We have had, in a personal/family sense, a somewhat rocky road this year -- and stress is to my present albatross, Systemic Lupus [SLE], what pitchy pine is to a fire.  When I detected, in my primary medic's telephone voice a couple of days ago, some obvious concern, I put our Jeep into 4WD and, accompanied by faithful Maria, drove several miles on snow-slick roads to get the requested comprehensive blood test.  The faithful nurse called me yesterday afternoon to indicate the results are "normal, with only a slight kidney dysfunction." By "normal," the implication, of course, is within the context of a serious version of SLE which, genetic in nature, potentially deadly, and always unpredictable will never go away.  But this absence of internal disasters -- especially in the context of the preceding year -- is welcome news. The kidney glitch is a still persistent carryover from the earlier period of open, raging warfare -- and, in itself, has never engendered any heavy medical concern for a long time.  Ending the steroid Prednisone finished off the Pred-induced diabetes and exorbitant weight gain,  trimming 80 excess pounds and returning me to the appearance of normalcy.  I take a number of pills each day and my primary Lupus control med, Plaquenil, which can irreversibly damage one's eyes, has not done so -- as per careful tests by an Ophthalmologist, two extensive ones as recently as last week.  Plaquenil does temporarily cloud one's eyesight -- this always clears as the regular dosage winds down -- but, even though it can be tough to read conventional print, glasses enable me to drive and maintain my accident-free record.  In any event, despite persistent fatigue, it's clear I am not heading to the Spirit World just yet.
Beginning at a relatively early age, I spent several decades assuming that, given my various involvements, I might well die violently.  And there were for sure a number of times where That brushed me hard -- in a few instances, very hard.  But I simply kept going, kept fighting in a variety of ways --never particularly afraid of death.  In due course, I began to think I might even live, as some of my forebears did, to a very ripe old age indeed,
When this especially savage [a word I do not use lightly] version of SLE struck me well over three years ago, it hit many vital organs, led to several hospitalizations, and brought Death very, very close indeed on a number of occasions. We [me, family and friends] rallied quickly.  When, at one juncture [as I related soon thereafter], I lay in deep coma, a physician asked Eldri if they should allow me to "slip away," Eldri -- with eyes narrowed -- said with atypical terseness, "Bring him back."  And I returned.
And I do my best to fight on.  In addition to maintaining a global view, we do maintain and write for our massive Hunterbear website which continues to draw a great many from the Four Directions and I regularly answer all of the consistent trickle of reasonable questions on its varied topics that flow in on a daily basis.  And we keep our hand in on local and regional issues. I am glad to report that "law enforcement issues" -- obviously endemic in much of the United States -- have subsided in these parts.  Four years ago, a young Native man -- Shoshone/Bannock -- was shot and killed off-reservation by trigger-happy police who mistook a harmless household item he held as a firearm.   We raised Hell on that and, although there was a not unexpected whitewash, problematic matters in that general venue ended sharply and there have been no especially untoward incidents since.  We do keep a very close watch on everything hereabouts.
And we have also, inevitably, been drawn into the general Lupus War nationally -- and to some extent internationally.  Since this is a relatively rare disease, frequently fatal sooner or later, and surprisingly unknown -- which has a special and very disproportionate appetite for Native Americans, Blacks, Chicanos, some Asian groups, and women generally, I speak and write about it as much as possible.  In January, I will be giving a fairly long King Day talk -- as I have regularly in various settings for some years -- to hospital people of many kinds here at Pocatello and, in addition to bringing in a variety of contemporary social justice issues,  I will certainly discuss Lupus and the need for deepening and broadening study and the urgent necessity for a very substantial increase in the relatively skimpy Federal research funding for this horrific disease which, as yet, has no cure. At the same time I give whatever support I can to Lupus victims over a very wide geographical range [most of them "minority" people, some of whom are having a very tough time] -- and, of course, these recipients of my best thoughts reciprocate with much support for me.
Life for me is sometimes like being on a sloping plateau -- bounded by cliffs below and cliffs above.  But we are now more on the upper end of that slope than otherwise -- and I am setting my sights for the climb to yet higher ground. So I continue to keep going and keep fighting.  Always have and always will.  The cut, shuffle and deal, while not always to my liking, has had so far many satisfactions indeed and will most likely have more.  In any case, poker-faced and generally stolid,  I keep Playing Life -- and Death.
Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear], Eastern Idaho, November 30 2006
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'


From Sam Friedman [sent just as I was finishing this piece and I have now written him "off list"]
Dear Hunter,
I realize that you have been abnormally quiet and reserved on the lists for some time. Are you okay? I am, as always, concerned!

