Good Luck, Hunter. I wish there was something I could do to help. Stay in
touch and in the best possible health. Remember, our thoughts are with you.

Steven F. McNichols  9/27/05
268 Bush Street, #3602
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503
Hi Mr. & Mrs. Salter,
Now I know . I shant ask about the Wolf again but take you at your word that you'll let us know if something different occurs.
I'm sad ,however, that I missed your visit to Chicago two years ago when you were the guest speaker @ the Chicago Ethical Society.


Love, Mary Ann [Hall/Winters]   9/27/05
Great news Hunter !


Simply great news.  You may turn into some sort of poster person for those
who don't wish to lie down to something as hard-nosed as Lupus - I say that
with the greatest respect but also a touch of fun.  Sounds like the work you
and your family have been doing is positive and productive and it is
reflected in your writing and your overall energy you have right now.

May it continue to get better and better for you and your family.
Thank you for your friendship over the years.  I continue to have the
highest respect for you, Hunter.  Thank you.

All the best.
Walk in Beauty, Peace. Scott [Colborn]   9/27/05
Hi Hunter,

My best in your struggle,

Kevin [Henke]  9/27/05


long fight, high flight
soar comrade soar!

Dale [Jacobson]    9/27/05
You're a very brave man, Hunter Bear.
My best wishes are with you.

Your Comrade,
George Kropog  9/28/05

"That will never happen to me."

Words from the immortal
        Hunter Bad Bear Gray
Joyce Ladner  September  28  2005
Oh John, your email news brings me much sadness that you have had to
endure so much fright and discomfort, and yet with your closing and
new resolution to be around and active for a long time to come, I am
so pleased and relieved.  You are a man, a person, and yet you have
always seemed so much bigger to me.  I send you and your wonderful
family a ton of love and positive vibes, and from my 3-legged cat,
Spencer, a warm greeting to your bobkitty and the others.  . .  .

Michelle Kozel   September 28 2005

Your honesty, optimism and indomitable spirit is so moving.  You keep on keeping on, and more, you shine and inspire.
Hopes and prayers and good wishes to you and yours,
Heather  [Booth]   September 28  2005

If wishes have any impact on reality, the good thoughts of all of us will have you walking mountains and petting lion mountains for decades to come.

sam [friedman]  9/28/05

I sent a few lines that I later realized were a little poem for Hunter.

I should have put the following title on it:


Long fight, high flight.
Soar, comrade, soar!

(let Sam's wonderful words be true-- Dale)  9/28/05
 Dear Hunter,

    It was good to hear from you and to learn that your condition seems to be improving.  I'm happy to hear that you will be with us for the foreseeable future.
     I remain busy researching Betty's UFO files and preparing them for the Special Collections at the UNH Library.  It has taken up a great deal of my time but I'm pleased to say that I am nearly finished. 
     I had mentioned to you that a UFO interested medical doctor friend had expressed an interest in your condition.  He is very nice and interested in social justice issues.  Would you object to my forwarding your message to him?
     Best wishes to Eldri and you.

Kathy  [Marden]   9/28/05   [Kathy is the niece of the late Betty Hill of Portsmouth, N.H. -- a very dear friend of Eldri and me for many years.  H.]
And great indeed is the man who can pet mountains!

Yes, already as autumn sweeps down on us, we look for spring and the first
word on it from Hunter.

David [McReynolds]  9/28/05
Thanks for the report, Hunter Bear!  I think that we are about to see the
Bush administration implode -- and you sure as hell don't want to miss that!
Chuck [Levenstein]  9/28/05


Keep the spark alive, and it is clear it is there. You are a kind of
miracle in defying what
had seemed so terminal.

The news from you is good - from everywhere else it isn't so hot, whether
New Orleans or Iraq
or the White House. So you are needed. Prepare for your walk in the early

David McReynolds  9/28/05


What a rich report.
I feel... How does a man express affection ? Directly.

So here's an intense trap- but- not- bone breaking bear hug.

