeared as
defense witness] and frequently elsewhere in various and many other local
settings, the awful police chief and his legions, the so-called sheriff,
very dubious highway patrolmen, motels that were flagrantly ignoring the
1964 Civil Rights Act -- with the mayor being only somewhat better.  We won
the basic issues there -- and, tough as it was, it was made all the easier
because "they" could have been lifted right out of the 1950s.

The Forks -- and especially Fargo -- are slicker, smoother.  Sometimes it's
like pushing swampy mud.  But it is the same basic system.  In the end, the
business community -- at Devils Lake disturbed by a growing boycott and the
town's tumbling "image" -- is always, often behind the scenes, a key factor
[however slowly and reluctantly] in pressuring the political piece of it to
give ground.  Everything that you have been doing publicly [and otherwise]
helps facilitate that core interaction.  [As I mentioned earlier, you could
easily find that a well done website of yours would be a significantly
helpful dimension in all of this.]  Has the Fargo Forum written anything
about this?  It does have, as I understand it, at least some socially
conscious people on its staff.

As I've mentioned previously in passing, we had a really rough time here at
Pocatello when we came in '97.  Our neighbors were just fine and certainly
continue to be -- but the "lawmen" especially, and other forces as well,
were hostile, and tangibly so, for years.  Clearly, they wanted us out and
we didn't leave.  We did much on many fronts, our website was launched in
early 2000 and grew rapidly in size and clientele, and -- in time -- we were
no longer followed everywhere by the cops, interference on our phone seemed
to wane, our mail was finally delivered on time with packages undamaged,
etc.  It took several years and, along the way, for whatever reason,
Pocatello got a much better police chief from outside the local system
[actually, from Maryland.]

I had to "watch my back" constantly and I still do.  But the high water mark
of danger has receded significantly.  In your case, you want to continue to
be careful, while still doing what you feel you need to do.  But there where
you are, like here and in many other settings, your public exposure can
often serve as protection from hostile forces which are frequently
fundamentally cowardly in nature.  But it can also attract surreptitious
lightning, from the shadows.  So, again, vigilance always.

While, in our situation here, I wrote many letters, talked in many settings,
made formal complaints etc., I was unable to get any help of any kind from
the Idaho ACLU.  Your experience with the North Dakota affiliate sounds
identical.  Until about 1992, most of the ACLU affiliates and branches in
the Western and Plains states were congenially grouped in the Rocky Mountain
Office of ACLU at Denver.  A fine woman, Dorothy Davidson, coordinated and
appropriated resources and made helpful lawyer contacts, etc., from
Denver -- for all of us.  In 1984, the late prof. Doug Wills [president of
the ND ACLU branch] and I contacted her on behalf of the defendants and the
Cause in the Native American Church/peyote case which developed -- as you
will probably recall, the years are moving ahead like jackrabbits! -- on
your res, out of Ft Totten.  She immediately provided topflight legal
defense from Boulder, CO which joined our committed local attorneys -- and
the criminal case was totally won in Judge Benson's Federal Court at Grand
Forks in November, '84. And in other things, Dorothy Davidson was most
helpful.  I became a member of the steering committee of the ND ACLU, it
related well to the Denver office -- but, in 1992 or so, Ms Davidson moved
toward retirement and national ACLU decentralized everything onto a state
basis. I was among those very leery of that move.  From that point on, with
the exception of the Federal voting rights case on behalf of Native people
in South Dakota, the Dakotas [now merged] ACLU affiliate hasn't done
anything much of which I've heard.   And, as I say, despite blatantly
anti-civil rights and anti-civil libertarian stuff hereabouts, the Idaho
branch from our standpoint has been a washout. On the other hand, there are
affiliates, like that of New Mexico -- which has long ACLU traditions and
resources -- and which does a solid job.

I'm genuinely sorry that Jennifer Ring is not responding.  Her father would
have.

New York, which abounds with many, many good folks, is a hell of a big metro
region [almost a megalopolis] in which it's easy to get lost.  It is also
very expensive in which to live.  If you were to ultimately move from North
Dakota, I'd suggest giving a good look at Albuquerque.  Lots of Indians and
Indian doings, and with a very livable climate -- actually, pretty warm most
of the time.  Big as its gotten, I've never had a really "big city" feel
when I have been there.  Ain't perfect, but not bad at all.  When I was in
my mid-teens, and our family was returning to Flagstaff from a visit at
several points north of Albuquerque, my parents let me drive through the
then small city on Highway 66 [now an Interstate and pretty much bypass.]
So I have always remembered Albuquerque fondly.

[I assume, when you mention New York, you mean NYC and environs.  However,
upstate New York does have some very livable situations.  Rochester, where
we lived for a couple of years, comes immediately to mind -- as does
Syracuse.  But Lots of snow!]

On Native curriculum:  I always have some thoughts and will be very glad to
respond to any specific questions.  I also suggest contacting the National
Indian Education Association -- note the "Indian" specificity -- and ask for
appropriate materials.  Latest address data for NIEA is,

National Indian Education Association
110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Suite 104
Washington, D.C. 20002

Phone: (202) 544-7290
Fax: (202) 544-7293

On our website:  Go, as you know, to the Directory/Index
http://www.hunterbear.org/directory.htm
Simply scroll down a ways for the latest posts.  The upper part of the
Directory/Index has key announcements, etc., and the new posted stuff begins
immediately below those.  There are some brand new things, and everything in
the Site has, of course, a date on it.

I am posting portions of your account and my letter in a couple of small and
select e-mail discussion lists where everyone is a friend of mine.
Following my general rule in activist matters, I am shortening your name to
a couple of initials in order to maintain your anonymity.  This info is
useful for people interested in social justice matters who are open to
awareness of situations such as yours -- and your good work.

Keep in close touch.  You are a good and effective fighter.  We will keep
each other posted. And success will be ours in the long run -- if not
before!

Take care, amigo, and all best wishes.  John or Hunter or Anything at All

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Check out our big page on the art and practice of Community Organizing
http://www.hunterbear.org/my_combined_community_organizing.htm

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]
 

ENCOUNTER WITH BILL MANDEL [KPFA RADIO, BERKELEY]  POSTED 11/26/05 [BASIC TOPIC OF MY TALK:  NATIVE AMERICANS]

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: 11/26/05

One of the most positive dimensions of our discovery of the Net and e-mail
has been my meeting thereby a great number of very fine people -- some of
whom I have personally known, some of whom I have heard in years past,
others brand new friends.  One of these great many souls has been Bill
Mandel.  A special name and good works not unknown to me over the decades,
we met first on the Marxist List several years ago and Eldri and I soon
obtained and read his fine book, Saying No To Power [1999] -- which covers
much of Bill's radical saga in the context of rich global travels,
observation, and interpretation.  It was clear even before I read that
monumental work that our respective trails had touched at many significant
junctures.

When he asked me awhile back to interview/speak November 25th on his well
known radio program at KPFA, out of Berkeley, I was most glad to do so.  I
haven't, I should add, been in the Bay Area since I spoke at the San
Francisco Press Club years ago. [I've attached an excerpt from his
post-interview message to me.]

The realm, history, contemporary challenges of the people known as American
Indians or Native Americans [the latter term formally embraces, of course,
Eskimos/Inuit and Aleuts as well], makes up a Big Mountain Range indeed.  I
should add that, like many of us, I tend to use these two terms
interchangeably -- along with that of First People.

I try to be a reasonably well organized speaker and Bill, of course, is an
excellent host who, avoiding the extremes of non-directiveness and
interference, walks a judiciously fine and spare and thoughtfully effective
path.  In addition to  brief mention of my critical view of "Thanksgiving,"
I was able to cover the mountain peaks we deem especially significant: among
them,  the multiplicity of tribal nations and tribal cultures, primary
Native loyalty thereto, and the consistent and effective Native resistance
to assimilation by the so-called Euro-American mainstream culture. I sought
to delineate key issues such as the necessity of development of tribal
self-determination within the context of treaty rights and the importance of
those rights; the fight to restore lost sovereignty to the Indian nations;
the critical importance of protecting Native lands and natural resources;
the always high priority of tribal economic development and the deepening
and broadening of Native health services and strengthening and expansion of
Indian educational systems.

In the course of this I sketched something of my own Indian background:
growing up in Northern Arizona and Western New Mexico with always extremely
close ties to Navajo Nation and Laguna Pueblo; important multi-ethnic
influences; my shooting of the Great Bear as a coming-of-age ritual; life
long social justice community organizing; my father; our historic family
ancestral culture models --  John Gray [Ignace Hatchiorauquasha] and
Marienne Neketichon Gray, Mohawk activists in the Far Western fur trade.  In
a quick discussion of theology, I was glad to say a good and balanced word
for the Jesuits, their frequent respect for the Native cultures, and the
resultant phenomenon of syncretism -- the blending of Catholicism with the
traditional theologies.

[Got Tougaloo College and Navajo Community College [now Dine' College] very
nicely into all of this!]

 Expressing our own gratitude for the fact that I have been able to work
effectively and with cultural sensitivity with people of a range of
racial/cultural backgrounds over many epochs, I pushed [as always]
grassroots community organizing as Genesis -- sensibly militant and tough
and democratic with the critical two dimensional focus: the here-and-now
needs of the people, and the Vision Over the Mountains Yonder.

Took a shot at capitalism and spoke well of socialism.  And I closed with
that most basic current of all in the ethos of all of the Native tribal
nations:  The primary emphasis on serving one's community -- rather than
serving one's self.

Now this was all a very big meal -- if I do say so myself -- and it was
inclusively possible because Bill Mandel is a Host of the first rank.  Got
all of this in with deliberate speed and without an ounce of "preachiness."

I was also very pleased to mention our support for continuation of his
excellent radio program on KPFA.  For that struggle, past and current,
please see:
http://www.struggle-and-win.net/

FROM BILL MANDEL: 11/25/05

Hunter:
     Thanks from the bottom of my heart for appearing on my
show. The board operator seems to have hung up before it was
possible for me to say anything privately.
     The listeners must have been puzzled by both of us in
one respect. They have all heard the tapes of my encounters
with witch-hunters, on which I come across as one tough
character. Likewise, I think they found it hard to relate
the calm and even gentle academic I was talking to, with the
man with the bloody head and pistol in his hand I
described, plus your mention of the unnamed disease you are
now fighting.
     If they have thought about it, I imagine they realize
that they were listening to two elders in the positive
traditional sense of the term, men who've seen it all and
feel no need to raise their voices with another whose
experiences have been more or less equally rich.

[It sounds like a wonderful and useful exchange. Thanks to both Bill and Hunter!
best,
sam [friedman]  11/27/05

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:  12/24/05

My family and I very much appreciate these kind words and Links by Robert
Livingston.  It's a pleasant Holiday message indeed -- up here in our rather
isolated Idaho mountain existence.  It was more than just pleasant to be on
Bill's very capably conducted KPFA radio broadcast: it was an honor and an
opportunity to be effective in the Cause.  We are, again, most appreciative
to Bill and to Mr Livingston.  Our very best, H


Dear Bill Mandel, Riva Enteen, Hunter Gray, and Maria Gilardin,

I hope you do not mind me writing you all as a bunch.

I just listened to the last three programs of "Thinking Out Loud":

* The November 25th program interviewing Hunter Gray (John R. Salter).
As a child I loved the same book about Father Nicolas Point that Gray
mentioned ("Wilderness Kingdom".)

    (For personal reasons, I particularly liked what he said about grass
    roots organizing with an analogy to rivers:
    http://www.indybay.org/news/2005/09/1770293.php)

* The December 9th program in which the discussion was about the war ,
Cindy Sheehan's fascinating prospects, and hopeful impeachment of Bush.

* The December 23rd program about privatization of education-- what
could have been a more productive topic for our youth?  This was an
extremely valuable program.

You may be curious as to how I accessed these three programs when they
are not displayed at the KPFA archives.  I am no technical guru-- but I
figured out that all of KPFA's programs have archived numbers, and I
simply guessed which ones belonged to the programs.

They are:

http://157.22.130.4/data/20051125-Fri1430.mp3
http://157.22.130.4/data/20051209-Fri1430.mp3
http://157.22.130.4/data/20051223-Fri1430.mp3

I use Linux with an mplayer plug-in; for some reason, the streaming mp3s
stopped abruptly midway through each program, but I was able to save the
entire programs by going to the temporary storage of the download on my
computer hard drive and relabelling it as an mp3 file.  Thus, I was able
to hear the entire prorams.  While listening, I became especially
incensed recalling the attacks against Bill on the internet (calling him
an "egotist")-- how far from the truth.

It is a shame that few people may ever hear these programs.  I certainly
hope that Bill will explore other opportunities to broadcast in some
other form.

A special note to Hunter Gray:

I am glad Bill Mandel had you as a guest.  I hope to read your book
about Jackson, Mississippi-- and I very much am enjoying exploring your
website.  I am sorry that you have not been well.  I will take your
words to heart:  "Always Keep Fighting!"

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Robert B. Livingston
San Francisco
http://www.geocities.com/gruaudemais/confetti_page.html


HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Check out our big page on the art and practice of Community Organizing
http://www.hunterbear.org/my_combined_community_organizing.htm

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]

HUNTER BEAR RESPONSE TO A QUESTION: NATIVES AND POLITICS  12/23/05

Ward Churchill's failings speak for themselves.  Many of us, frankly, are
really tired of that issue. Please do your own research, C., on that
one.

Almost all Native Americans involved as office-holders in American electoral
politics are Democrats.  Southwestern legislatures -- e.g., Arizona and New
Mexico -- have had a number of American Indians, in most cases Navajo, since
the passage and implementation and the powerfully good impact of the 1965
Voting Rights Act which, among other things, eliminates so-called "literacy
tests" and provides for bi-lingual assistance at the polls.  There are many
other examples of elected Native people, again mostly Democrats, in the
so-termed mainline American stream in a number of settings and this has
included at several points the U.S. House.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell switched from Democrat to Republican during the
Clinton administration -- and, given the nature of that Democratic mess, no
one can blame him.  In instances where there are or have been Republican
office holders who are Native, their Republicanism is almost always quite
moderate in nature.  A case in point who Beba will remember is our good
friend in North Dakota, Art Raymond, Rosebud Sioux.  North Dakota
Republicanism, I should add, has never been stridently conservative. On rare
occasions, I have -- with no apologies -- supported local Republicans in
North Dakota. At several points in the now increasingly distant past, the
national Republican Party showed more interest in supporting Native
self-determination than did the Democrats -- though the national Republican
commitment to honoring the  treaty rights -- absolutely crucial to the
Native world -- has always been consistently thin.

[We consider self-determination in the context of fully maintained treaty
rights to be fundamentally critical -- always and with no exceptions.
Maximum sovereignty for the Indian nations is an extremely key dimension.]

A few years ago, the excellent Larry Echohawk, Pawnee, a Democrat, was
elected AG of Idaho -- and, in the subsequent election, came extremely close
to winning this state's gubernatorial race.

 In recent decades, the national Democratic Party has been somewhat -- I say
somewhat -- more responsive to Native concerns.  In 2000, the Nader effort
with Winona LaDuke [White Earth Chippewa]  as his running mate, attracted a
significant number of Native voters [including me and most of our family].
Most Native voters in 2004 supported Kerry and Edwards. [I, however, here in
Idaho, wrote in the Socialist Party USA candidates.]

Many of us welcome any increased sensitivity by any political party to our
concerns -- but the from the Republicans little is now expected.  And now
and for the foreseeable future, the Democrats have the great majority of
Native "mainline" voters.

There is a deep and basic unity among Native Americans -- but any surface
stereotyping, including political, is quite risky.  And many Native people
are far more interested, frankly, in our own elections -- tribal, Indian
centers, Native programs etc. -- than those in an alien world.

Yours, Hunter Bear

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Check out our big page on the art and practice of Community Organizing
http://www.hunterbear.org/my_combined_community_organizing.htm

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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