I am off on another of this Fall's insane schedule of travel (3 wks in Australia, home 3 days, Boston 3 days, home 10 or 15 days, now in Buenos Aires for two weeks).  In Boston I had a very nice talk with Chuck about life, poetry, children etcc etc.  Here in BA I have very good friends and we are working very hard to meet a proposal deadline.

And the weather is nice this Spring down here! The middle classes, and some workers and others, have come up from the economic depths of 2002. It shows, too, in much on the streets everyday.

sam [friedman]
From Louis Proyect:
At 10:12 AM 11/30/2006, Hunter Gray wrote:
>But this absence of internal disasters -- especially in the context
>of the preceding year -- is welcome news.

That's good news for the holiday season!

Btw, I am going over to Cynthia Cochran's (she died about a month
ago) in a little while to pick up Bert's papers, books, collected
American Socialists, etc. Will let you know if I find anything interesting.
Louis [Proyect]
From Loki Mulholland:
Always great to get your emails.  Sorry I haven't called lately.  I was on a
road-trip with my movie in October and now we're working on moving (still
staying in Utah).  Heading to Florida for Christmas (Geronimo and his family
live out there).  All is well.  I plan on making a trip to see you this
Spring as I tend to avoid driving the winter roads whenever possible.


Loki [Mulholland]
From Chuck Levenstein:
Hunter Bear,
I am glad to hear that you continue to beat this devil.  More power to you in the coming year!
I saw Sam Friedman in November -- he was presenting a paper on his research at the American Public Health Association meetings in Boston, so we had a chance to have lunch and catch up.  It was really good to see him.
I am continuing to be active in "retirement".  As I think you know, I published two collections of poems this year -- "Poems of WW III" and a new one "Animal Vegetable", which is a little lighter -- just to demonstrate that humor still has a role in this world!
And I am now co-chair of the Massachusetts Teachers Association Environmental Health and Safety Committee -- which keeps me into labor and health politics. We are proposing state legislation to protect public employees and a law to deal with indoor air quality concerns in schools and other publi buildings.  We have a new governor -- so we will see where his energies and sympathy lie.
What else?  I chair the advisory committee for the United Steel Workers funded programs on healt and safety training for workers and have been visiting old A-bomb factories to see what their safety systems are like.  I must say that the people who are propsing nuclear solutions to global warming should visit Hanford, Washington, sometime -- and learn about the millions upon millions of radioactive chemical waste that sits in underground tanks.  You can watch the Columbia River roll by.
I'm also giving advice (a good thing for old people to do) on a roject investigating the tobacco industry's efforts to win over organized labor -- a cynical plan, ultimately unsuccessful, but still much to learn from these very clever poisoners.
And I'm editing New Solutions -- and preparing for transition to new editors in another year or so.  Take a look at 
www.baywood.comand search on New Solutions if you want to get a look at the journal.  It is the only peer-reviewed labor-based policy journal in the world, I think. 
Other than that, I have now added beta blockers and anti-cholesterol  to my eternal life formula.  Seems to be working ok.
My best to Eldri!
Chuck Levenstein
From Claire O'Connor:

Just to let you know, though things are sometimes not good, I value your eloquent description of what is going on.  Only a person with the gift could communicate such complex and personal experience.  Thank you.