A great thunderous, deep welling, echoing, crashing and cascading  YES to you my brother.

Tim  [McGowan]  9/28/05
You're an example of tenacity and determination to all of
us, Hunter. I don't think you'll leave us in the lurch.
William (Bill) Mandel  9/29/05
It sounds as if you're managing the Lupus as well as can
be expected.  I have bitter memories of Prednisone.
Those high dosages really affected my cognitive
reasoning, and yes I was the proverbial chipmunk with
the fat cheeks.  My appetite was enormous with the
drugs.  But you saw how I dropped weight while in
college which was about three years after the fact (if
I recall correctly).  The college years for the most
part are all a blur to me. . .  But certain things I really enjoyed
stand out in my memory such as our conversations.  I
remember it took me years to recover/develop my
cognitive skills while in Chemical Engineering
program.  As I look back it seems like a miracle I was
able to complete it.

If you're dropping weight now then you'll drop even
more as the months go by.  About two years ago I found
that nutritional protein supplements (only containing
egg whey, nothing else) helped to curb my appetite.
My body demands protein so I would have to eat large
quantities of food to get enough.  With the whey
supplement I get the protein only, and have cut down
on the extraneous calories.  Might be worth exploring.
 It also changed my diet, I can now enjoy salads,
balsalmic vinegar, European cheeses, things that never
appealed to me before.  But I can now eat sensibly and
maintain a 175 lb weight.

I'm in Khartoum again.  Not too bad a place all things
considered.  Take care and keep hiking.  I'm also
starting to do as much of that as possible.
Eric M.   9/29/05

Good to hear that no news means good news.
Keep on keeping on.

Jay Schaffner   9/29/06
Hi Hunter Bear:
I have just finished the journey through the disease lupus in your powerful and moving style. I am deeply hopeful that your progress will continue on the trail towards well being. We need your voice and spirit with us in the struggle to overthrow imperial capitalism. Hug Eldri, wish the boy a successful medical school career and the rest of the family good health and prosperity.
In Struggle, Colia   [Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark]  9/29/05


Golly Hunter, It seems that your whole universe is
experiencing and responding to your condition. Tis an
inspiration to all of us who must go from something to
nothing sometime sooner or later, your posts are a
true blessing to us all.

A dear friend said to me many years ago that we do not
need to send our bodys to Mars, that we could go there
through our minds. As your thoughts spin an swirl
through this universe we can only wonder where these
thoughts will wind up. Yours, will indeed be around
and around forever thanks to this World Wide Web that
Spyder Woman said would come. That you are Chosen to
send these missives to the future is amazing and we
are indeed privdliged to participate in. If I should
survive you I will not stand at your grave and weep, I
will log-on and read of the world that was and how you
wanted this world to be better for your passing
through it.  Next.

We doubt that everyone bitten by a rabid wolf dies,
many survive to tell their tale.

Best always,
Bob Gately  10/05/05


I deeply enjoyed your dream connecting an old west outlaw with Medusa
hair as being Lupus.  It places you with a scope outside of the
illness which I believe is crucial to your recovery.

Your student,
Andrew Braunberger  10/10/05

very glad to hear you feeling almost human.  ending prednisone would
do that!!  very good.  keep marching.  xo
Kass Fleisher  10/10/05

Hunter, Please know that Susan and I pray for you daily. If
there is a more "this world thing" we can do please ask.
Your Friend and Comrade, Gabe Ross  10/21/05



John Salter [Beba] to Redbadbear Discussion:  10/24/05

Existentialism is the only sane response to the world in which we live. Any
other lens is fogged and defective.


A response from Hunter Bear on RBB:  10/24/05

You can make a good case for existentialism -- but only if the
interpretation goes beyond "mere" individualism and is affirmatively open to
working effectively in solidarity with those of tangible good will toward a
vastly better world and, in that context, vastly improved individual
well-being.  My father, as you well know, was interested in
existentialism -- and even I read William Barrett's excellent book in the
late '50s:  Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy.  I should
add, in case you have forgotten, that Samantha Salter [your niece, of
course] made at barely three years of age, the totally out of the blue
observation that, "We don't exist because we want to exist.  We exist
because we exist."

Best, H


From Hunter Bear,  Early evening of September 27, 2005  [Cool/cold weather
in Eastern Idaho]

I'm not going to consistently take up lots of time dwelling on my war with
Systemic Lupus -- but, for family and friends and others interested, I am
certainly game to provide relevant information and insight. Unless something
unusual occurs, this will be all from me on this for some time.

Any type of Lupus is quite dangerous, Systemic Lupus [SLE] is definitely so,
and my version of SLE is an especially virulent one.  It was difficult to
diagnose. It attacked my major organs: liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and
blood and vascular system, joints, skin, feet. It has been accompanied by
almost lethal collateral factors -- e.g., profound cardiac arrest on two
occasions [in the context of acute Lupus anemia] while under anesthesia when
medics were involved in giving me a non-productive diagnostic colonoscopy.
Then there was a deep [and as initially and briefly seen, irreversible] coma
induced by a weird psuedo-diabetic condition where my blood sugar count
jumped to almost a thousand. [Walking somehow on my own power into the
doctor's office, I then collapsed.] And there was more indeed. All of this
led several medical professionals and friends and some family to doubt that
I could make it through the winter of 2003-2004.  But, although there is
much hostile SLE turf on all sides of me, I am learning the landmarks and
trails and, of course, I am a very, very tough thug.

[Lupus is genetic.  Natives and other "minorities" are especially vulnerable
to it -- as are younger women. But it can strike anyone.]

It is obvious in retrospect that I had a moderate version of SLE back in
very early 1966.  Avoiding medics, I kept going and suppressed that over
several weeks and, while there were a few odd flare-ups of Whatever things
in the decades to come, I kept right on doing all of the things -- teaching,
social justice organizing and activism -- that I deemed worthwhile. [I
should add that, between 1988 and the summer of 2003, I took not even one
aspirin.]  In early October 2002, Thomas took a color photo of me sitting on
our couch right here.  Although we didn't notice it at that time, a
subsequent and recent inspection of it indicates, clearly and explicitly, a
classic SLE red, upper chest rash. [After we noticed that, we posted the
print on our website for a couple of weeks, and notified people
accordingly.]  Just before the time of the photo, October 2002, I had been
hiking several miles regularly each day for years in the rough wild hill
country immediately above our home.  But in mid-September, 2002, I expanded
my traveling turf to six miles daily round-trip, in extremely rough, ridgey,
steep-trail and precipice-type country, and did that regularly each day in
the pre-dawn darkness.

In February 2003, I began to occasionally notice the rash but paid no
attention to it and continued my regimen of very rugged-country hiking.  In
late April and early May, 2003, Eldri and I and the Rash junketed by Jeep to
Chicago where I was the special Founder's Day speaker on social justice
organizing [and also conducted a workshop on Native challenges as well] --
under the aegis of the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago [Ethical
Culture.]  On the way home, I drove straight through from the Fargo area to
Pocatello in one fell swoop: 21 hours -- and the latter portion involved
hours of intricate mountain driving on dark, narrow roads.  The full trip
totaled 3700 miles in nine states and I had no problem doing it.

And then, in early July, 2003, the SLE Sky fell on me -- hard and
pervasively.  I avoided any doctors until  very early September.  Then,
nearly dying several times, I was hospitalized on three occasions, had cat
scans, dozens of X-Rays, a bone marrow test, countless blood tests, much
more.  After that, we settled down to just plain [and generally house-bound]
fighting -- day-by-day efforts to simply survive.  Eventually I was able to
take comparatively limited hikes up into rough country and drive short
distances down into town for groceries.

My feet had grown from Size 12 in 1988 to Size 15 in 1999. In 2004, they
went to Size 16.  And they may now be reaching toward Size 17.  Lowa
Mountain Boots will be able to declare a dividend on this.

And we may now have come to a point where my natural optimism is higher than
it's ever been since this Malevolent Specter openly grabbed and sought to
drain away my very life.
Yesterday, September 26, we spent a long time with my primary physician who
had entered my situation immediately after SLE was conclusively diagnosed in
late October 2003. We knew this would be a major juncture.  First thing in
the morning, Josie drove Eldri and me since Thomas and Mimie are at Duluth,
Minnesota where Thomas is now very well launched in the Med School at
University of Minnesota. [Among other things, it has a fine program for
Native students.]  Our doc gave me a very thorough checkover and found
nothing especially amiss outwardly, although I have been occasionally very
tired and weak and sometimes wobbly in the knees and legs.  The skin on my
lower legs has become dark brown -- possibly related to limited
circulation -- and we have replaced my traditional short socks and their
strong elastic with long and essentially non-binding socks.

My feet, once stiff as boards, now have a very slowly increasing life.

We have been slowly reducing my major anti-SLE drug, Prednisone, [which was
once as high as 80 mgs per day] and substituting 400 mgs of Plaquenil in its
stead.  The Prednisone, a steroid, was down to 2.5  when we ended it totally
today, after our Monday medical visit.  Pred had caused me to gain much
weight, contract pseudo-diabetes, encouraged higher blood pressure, and it
can threaten -- rot -- bone structure.  As we have faded it out, the
diabetes has disappeared and blood pressure and blood sugar have returned to
normal. I have thus far lost 20 pounds in three months and am shooting to
lose 25 more.

My face is essentially Me again and I can once more wear my favorite
shirt -- a bluish, moderately heavy Western " brushpopper"  with Native-type
designs. It's my lucky shirt and I wore it to this medical appointment.
[Thomas will remember it from the long ago name change day -- when,
together, we picked up my district court order -- and Mack will recall it
from the in-color Bismarck Trib front-page photo.]  I plan to lose at least
25 more pounds.] In addition to ending Pred, the doctor has agreed we can
now end a few other things as well -- the high blood pressure stuff, ACTONEL
[bone safe-guard and strengthener].  In addition to the Plaquenil, I
continue to take a special protective medicine for kidneys, some other
things, and many vitamins.

At the conclusion of all of this, much blood indeed was taken for various
tests -- with especial emphasis on my internal SLE situation [and also to
formally confirm the passing of the pseudo-diabetes.]  That was Monday
mid-morning and we have heard nothing adverse so far.  [If tests are
essentially OK, we generally do not hear from our medic.  We did not draw
the impression that he expected anything adverse.]

I had a second major eye exam a month ago and everything is perfectly
normal.  No ill effects from the diabetes and the Plaquenil.

We hear now and then of possible new Lupus medicines -- and, if so, they
would be the first in over forty years.  But it's all rather mirage-like and
we count on nothing.  Something new is being tested [or readied for that] by
a very select number of specially approved rheumatologists around the
country.  There is apparently only one such physician in Idaho, in far away
Boise, and those SLE victims so selected for testing must also be OK'd by
the drug companies.  One person we know, from B.C., expects Canada to
approve this new medicine long before FDA in the 'States does so -- and she
may eventually go there or far abroad.  In the meantime, the Feds still
appropriate relatively little monies for meaningful and on-going Lupus

The concept of bodily death does not throw me -- and I don't think it ever
has. But while we can take nothing for granted with the Wolf Disease [how
unfair to the wolves themselves, whom I like much], and while many things
are still badly askew and things can still be quite grim on our end, I am
now convinced that I am going to Live on for a good spell. [The support of
my great family and many fine friends, my super loyal one half Bobcat cat,
and our other cats and our dogs has been absolutely critical.]  The
challenge now is -- as always -- to Live with increasing brightness and
social justice productiveness.  I have now met [and try to assist in various
ways] a number of very nice and good "Lupus people" some of whom [certainly
not all] seem drained and forever wan, with their Spark gone.

That will never happen to me.

Yours, Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]


[Some may recall that, back in the awful Summer of 2003 when I had become
very ill but was still not seeing any doctors of any kind, I had a night
dream in which I met my Disease 'way up in our hills.  He was a man with
snakes all over his head and face [apologies to our rattler buddies] and was
wearing a black suit and a black Stetson.  I drew my revolver, which I
indeed have right here, and shot him dead.]

Locally, I have been doing more walking.  I am pleased that is, coupled with
the end of Prednisone,  fast shedding my weight.  I do have to take things
carefully but now, with much colder weather hereabouts, our snake friends
are mostly in hibernation and Maria and I and Hunter [Shelty] can travel
especially safely through off-trail high grass and brush, rocks and timber.
[Most of the trails, I should add, are merely thin game trails.]  And in our
local Pine Ridge Mall this weekend for the first time for ages, I even felt
human.  Best, H



To Immediate Family in the Hinterland and Friends: [late afternoon,
Thursday, September 29, 2005]

No acknowledgment of this is needed -- but simply FYI.

No word on my blood tests from Dr Jones means Good News -- and there has
been silence.  When considerable blood was taken from me Monday mid-morning,
we did not draw the impression that he expected anything problematic.  I've
sweated out many really "sinister" tests since all this began -- but I stay
pretty cool [more so than some family members] and certainly did on this
round.  Our next appointment will thus be three months hence.  This should
reach all family, even with Mack [and Dawn] in Denver for an editor's
conference. [They took their laptop on the train.]

As Ever, H

 Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
In the mountains of Eastern Idaho
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Check out this significant honor: my 2005 Elder Recognition Award from
Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Story Tellers

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]



It's Fall in the West.  Here in the higher altitudes of the Mountain States,
the air is living-crispy during the days and the nights call for our wolf
robe or at least my colorful Pendleton blankets.  Occasional rain and some
snow are slowly bringing deer, elk, and moose down into the somewhat lower
winter ranges -- not far at all above us right here -- accompanied by lions,
bobcats, coyotes, even an occasional wolf. Bears are doing their final
fattening up for their long den-sleep -- which will carry them far
feelings-wise from oncoming cold weather with its cutting winds and
inevitable snow.  But now, the sky can be as blue as turquoise, the mornings
always promising good luck, and the slowly dimming early evenings with their
fading sunlight and faint haze and creeping chill have a strangely appealing
and mystical feel.  The nights can be downright witchy.

For me, it's the Time of my Coming of Age Bear.  And if, from here on out, I
do little more [and I hope I do a great deal], I plan to shoot, respectfully
and ritually so, a Final Big Bear who will join the First --as my special
companions for the eventual journey into the Fog and Deep Canyon, up over
the High Mountains, and Far Beyond.

SLE Lupus is a genetic and highly lethal disease which can affect anyone
although Natives, Chicanos, and Blacks -- as well as younger women -- are
especially vulnerable to it.  Federal research funding for Lupus continues
to fall 'way short.]

[First, a brief report on me et al. and then more on our friend and her use
of new experimental medicine for SLE.]

This is another detailed report from our friend, S., who is undergoing
Rituximab [Rituxin] treatment which, although approved for certain types of
blood cancers, is still in the experimental stage for SLE.  We saw her at a
small meeting eight days ago.  At that point, she was admittedly very tired
[as were all the SLE people.]  But she gave a fine oral summation of her
to-date experiences with the new drug.

For my part, I would not be accurate if I reported that medical things have
been good.  In addition to substantial fatigue and aching joints etc., an
odd rash has been trying to break out on my already partially discolored
legs, my feet are clumsy and occasionally throw off my balance slightly, and
early mornings and middle-of-the-nights are often bleak.  We were able to
spend an hour in the hills a few days ago -- and that, nowadays for me, is
no mean feat.

Extensive blood tests quite recently were OK, my eyes are deemed fine, and
the pseudo diabetes is gone.

As we have ended Prednisone [a steriod] and shifted to other medicines, my
weight is now returning to normal fairly fast. [The winds may blow,
snow may fall, and the world may pall -- but Vanity endures!]

Today, the excellent segment on the dying Bishop afflicted with SLE began
another re-run on ER.  It's very accurate and quite well acted and I always
watch it.  He is/was taking the same medicine that I am currently doing.
Eventually, after completing the ordination of a young priest and, by
example and subtle urging, drawing his young physician, a lapsed Catholic,
back into active Faith, the Bishop quietly and with a smile foregoes further
earthly struggle with SLE and passes into the Spirit World.

I have, as you know, received Last Rites from the Church [a little less than
two years ago.]

Thomas, again as you all know, began Med School at University of Minnesota
in June and is moving along well.  [They have been doing a good deal of
cadaver work.  Our young primary physician here, who knows Thomas [as do
they all since he accompanied me constantly], said -- on that one -- his own
personally recollective, "Poor guy!"]

[Thomas is at the Duluth branch of UM which has a very good Native program.
In a couple of years, he will be transferred to the main campus at

During Thomas' admission process, he was asked by one medical professor
following a brief discussion of my SLE, "What if he [me] decides to forego
further medicine and simply go into the woods to quietly die?"  I did not
press Thomas on what I am quite sure was his as always thoughtful response,
but I did ask him if he was satisfied with it -- and were his examiners.
Thomas responded in the affirmative.

Of course like "S," we fight on.  Most of us do.

From S. -  10/19/05
Tomorrow I'm off again for the Rituximab.  I thought that I would update you
on how this past week has gone.  The fever that I was experiencing when you
saw me last apparently was a reaction to the Rituxan and also due to my not
taking steroids.  The fever was gone the next day. Since then besides the
fatigue, I've generally felt quite good with the exception of two incidents.
On Friday (1 week post treatment) I thought I was well enough to go out to
dinner.  I was wrong.  Within a half hour of arriving at the restaurant my
body became so weak that I couldn't lift my water glass!  I then briefly
"passed out" in my chair.  This was followed by a few hours of trembling,
muscle pain and weakness. The Dr said that this also was a reaction to the
drug and my coming off the IV steroids.  Yesterday I was running a quick
errand and suddenly didn't feel well. I almost passed out again but I
avoided it by quickly sitting down on the floor.  Driving home wasn't easy.
I had to pull over a few times due to a horrible pain in my head.  Because
of these dizzy spells, I've decided not to drive myself this weekend.  My
husband will be driving out with me again.  I will let you know how this
next dose is tolerated.  Apparently only 40 percent of patients experience a
reaction during the second dose as opposed to the 80 percent that have
reactions during the first.  Overall I feel that this treatment hasn't added
a significant amount of discomfort.  So in my opinion, if it works (which we
should know by late November) it is worth pursuing.
As I was driving home yesterday I noticed the amazing shades of yellow and
red dotting the hills and lining the streets.  I hope you have the time to
enjoy this beautiful autumn season.  Have a wonderful weekend.


That is a discouraging report, Hunter, what can I say? How easy for any of
us to say "good luck" without realizing bleakness in the middle of the night is
the worst time for bleakness.

And only those of us who have experienced "fatigue" know quite what you
mean. I don't know, but there have been times when I just feel so weak I might
think iwas old age. (Which, of course, it is). Most of the time, I don't feel this
way, but fatigue, the inability to do the things we always did, comes at us like an
enemy  out of the darkness, which rest does not seem to heal.

So good luck, knowing the grave limits of those words.

David [McReynolds]  10/20/05


Thanks, David, and I am certainly not hanging anything up.  Good luck at the
Convention: the nature of the interaction is such [to put it mildly] that I
much doubt that anything or anyone in the American Sociological Association
could ever adequately dissect or comprehend it.  However, you, yourself, are
doing commendably well on that score!  All best, H


Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

I am honored -- humbled -- by the 2005 Elder Recognition Award of Wordcraft
Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. This particular, rarely issued
honor is one of several awards voted by the Caucus [board] of this
organization of writers, storytellers, film makers, and journalists.   Regularly

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]