Claire (O’Connor)


From Scott Colborn:


Hello Folks,

In this e-mail my friend Hunter Gray gives an update on his battle with Systemic Lupis, and as always writes in a style that the reader will find encouraging and positive when reflecting on his/her own life experiences.
Hunter and a son had an extended close encounter experience in 1988 with UFO occupants, and his ET experiences combined with his life-long work in labor, civil rights and social justice in bringing people together offer a unique (and I believe important) viewpoint for us to consider.
Here is a link to some of his ET-related writings: .
Hunter published a manuscript years ago that deals with some of his ET experiences.  His outlook is refreshing amid some of the "doom-and-gloom" stuff that circulates.  You may e-mail him at this address for more details on obtaining a copy of his manuscript: .
His website is: .
Many of us remember fondly his prior Lincoln appearances talking about ET's and social justice issues.
Keep up your good and important work, Hunter !  Every day this side of the flowers is a good day.
(please scroll down for Hunter's e-mail....)
All the best.
Walk in Beauty, Peace.  Scott
Host of the "Exploring Unexplained Phenomena" radio program, Saturdays 10 - 11:30 am Central Time, on KZUM 89.3 FM, Lincoln, NE, and worldwide via .  Archived for listening and Pod-casting on , with a link to a free pod-catcher utility here: .


From Duane Campbell: [to whom I have now written "off-list"]


Thanks for the report. 
I have a smaller problem of my own.  I have been diagnosed with Prostrate Cancer.  I go in for radiation seed implants in about a month. 

Last night I was visiting a class by a good woman who is teaching about the Mississippi Freedom schools. Kathryn Emory.  She has a project to duplicate the schools in San Francisco this summer.  She wrote a fine book,  Why are the Corporations Trashing our Schools.

As a part of the exercise she passed out a copy of the original pamphlet on Freedom Schools.  There was the return address, Jackson, Mississippi. 
It started me thinking of you and your work, 

Also, in August Robert Moses came by.  He has a good organizing project called The Algebra Project.   In his book he tells the tales of Mississippi in the early 60's.  
It has been treasure of mine to have had your views on these efforts.  -And your other views.

Thank you for all the work which you have done.  Keep carrying on.

Duane Campbell


From Ron Chambers:

Sir John H.B.       I have a good friend, Jim Williams (troubadour - folk singer par excellence'), who sings a couple of songs written by Utah Phillips that just move me deeply.   One is Phillps's Hymn Song  (  Jim was losing his wife due to Brain CA when when I first heard him sing this song.  An immensely moving experience, indeed, both for him and the rest of our bluegrass groups.   Even without that link, the song is very moving, and I like it to this day.  Jim is a guitar picking member of our group.     The thought crossed my mind (at about the .001 level of certainty) that you know Utah Phillips, but I've never seen mention of him in your website.    Just thought that you might find some meaning in the lyrics.     Ron. [Chambers]


From David McReynolds:

Given your problems with your eyes, let me use larger type.
I am most impressed by the loss of 80 pounds! Yes, given your history, one might have assumed you
wouldn't get this far, but would have been felled by any of the many threats rebels incur. But alas, you
are stuck here, but surrounded by family and friends, with the remarkable (and I envy it!!) discipline to
maintain your web site.
There is no reason to chew up your time - mainly to wish you the best, and say the reports seem good
and give reason to hope you will get safely by Christmas and be climbing mountains in spring.
David McReynolds


From Kass Fleisher

ouchy kidney glitches. reeeeeeeally glad you're off prednisone---i don't know how you kept your head. deadly shit and one of the most frequently abused drugs by members of the medical profession. i don't have to say keep up the fight b/c you, of all people, would have it no other way. please know you always have grateful and hopeful waves coming at you from the midwest. rock on. kass [fleisher]


From Helen L. [to whom I have written off-list]


 sounds as if some things are going well for you, i enjoyed reading your post, i'm still going to doctors and having test, i did the sleep test, i have to have a machine to sleep with, did the breathing test, havn't found out how i did with that, pulmonary rehab today, this sounds hopeful , next is a stress test, the nurse was very nice, some of the things i was wondering about, she told us, feeling very tired is part of it ,and she explained a lot of other things , i came home  so tired i felt like having the biggest pity party ever, but decided not to , instead i took a nap ,
 we had visitors, last week i had seen him for over fifty years that was nice . keep up your good work , regards to your family.                         helen


From Jay Schaffner:

Thanks for the update - for sharing with us, for keeping us posted,
and for your continued fights - on all fronts.

All the best.

Jay [Schaffner]
From Tim McGowan

I've been thinking of you recently and wondering how it's been going .
this is an intuitively timed update.  I think writing about how you've 
survived these last couple with SLE would be a tremendous source of 
inspiration for everyone else who has it.  It sounds like that's been 
happening already with the people you've been in touch with.  I'll 
send my update along in a few days, over the weekend.  I'm heading out 
now to a meeting you could relate to:  it's a community forum/ hearing 
on violence sponsored by clergy, mostly African American.  Many of 
them will soon be walking foot patrols with police to meet people and 
provide a space where people can disclose information about crime they 
know of that they might no readily disclose to the police.

It's VERY GOOD to hear from you.
Tim [McGowan]

From Ron Chambers:
Kayo-oh-tay Good.   Just read it closely.   A most fascinating--and very well written--tale of truly coming to age.   I enjoyed.


Ron [Chambers]
From Sam Friedman:
I had wondered if I instigated the very welcome post.  I am glad you are doing this well!

My trips are double edged, too much work but some pleasures.  Today on our way to eat dinner, we saw a demo by the parents and friends of the victims of the Cromagnon  fire, almost 2 years ago, in a night spot. Huge numbers of  teenagers and young adults were killed. The demos are demanding justice against those who ignored various fire regulation violations.

sam  [friedman]
From Brian Rice:
She:kon Hunter,
I was wondring if you knew Joe Bruchac as his grandmother  was Abanaki and he has written many books. I go bear tracking at Yellowstone with his son Jim Bruchac and Dr. Jim Halfpenny. Just tracking not killing. Maria has told me much about your life and it is something to be admired. I think we are turning a circle again in Native programming and perhaps for the good after a long downturn which started in the eighties. With environmental issues in the forefront it appears once again Native programming may be heading back to its roots. I have a couple of applications out in environmental studies programs. I have given up on Native Studies per say as they have been colonized from within by outsiders and assimilationists. You need a business degree or a law degree to make any inroads as a Native person. Anyway, be well.
Brian Rice

From Jyri Kokkonen:


Dear Hunter Gray,

Your personal report was sobering, yet somehow encouraging, reading. It is truly good to hear you're not heading for the Spirit World just yet, as you said.
And three years ago the doctor was going to let you "slip away." Thank God for Eldri!
I'm honoured to have this connection with you people.


Jyri  [Kokkonen]


From Peter Gray Salter [Mack]:


I did get your report. It's damn clear you haven't lost your vocabulary or your critical thinking/writing skills. That was a pretty powerful assessment of things. Wish there was more we could do, like rent a Mayflower and move you all closer.

What do you want for Christmas?
Later  [Peter Gray Salter]


From John Salter:


I like your essentially optimistic report but as always, I worry that you are underplaying your condition.

Mack showed me pix from his trip there, however, and you did look good.
JS  [John Salter]


From Dale Jacobson:

Thanks John.  Hope you are doing well.  Semester ends here.  Skipped
another rock over the pond.  all my best, Dale



From Bob Gately:

Thanks for the heads up on your address, we got you in the book...We are back up in Bagdad ramping up for mining a heap of Au...Delighted to hear your health is holding up strong...Stay warm and full of wonder...
Always, best wishes,
Bob [Bob Gately -- at the "other" Bagdad, a remote metal mining town in western Arizona]


From David Ranney:

Hunter and Eldri -

I think of you often and was glad to get your recent report that the SLE thing seems stable . . .My best to all.  Hopefully one day we will get out your way.  Would love to see you.  Best wishes.

 Dave [David Ranney]


Nialetch/Onen --

Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]  Eastern Idaho  November 30 2006

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

Check out our Hunterbear social justice website:
[The site is dedicated to our one-half Bobcat, Cloudy Gray:
Honored with The Elder Recognition Award by Wordcraft Circle of Native
Writers and Storytellers: