Photo:  "After My Total Victory in the Lupus War" (2003-2011)





(Systemic Lupus has a predatory preference for Native Americans, Blacks, Chicanos, some Asian groups, and women in general.  It's a civil rights issue.)

"My now annual medical conference a couple of days ago, which was preceded a week earlier by the taking of a lot of blood from me (the "blood lady" is always much impressed), and its intricate and detailed analysis, indicate that there continues to be NO active Systemic Lupus (SLE} within me.  We declared victory one year ago and we declare it now."
Although I specifically indicated no one to whom the Medical Update went was at all obligated to respond, congratulatory messages came from Sam Friedman, Kari Fisher, John Salter, Josie Salter Evans, Jay Schaffner, Greg McDonald, Andrea Davis, Susan M. Power, Mark Lause, Loki Mulholland, David Thorstad, Jyri Kokkonen, Joyce Ladner, Alice M. Azure, James H. Williams, Thomas Gray Salter, Willa Cofield, David McReynolds, Mary Ann Hall Winters, Kathy Marden,  Suzanne de Kuyper,
Romi Elnagar, Mimie Chilinda Salter, David Grenier, Julye Hoskie, Maria Salter, Bret Quickbear, Taylor Salter, Steve Procter, Dale Jacobson, Peter Gray Salter, Hunter Salter, Bernie Ellis, Tracy West.

(See my full 2012 Medical Update further down, following the recent photo of part of our family)

(Feathered out significantly on July 9 2011)

In 2003, I was attacked by a "full blown" version of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, considered a "deadly disease."  It struck almost all of my internal organs.  Many, including physicians, felt it would kill me.  But, eight years later, I have killed it.  And, in addition, all of my organs are now in excellent shape.  In the context of full blown, all out assaults by Systemic Lupus, this is all very, very rare indeed.


"When I was getting fairly well into the then still not diagnosed oft-lethal horror [Systemic Lupus], around late July 2003 or so, I had an interesting dream.  Far up on my traditional trails, I suddenly encountered Something dressed in a black suit and wearing a wide-brimmed black hat.  I could smell the overwhelming odor of rotting grain.  The face under the hat was that of a male-type Medusa full of wiggly things -- demonic to the extreme with the most hateful, predatory eyes I have ever seen.  I knew it was directly responsible for my awful condition.  I quickly drew my revolver -- and I do indeed have one, a Ruger single action .22 Magnum.  With one shot I killed the Thing.  For a moment, I was convinced I'd now killed the illness.  I then awoke, covered with sweat.  But the illness remained.  The revolver still resided [and resides] in its holster on my dresser."

Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]  Early Spring, 2004

Please see much even newer material immediately following this Victory Declaration.


April 29 2011
To come to the point directly:  extremely  comprehensive blood tests have indicated that I no  longer have any signs of active SLE [Systemic Lupus] within me.  This news came yesterday.
I am sending this out widely to our family and friends who have followed this odyssey -- now an eight year war.  Among the many who will be glad to hear this is my good and loyal Penobscot cousin in Maine, to whom we sent Idaho sage just prior to his brain surgery which went extremely well.  As do I, he recognizes the power and influence of beneficent "things unseen."
This need not be acknowledged.  People have other things to do.  But this significant Victory will be, I am sure, welcome news, far and away.
Lupus, of course, is essentially genetic, has a special taste for Natives, Chicanos, African Americans, some Asian groups, and women in  general. [I have frequently referred to it and its need for research funding as a civil rights issue -- in many venues, including NPR.] There is no cure and a recently touted new med, the first in half a century, is turning out to have significant limitations and serious side effects.  It also costs about $35,000 a year.  We know now that I've had bouts of SLE occasionally since I was 25.  We had no idea what it was, went to no medics, I simply kept going full ahead, and it faded.  But the assault in 2003 was full-scale and did not depart.
From another perspective, I am glad to be writing this.  Television this morning is focused almost completely on the Event in the land of the Court of St. James.  While I wish the young couple the best, and think personally well of the Queen, I am not agog.
I always arise very early.  This was the case last Tuesday morning, the designated day of a very careful medical look-over and seizure of a significant supply of my blood for very comprehensive testing.  We, Eldri and myself, left early for the medical facility, driven by Josie [our youngest, an LSW social worker] with the two lively babies [tagged affectionately by me as the Nursery School] securely in the back seat. It was snowing -- just as it had so frequently during the many bleak times in the fall and winter of 2003-04 when we'd gone from our home 'way up here on Pocatello's West Bench down to the medical facility and its high priests. 
In those days, grandson/son Thomas, who in addition to everything from our side, is one-half Mississippi Choctaw, then an undergrad at Idaho State, drove my Jeep -- and he very  faithfully accompanied me through a virtually endless series of tests and x-rays and scans of various kinds.  Thomas, of course, is now an M.D. and moving into his third year of residency [psychiatry and internal medicine] at the University of Iowa Hospital.  His good spouse, Mimie [Yirengah] from Zambia is pursuing her medical studies with zeal at that institution.
A rheumatologist told me in a funereal voice, that I had "a very, very serious case of systemic lupus" and a senior physician advised me to divest myself of my possessions. I brushed the Fog three times in that early period, once during the diagnostic era in which I'd been forced into an ill-starred colonoscopy which found nothing but which, in my badly weakened condition, gave me two quickly consecutive and profound cardiac arrests. [My heart has always been good and is just fine now.]  Somewhere along the line, I had Last Rites from the Catholic Church. I rejected any chemo drugs [and, since then, we've learned of SLE patients who, using those, have contracted lymphoma.]  But, of course, I had absolutely no intention of slipping off to the Happy Hunting Grounds. 
Those obviously were not good times and I recalled them somberly as we motored along last Tuesday morn. But this was different.  Surprising all physicians, I had not died back then and, as per the little medical report I sent out one year ago, my good doc -- who had taken over my case following the initial Firefight -- saw me, to his very pleasant surprise, moving into rare SLE remission.  It has never affected my mind and I have consistently avoided the severe depression which plagues 80 percent of SLE victims.
My good and faithful doc had moved on to Minnesota and I now had a new medic.  He turned out to be trained at the University of Iowa and so, after I had -- as I always do with a new doctor -- drawn my line with the words that "my faith in western medicine is very limited" -- we visited briefly about always pleasant Iowa City.  My essentially full-blooded Native father, who had no high school, secured his B.A. from the Chicago Art Institute and two graduate degrees from the University of Iowa.  I had taught for several years in its Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning.  And now, of course, Thomas and Mimie are well established in the River City.
Half an hour was spent by the new doc going over my exterior very carefully, plus mouth and eyes. Another physician also came.  While my feet, once swollen beyond belief, are still mending, everything was OK.  I went to the blood test lady who, although it's been a year, recognized me cordially.  Looking at the requested bill of fare, she exclaimed, "My, they want everything!"  At my request, she began to read the very long list but, when we got to a series of internal organs, it began to sound a little dreary, and I soon politely disclaimed any wish to hear more. 
In time, we got back home.  I was greeted with unusually fond fervor by our very intuitive Furry Friends.  Life went on.
And yesterday came the Good News. No active Lupus.  Full remission. This is rare.  I have seen a solid medical study involving 160 people with severe SLE.  Only four achieved remission. Everything else was quite OK -- including my cholesterol which hadn't been checked for seven years.  I'll have another blood test in six months or so and another medical conference in a year. 
So the headwaters of my Lupus and its river are now dry. The Happy Hunting Grounds for me obviously lie far beyond the mountain ranges.  I am not surprised.  At 77, I have survived a number of serious efforts to do me in physically, all sorts of beatings of various kinds, frequent defamatory campaigns -- some crude, some wickedly creative.  But I do have a very thick skull and hide.  And, since I have a reasonable amount of human vanity, I am glad to say I now look very much just as I did in the many years prior to this Dragon's assault in 2003.  There is still self-healing but that's moving consistently and effectively.
The credit for this goes in many directions:  the tough and hardy physique provided by my ancestors, the consistent and loyal support by friends and family -- and furry friends [especially my nurse cats, the late Cloudy and the present Sky], fine physicians for the most part.
And Things Unseen.
Nialetch / Onen
Hunter [Hunter Bear]


I am so glad to hear this wonderful news, and to read it within the context of such a rich story.  You are a born storyteller!!  I will pass along a few details about lupus to a dear Choctaw friend who battles lupus and also doesn't completely trust Western medicine.  Thank you for sending me this happy missive!


Susan  (Susan Mary Power, Standing Rock Sioux, noted writer, very old family friend.)


What wonderful news our prayers and belief in the Creator and ancestors have given us an extension of your life.  We Love you and your family and are humbled and grateful. Always. Alta. And family!!

Alta (Alta Bruce, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, long time former student, very old family friend.)


Yah-Tay / Friends:  [From Hunter Bear]:

It takes something pretty massive to overwhelm me -- but the flood of very kind and thoughtful messages stemming from my Victory declaration in the Lupus War has left me awed and somewhat speechless.
They come from literally the Four Directions: Steven and Andrea Davis, New Jersey; Nigel Hampton, Michigan; Jay Schaffner, New York; Heather Booth, Washington, DC; Kathy Marden, Florida; Jyri Kokkonen, Finland; Chip Taylor, Vermont; Kari Fisher, Minnesota; John Solbach, Kansas; Scott Colborn, Nebraska; Susan Mary Power, Minnesota; Alice Azure, Illinois; James Burnett, Jr. [ISU], Idaho; James H Williams, Washington state; Steve Proctor, Idaho; David Thorstad, Minnesota; George Tomer, Maine; Bernie Ellis, UK; Greg MacDonald, Georgia; Mary Ann Winters Hall, Illinois/Mississippi; Charlene Thompson, Mississippi; Sam Friedman, New Jersey; David McReynolds, New York; Suzanne De Kuyper, Netherlands; Michelle Kirsch, New Mexico; John Salter, Minnesota; Donis Mitchell Lough, Iowa;
Willa Cofield, New Jersey/North Carolina; Dale Jacobson, Minnesota/North Dakota; Cleveland Donald, Jr / Connecticut/Mississippi; Michael Marino, Oregon; Clyde Appleton, Arizona; Alta Bruce, North Dakota; Scott Jones, Texas; Sue Godt, Ontario; Peter Salter, Nebraska.
A few more will likely make it here.  In addition, we had a long phone conversation, of course, with our grandson/son, Thomas Gray Salter [Iowa] and with Mimie Chilinda Salter [Iowa] and coversations with family members here: Eldri, Maria, Josie, Samantha.
In my little report, I had written, "This need not be acknowledged.  People have other things to do.  But this significant Victory will be, I am sure, welcome news, far and away."
So we are very certain that there have been a great many fine thoughts from a great many others!
Family and Fine [and Furry] Friends have been an extremely critical dimension in this very long struggle -- and genuine victory.
The lab reports have just come via our postal mail: nine full pages of line after line of small type.  Everything except my soul.
Our deepest and most enduring appreciation.  The Sun shines on the Water.
Hunter [Hunter Bear] & Family

This is very blessed and inspiring news. I feel you have so so so much to give to this young generation who do not know how we made it to this point. I really look forward in having you back in the ISU class room when you are up to it. Let's stay in touch! Dr. Burnett
Today brought the best possible pre-birthday present imaginable! . . . . once again, your words inspired - George [Tomer]
Hi, Hunter -
I just read your E-mail and learned the great news about your health.  It is wonderfully uplifting to know that your doctors have declared you fit and whole.  I remember that when you left our home in Enfield back in 1964, you would always say, "We're going to win!"  So, it looks like you are still on the winning team.  Since I'm much farther along the path to the happy hunting ground than you, it's also reassuring to hear that it is possible to overcome the odds. . . 
Love, Willa [Cofield]  From the North Carolina Black Belt civil rights campaigns

From Nebraska, Hello Hunter Bear
I don't get weepy.  The good news you have shared with those of us fortunate to know you, surely bought a few tears of joy to these old eyes.  My heart sings a bit louder now, as surely does the heart of the Universe.  And rightfully so, the hearts of those who have known you longest and so much more personally.
Best wishes for continued good health.
Gary C. Matteson
Norfolk, NE
No matter the date or the time knowing that your health is fine and that you are still active and writing is in itself a blessing for us all.
Happy  Mothers Day to the beautiful one in the Clan.
In Lasting Solidarity,
Colia [Clark]  From the Jackson, Mississippi Movement days
Hunter and Eldri:
You are precious and inspirations to all who know you.  You remind us that all things work together for good to men, women, and furry creations of good will.
Take care.
Cleveland [Donald] From the Jackson, Mississippi Movement days


About two weeks ago, as I reported, I underwent a physical on my external self -- and an extremely comprehensive complex of blood tests for all internals.  At least four vials of blood were taken.  The summary results and analysis came from my primary physician a few days later,  who reported there were absolutely no signs of any active Lupus -- and everything else was quite OK.  A few days after that, nine pages of lab reports,  with very fine print and a myriad of stats, arrived.  We sent these by postal mail to grandson/son, Thomas, now an M.D. (internal medicine and psychiatry), and entering his third year of residency at the University of Iowa Hospital, Iowa City.  Thomas is extremely sharp.  And, in addition, he had accompanied me faithfully to every one of the myriad of (often challenging) diagnostic tests in the late summer, fall, and early winter of 2003.  And, until he and his good spouse, Mimie (Yirengah), of Zambia, also extremely sharp and with a Medicine focus, left in the summer of 2005 for Medical School at University of Minnesota, he was with me for most of my post-diagnostic conferences with doctors.  He has seen me on occasion since then and has consistently kept up with my situation.  So, in addition to being quite medically able indeed as translator of the lab reports, he knows my medical history extremely well.
He went over the lab reports carefully.  He and I, and then he and Eldri, talked by phone. 
Thomas was literally amazed.  In addition to absolutely no signs of any Systemic Lupus, everything -- just as my primary physician had reported -- is extremely fine:  blood, all internal organs -- including the kidneys whose difficulties often wind up taking the life of Lupus victims, no sign of any diabetic or pre-diabetic situations.  While there's no known history of diabetes in my family, I had contracted a potentially serious version of it early on via use of my initial medicine, Prednisone,  When we phased that out in 2005, the diabetes also left -- but physicians had remained concerned because of potential kidney situations.  Something I have virtually never checked, cholesterol,  is well indeed in the very, very safe range.  There's more -- all very good.  And I now look much as I did in the years  before the Lupus Assault of 2003.
As I've noted earlier, my mind,  something that's often affected in SLE matters, was completely spared.  And I avoided the clinical and other depression that characterize the great majority of SLE targets.
This is, indeed, extraordinary.  Most victims of serious SLE assaults either die -- or find themselves residing in a "gray" sort of existence.  Full remission, as in my case, is extremely rare -- as is emergence with all bodily organs in perfectly healthy shape.

I give great credit indeed to the Creator and the associated "things unseen."

It's worth noting that, from early childhood on, I've consistently had parapsychological experiences.
Strong support by family and friends, the great nurse cats -- the late Cloudy Gray and Wooly, and the present Sky Gray -- and good medical care, have obviously been very important.  And I come from very tough ancestors, known for their fighting spirits -- and I've inherited a full share of all of that.
And then, as I wrote earlier, in my "Personal Report," there is also this important dimension:
"But I am inherently tough -- and I refused to die. And I also had  the positive forces generated by Things Unseen. 
By this time (late 2003), a new physician -- early on, my primary doc -- was entering the situation.  A young Mormon, and medically conservative, he was interested in my friendly Extraterrestrial encounter experiences (especially 1988 in Wisconsin) and entered those into my medical record -- remarking that all of the positive ET encounter changes I'd noted were consistent with human growth hormone (something of which I'd heard but had never seen nor used.)  I was opposed to taking any chemo drugs and he supported this.  Gradually, matters began to improve. As early as late 2004, I was doing some limited hiking.  By 2008 and 2009, things were much, much better . . ."
All of those very positive physiological changes, a few of which began to resurface not too long after the 2003 assault but most of which have come later in the game, have now all resurfaced.
For a brief summary of the foregoing, see      And for more detail, these two related pages beginning with:

And this page is new: 7/20/2011


Thomas also opined that my physical condition was that of a much, much younger person. Modesty prevents me from giving the chronological age range but, in the aftermath of our conversation, I did remark to Eldri that perhaps we should visit the Green Triangle or Green T, a sometimes fight-prone saloon in Pocatello -- and she could see a version of me that preceded our marriage of virtually 50 years ago.  She was not, however, enthusiastic about that.
I am now entering my own personal and vigorous physical exercise regimen.  Only I can handle that, and I shall.
Nialetch / Onen
And in Solidarity,
Hunter [Hunter Bear]


May 26, 2011
(This certainly requires NO acknowledgement.  It's one of the final updates on my Lupus War which has taken the better part of a decade of my life -- time that I have spent in both positive reflection and writing very productively.  H.)
Thomas, grandson/son and his good spouse, Mimie [Yirengah}, are visiting here from their current base in Iowa City where Thomas, an M.D., is entering his third year of residency -- internal medicine and psychiatry -- at the University of Iowa Hospital and Mimie, having now secured her Masters in Public Health, is deep into her academic work toward a Physician's Assistant degree. Accompanied by their two furry family members, Chocolate [a Husky/Chow mix and Kronos, a Pomeranian], the quiet ethos of our house has been significantly altered -- very pleasantly. I didn't know much about Pomeranians but Thomas tells me that they, Icelandic in origin, were once very large dogs but, via careful breeding, have been reduced to small entitities.  "Physically, that is," he added, "but their egos have remained the same." 
A couple of nights ago, with the family favorite of Navajo Tacos as cuisine centerpiece, we had nine family members present. I was the oldest and babies Aidan and Finley [Josie/Cameron]  were, at two years and almost eight months, respectively, on the other end.  Throw in our two dogs and the two visiting canines and our two cats and -- you have a recipe for chaos.  But everything remained remarkably laid back,with harmony interrupted only slightly by a very few inter-dog disputes over treats tossed from the table,  See some -- some -- family members here, ca. 2009:
Thomas, back in the day, and an undergrad at Idaho State University, had accompanied me faithfully and consistently at every juncture in the Lupus War from 2003 into 2005, usually with varying other family members with us -- and has remained closely interested in all developments. He was almost always initially ignored by the doctors with whom I was involved.  But when he occasionally asked a very sharp question or made a quite insightful comment, they suddenly paid much attention to him. Now he plans a substantial medical paper on my Systemic Lupus saga.   To that end, he and I traveled yesterday over to the other side of Pocatello to the brand-new and extremely large Portneuf Medical Center.  The day was bright, sunny with a turquoise sky, cool. Dark green has replaced winter hereabouts but snow is very visible on the mountains around.  We were seeking the basic medical records covering roughly four months -- September through December, 2003. 
This was the Fire Fight epoch with three substantial hospital incarcerations [each time, much of this in ICU] -- a period that saw me very close indeed to bodily death on those occasions.  I really had no idea what the documents would indicate -- but Thomas recalled hearing one doctor tell another back then that  mine was "Really hot Lupus." A photo of me in that time period shows an apparently very old man, super thin and gaunt with the exception of badly swollen feet and legs, wrinkled face under his Stetson hat, sitting and looking into the Cosmos.  A few years later, I had once said of the photo, "Throw the Goddamned thing away" but I'm now glad to have it, following my eventual resurrection and restoration. It's a  kind of stark and revealing record from a genuinely surreal and Hellish time.
Portneuf is a huge hospital -- state of the art. We can see it away off from our home. But powerful elements of accrued Dine' [Navajo] tradition always lead me to see those places, in which I've been incarcerated personally a number of times over decades, as "Chindee" -- and taboo.  Inside, we were immediately taken in tow by a friendly "senior citizen" lady  who guided us to a higher level and a great picture window displaying much of Pocatello from a cushy lounge containing a self-playing piano. Just as we walked past, it obligingly burst forth with a favorite of mine, "The Call of the Far Away Hills" from a great film favorite, Shane. Sitting next to the piano was a very large harp -- but sans an Angel.
We entered a very small room -- Medical Records.  I completed a couple of legal pages releasing the documents to Thomas and, within twenty minutes, we had 68 pages of distilled small type material.  Thomas, immediately engrossed in the packet and frequently exclaiming genuine awe at the dire progression, walked past the piano where an attractive earthly lady was now playing the harp -- and without noticing her.  Headed home, we stopped along the way to make copies for myself.
We both read through the documents, written in matter of fact fashion by a number of physicians of varying specialties -- and almost in the manner of impersonal military dispatches.  They're chock-full of medical names and nouns and laboratory stats. Thomas, who easily translates this mysterious language, remarked "I knew you were very, very sick -- but Wow! -- I never knew it was this bad."
"Seems like a quiet horror story," I said.
And that it truly is.  I had thought I might read it in detached fashion but, given the circumstances, was almost immediately carried back into Another Time.
The initial physician in the emergency room, after giving me, withered and emaciated and unsteady, something of a physical, and exclaiming, "You have no blood!", wrote as his opening statement in his intake report, "This is really a quite complicated picture."
And it rapidly became a great deal more complicated.
At that point, a True Life Experience commenced in venomous earnest -- similar to a rodeo cowboy on a bucking horse.  Quite unaware then of any Lupus possibility, and after I was told graphically that my red blood corpuscles were eating up my white ones just as soon as they were produced, the focus became, not explicitly known to me at that point, probable cancer. I had mentioned my long, early morning treks in the high hills above our home. "We will hope to find a lesion that we can cure," wrote the then primary physician, "and return this man to his fine way of life."  
But a colonoscopy in the context of this  strange anemia, which produced nothing amiss, gave me two profound cardiac arrests with death very close by.  In that experience, I sensed that I was in a kind of small dark tunnel -- sort of like a hard-rock mine "drift" -- stationary, very peaceful, unconcerned about a strange distant pounding far, far off.  Eventually that came closer and closer and I finally emerged into a room with a dozen frantic heart doctors standing about -- and I immediately went into ICU. I learned that Thomas had, upon hearing a Code Blue, attempted to enter the room but had been prevented from doing so. In ICU, next day with many family members present, I wrote out a will.  Even weaker by then, I could scarcely walk.  Some wild heart rhythms obligingly corrected themselves in some helpful way.
I was characterized "a 69 year old male.  Married.  Four children, half Scottish, half Indian, bear clan." 
A "retired sociologist" who "does not smoke or drink."
It was noted in my "Family History" that "Mother died at the age of 95 and father 80 with no specific diseases, alcohol contributing to their demise."
I went home for a few days while the increasingly complicated situation was examined.  The focus then became blood cancer -- but one of a now myriad of diagnostic tests including scans and such -- the Bone Marrow Test -- eliminated all cancers and any infections.   Via the documents it was now clear that a number of my internal organs were profoundly and very negatively affected by Something and a number of specialists became involved. There was discussion of a possibly chronic Thing.  Finally, a punch-out biopsy by a dermatologist of my increasingly bright red chest rash, indicated the strong possibility of Systemic Lupus -- something confirmed by specialized blood tests managed by a hematologist. 
The Cornering of the Quarry was noted thusly [if laconically] via a Surgical Pathology Report: "On 10/16/03, a punch biopsy from the upper chest was interpreted as interface dermatitis with hyperkeratosis, degenerative basement membrane consistent with subacute lupus erythematosus [WB-03-3346]."
By this time, huge red sores covered my face and elsewhere and there were large black sores and Thrush in my mouth. Back again in ICU, hospital administrators brought students in to view me. The hematologist informed me that he -- and more than a dozen other physicians -- "are all agreed that you have a full-blown case of Systemic Lupus." Unknown to me, there was speculation that I also had a horrible disease called "Steven-Johnson Syndrome" which completely destroys skin.  Although the documents are a bit vague and non-committal on the actuality of that, I did retain my badly messed up skin -- and these garish external and mouth things gradually faded.
"Weak and shaky", "unsteady" were not uncommon characterizations of me -- along with "the patient is clearly uncomfortable."
The documents continued to travel calmly and methodically onward in time -- stats, medical nomenclature, summaries, physicians' names.  The fairly effective steroid, Prednisone, was given me -- and produced diabetes and increased alarm about kidneys. Thus I was fighting on two medical fronts. By this time, it was into December.  At one point, suddenly in a very near coma in our home, I retained enough of something to walk to our Jeep but soon lost all consciousness well short of the ER door. My blood sugar count was in the 900s.  There was a cat scan of my brain which indicated All OK -- about the only organ that was. Back in ICU, it was discovered that I also had lupus pneumonia which proved resistant to conventional anti-biotics but a heavy dose of super stuff, termed "the cobalt bomb", did end that problem.
I rejected Rehab and I rejected all chemo drugs.
And then I was back home, for good as it turned out --  and the hospital documents end with the formal designation of my already somewhat involved and to-be long term physician, the good and medically conservative Dan Jones. By now, it was cold and bleak weather-wise, well fitting my personal ethos. One night I had a very strange and fascinating dream that I was traveling down my most favorite place in the Universe, the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area in Northern Arizona.  The initial Firefight was over and the long, long siege was underway, years of it and most of that in the context of perennial uncertainty. In time, Prednisone was replaced by the much less problematic Plaquenil and the diabetes faded away. Well before that, two visits to my physician per week finally became one visit, then two visits per month became one -- and then a long stretch of a visit every three or four months, and finally a visit each year.
I never planned to die and obviously didn't.  But while the hospital documents don't exactly say it, it seems clear, from those and my recollections of those extraordinarily grim times, that most physicians were not especially hopeful of my survival chances.  Mimie recently heard a lecture from a genuine Authority who indicated that remissions in the case of profound Systemic Lupus virtually never occur.  But that's exactly what's happened with me -- full remission -- and I now have nine pages of very, very recent  detailed lab reports to prove it.  The wizened "old man" is long gone and I look very much as I did in the years before this assault began.
When Thomas and Mimie return to Iowa City, they'll be carrying with them the classic massive work on SLE:  Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Robert G. Lahita, Editor. A gift from me, it's the 2004 edition, 1343 large pages, with dozens and dozens of essays and many photos and much more. In his opening paragraph, Professor Lahita notes of SLE, "Moreover, it is a deadly disease."
When I finished the sixty-eight pages, I placed them on top of the very recent lab all-clear "remission" packet.  Then, I re-thought that arrangement and placed the Hospital Horror under that of Sunny Remission.  I put the Fall 2003 photo of the "old and decrepit man" in a manila envelope for posterity.
In the Mountains of Eastern Idaho.
Nialetch / Onen
Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by NaŽshdoŽiŽbaŽiŽ
and Ohkwari'

Thank you for sharing this remarkable story which does read, in places, like Stephen King horror, but (thankfully) has a happy ending!  As I've said before, I love the way you tell a story!  So grateful you made it through.

Much love to all the family --

Susan  (Susan Mary Power, Standing Rock Sioux, noted writer, very old family friend.)



Alta M. Bruce  6/22/2011
Boozhoo Anii, Hunterbear Our prayers have been answered and all your spirit helpers have listened and gave you back your life because you are worthy of it. You are such a wonderful person. Love & Prayers, Alta & Linus
With my Sun shining ever more warmly and brightly, I do occasionally find myself thinking back on the long -- and late -- Lupus War.  That was obviously a very grim crucible.  I've been getting a good number of happy messages from friends, some of whom are on these  discussion lists -- and who, very early on, or later as they learned of the War, were quick and always enduring in their fine support. The above message came today from Ms. Alta Bruce, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, long time former student of mine and, with many Indian and non-Indian students, a strong supporter of mine during the various conflicts at the University of North Dakota.
Alta's initial message, 'way back at the beginning of the fast burning Lupus War, was "We here in the Turtle Mountains are all praying for you."  Soon enough a widespread inter-tribal prayer network emerged and remained.  There were many  active persons in that -- and the network stretched far to the Four Directions.
And there were certainly a great many non-Indians who provided prayers and/or good thoughts.
It's all added up to a very bright and friendly Sun and a powerful testimonial to the Power of Friends and Things Unseen. 
I am presently planning  a very long future.
Hunter [Hunter Bear]


A very contemporary photo of part of our family. Left to right: Eldri, John, Josie, Hunter, Peter.  Maria took the photo.


Hunter !

Great image.  YOU look like you did in 1979.
It’s great to see the group.  Eldri looks much the same, and I didn’t recognize John for a while.  It’s wonderful to see picture of Josie my god-daughter, and Peter is still recognizable from his early’ towhead’ hair.  I’ll aim to send you a picture of our gang,
Tim [McGowan]



This, FYI, is not a communication which, in any sense, requires an acknowledgement from recipients.  People are busy. (And, if you aren't busy, you're likely enjoying a well earned rest.)

My now annual medical conference a couple of days ago, which was preceded a week earlier by the taking of a lot of blood from me (the "blood lady" is always much impressed), and its intricate and detailed analysis, indicate that there continues to be NO active Systemic Lupus (SLE} within me.  We declared victory one year ago and we declare it now.
As I've noted several times, this is unusual in SLE cases -- and extremely so in mine.  That was a full scale assault that began nine years ago, affected a number of key internal organs (but not my brain nor mind), saw me almost gone forever several times.  No physician expected the departure of SLE from me -- and I was told a number of times not to expect any remission of substance.
But the "Lupus Wolf" is gone.  
A couple of years ago, my oldest son, John (Salter), penned this:
Lupus, Latin for Wolf, and a wolf he is.
Always circling your camp on his silent feet.
Sometimes, when the warmth of the fire is most soothing,
he darts in to attack.
You fight him off.  Nurse your wounds.
Go on with your good works.
Perhaps oddly to others,
you respect each other.
You for his determination,
Him for your bear toughness.
Still, he is always there,
just beyond the light,
watching through yellow
I give credit to "things seen and unseen."  And I also give credit to family and friends whose support has been invaluable beyond words.
This was a long, long war.  In the course of it, I've done a great deal of reflective thinking and writing.  Some of that is on our large Hunterbear website.
I've also done a fair amount of social justice speaking in our region.  In this past year, I have no longer needed to sit while I spoke.  Instead, I can stand steadily for two hours or more (in my Size 16 Lowa Mountain Boots.)
I am also very pleased to report that my loyal Penobscot cousin, George, of Maine -- always as feisty and free and activist spirit as I and, like myself, a great letter writer -- who has had his own serious medical challenges, is doing very well indeed.  Prior to his brain operation at Boston, Maria and I climbed part-way up the high hill immediately behind our home -- Bureau of Land Management lands are only a stone's throw from our house -- and, in extremely powerful winds (50-60 mph), gathered sage and sent it to George by air (airplane that is, not via the Idaho winds).  Sage has profound spiritual and healing qualities.  The intricate operation revealed no malignancy and he's recovering well.
During the very pits of my Lupus War in late 2003, there occurred the beginning of a continual flow of supportive communications from friends, most far and away.  One of those, in December 2003, came from Sam Friedman of New Jersey, a veteran social activist and a fine poet (who also paid us a very pleasant several days visit in 2005).  Here is his poem -- always a great morale boost to me:

I know him
as electronic words
on a list serve,
printed words
in a few articles
and a book,
and by brief talk
by telephone-
and by the echoes of his deeds
which were not his
but those of the movements
he helped to organize.
As he would say,
the greatness is theirs,
or maybe, grudgingly, "ours,"
never "mine,"
never "me,"
though not through the false modesty
he reviles.
His ego resembles
a Pocatello pine,
his mind ranges over the Rockies,
his caring and vision
spills from the Arizona of his birth
through Jackson, Eastern Carolina,
Rochester, Chicago, the Dakotas,
down deep into the dark metal mines
where safety depends on power,
through the longshore bars of Seattle
and the firefronts of arid Arizona.
When he dies, the Scorpion and Centaur in the sky
Will drive Lupus from the star-fields with meteors,
and the Bears will dance around the Pole Star
to commemorate a life of their own.
 Keep Fighting,


While, as recent history indicates, premature declarations of "victory" can prove fallacious, I can report -- as per my observations and, more to the point, those of my long-term and medically conservative physician who happens to be LDS, that's we've definitely turned a "good big corner" in our Lupus War.  Here is my initial post, followed by Mack's query, and then by my response.  I should add that I've just thrown off an upper bronchial problem -- now endemic here in southeastern Idaho during many days of atypical icy fog -- and have tossed it without any medicinal aid.  [Still have troublesome sinus problems stemming from an old, serious facial injury.]
I am posting this on three lists where significant numbers have been concerned about my med condition.  Most are now aware that Systemic Lupus, relatively rare and considered "lethal", has a genetic base [in some cases, environmental factors play a secondary role] and a special preference for Native Americans, Blacks, Chicanos, and some Asian groups, and women in general. It's one of the most serious of the auto-immune diseases [where the body's immune system attacks various organs].  It has no cure and there have been no new Lupus medicines of substance for half a century -- although stem cell research offers grounds for some optimism.
Things went well at the Dr Jones visit today.  It's been awhile -- but he could find nothing really amiss.  Checked various things but this time did not feel any need for a blood test.  He ordered one up at the lab which I can do sometime this summer -- without seeing him.  I've gained a few pounds which we don't  quite understand -- probably could use more exercise.  He indicated that my "blood situation" [and whatever that connotes] has improved very significantly over the last two years or so.  In a sense, I think I have been sort of upgraded to a more stable and reassuring level.  I still have Lupus, still can get too damn tired, but it's pretty clear that my situation is now far from being medically alarming. He was glad, I should add, that Thomas had given my eyes a good look-over early last month and could find nothing amiss. That'll hold  nicely until we can get to our eye doc.  My basic medicine, Plaquenil can, in rare cases, affect eyes but it would be super rare given my physical size and conventional dosage.  We started that medicine in late 2004 and nothing has happened in a negative sense.  The other eye-related concern, diabetes, is now a dim bad memory.
For Thomas, I picked up copies of a couple of my lab -- blood work -- deals and will mail them.  Dr Jones, who saw Thomas many times back in the day, sends his congrats and good wishes to our forthcoming M.D.
And he thought Josie's baptism sounded great -- impressed with the fact that it spread over three hours [with great food.]
More later on things.
Glad to hear there's no bad news. Could that mean the lupus is retreating for another few decades? Or your body is learning how to beat it? You've come a long way in several years.
Thanks much for the note, Mack.  With respect to the Lupus, it's obviously more than simply a "stand-off."  It's ebbing -- retreating like the Napoleonic and Nazi troops did in the Russian Winter.  I'll always have it, somewhere within me, like I always have, and we can never take anything for granted.  But I have never, never given up -- and I think that's the key.
Always keep fighting.
I'm damn glad I've resisted the chemo drugs -- Imuran, Cytoxan, Methotrextate.  In addition to destroying -- as Eric Meinhardt put it so aptly, he with chronic Leukemia -- my entire "immunity memory", they would  have made me vulnerable to a variety of blood diseases, some potentially lethal. [Maria and Thomas dug up disturbing data on those chemo medicines early on.]  Some of the Lupus people I've encountered who have used those substantially have never really improved.
The question now is, When I can I stop the Plaquenil?  To some extent it suppresses natural immunity in the name of fighting auto-immunity.  But we may be reaching the point now where it can be tossed, and the natural immunity safely given a completely free hand. I have thrown this off in the past [when we had no idea of the malady] with no medicine.  Of course, we won't do this unless Dr Jones approves.  He has been with us since those early screw-ups from other docs which almost did me in three times.  But we are getting closer to that point, step by step.
I am more optimistic now than I have been for years.
But I've never stopped fighting.  And I have always been open to the good Spirits.
Best, Dad
David McReynolds:
Wonderful news. Keep fighting. Count on your cat for constant support. Remember, the spring is almost
within sight.
Hunter's response:
Thanks, David -- and to all who have tendered their best wishes, whether in print or thought. My physician, who took my situation over in that very grim fall of 2003, initially was not certain in those days that I'd make it -- life-wise -- and, until recently, never expected this very positive development. But the lab stats are firm, quantitative. In addition to a natural fighting spirit that I've had since the hatch, I give -- in addition to the doc -- a great deal of credit to family [including Furry] members, friends [many of them "virtual"],good food with some vitamins, pure mountain water, coffee, tobacco pipe. And very much good spirits -- not alcoholic, of course -- but paranormal. I suspect, too, that my antipathy toward the Bushies was a great stimulant.

It's been six years -- and I'm looking forward to getting out much more than I have. When the snow is gone, we'll be up into the Hills.

Sky is exactly one year old today. We gave her birthday present a few days early: double-circle with a metal ball therein and, in the center, a circlic scratch-pad laced with catnip, something we learned a few weeks ago can make her function in interesting ways, though always in loving and loveable fashion. Now and then, however, I think that perhaps catnip should be labeled a "controlled substance" -- but, of course, the concept of controls does conflict with my basically anarchistic spirit. Besides, she does love it.

Our very best to you and your great Kitties. We all fight on -- together.




Sam Friedman:

David Ranney:
Thanks so much for sharing this. I found it uplifting on many levels. I do
believe that the will to fight not only has medical benefits but also a
social dimension that is much needed these days.

Best to you and the family,
Dale Jacobson:
Very glad to hear the good news, Hunter.  And belated 75th! All accounts
sound good.  best as always,  Dale


James Williams:
Great News, Hunter! Keep on keepin' on!
Kass Fleisher:
Keep on a-rockin'!!!

Alice Azure:
Dear Hunter,

What wonderful news!  The kind needed at this time of year.  Thanks for the update.   

Alice M. Azure
Maryville, IL 62062

Mary Ann Hall  Winters:

Hi Mr. Salter,
Happy to hear the great news in your battle against SLE . I like that you continue to use humor in your fight/descriptions  . Particularly liked the analogies 
re : Napoleon & Hitler vs. Russian winters (smile) .
You're absolutely correct when you  stated  that sometimes those chemo drugs are more deadly than the disease itself .
Mary Ann
Scott Colborn:

Hello Hunter,
It's great to get good news these days, although I suspect that there truly is much good news that gets shunted out of the public eye.
Thank you for being my friend.
Peace.  Scott

Heather Booth:

To celebrate you, here are words from a song by Si Kahn, that reminds me of you and all we owe to all you have done: 
 People Like You
Old Fighter you sure took it on the chin.
Where'd you ever get the strength to stand?
Never giving up or giving in.
You know I just want to shake your hand.
And say that
People like you help people like me go on, go on.
People like you help people like me go on.
Old battler, with a scar for every town,
Thought you were no better than the rest.
You wore your colors every way, but down.
All you ever gave us was your best.
And you know that:
People like you help people like me go on, go on.
People like you help people like me go on.
Old Dreamer, with a world in every thought.
Where'd you get the vision to keep on?
You sure gave back as good as what you got.
I hope that when my time is almost gone,
They'll say that:
People like me help people like you go on, go on.
Because people like you help people like me go on.
Glad you got a good reading on your health and are in fighting form.
--Heather Booth
Hunter Bear:
I've forwarded Heather's to our three discussion lists: Bear Without Borders, Redbadbear, Sycamore Canyon -- with these words:
Note by Hunter:
This is a very kind communication from Heather Booth -- one that I much appreciate.
It comes at a point where, speaking personally, things look infinitely better than they have for years.  In late 2003, Sam Friedman penned a fine piece of poetic work, "Hunter" [on our website at several places], which gave me, then deep into the pits of a figurative hell, a tremendously positive and enduring boost.
The message tendered by Heather -- the apt words in Si Kahn's fine piece  and Heather's fine thoughts as well -- certainly fits with precision Heather herself, whose activist career is well and widely known.
And it also fits well a great many good people on these three lists of ours.
I've said a vast number of times that the Save the World Business is a long and tough haul.  While it can be characterized occasionally by the pitchy pine fires of high drama, it is, for the most part, tedious and wearing. One grim crucible after another.
It takes long-distance running, the slow and forever burning oak wood fire.
This morning, as Spring can be felt in these parts, Eldri and I engaged in a little reminiscence-with-coffee.
And, of course, as we always do, we concluded we wouldn't have done anything any differently than we have done -- or are doing -- and surely will into the far future.
In Solidarity,
Hunter [Hunter Bear]
Sam Friedman responds:
Heather and Si both have powerful words.  As do you, Hunter.

I went back to the poem, and am glad that the pessimism that crept into it has proven to be misplaced--but I stand by the statement that when you die, the Bears in the sky will dance in joy that you have lived.

And now, of course, you have your own family Sky to help you fight on.

Bob Gately comments:
Yet another delightful surprise from the lair of the Hunterbear,

Indeed, Heather Booth has added another tribute to your being, Hunterbear, I am moved to send along the lyrics of a song a dear departed pardner, Jon Sargent wrote and sang with his troubadour partner. (The tune was used as the musical theme for a UN Habitat for Humanity conference back in the Seventy's)

                                   PEOPLE LIKE ME

People like me enjoy people like you an we hope you feel the same way too..

So lets keep them guitars ringing, an every body singing an join in for a tune or two...

(Chorus) Cause you cant get in trouble in a fiberglass bubble and their ain't no corners in a dome, human needs warming up the streets...General Delivery's our Home....!

Because people like me enjoy people like you and we hope that you feel the same way lets all join together for a tune or two...

Jon and his pardner, Chuck were playing for change in the Gaslight/Town district of Vancouver BC and met some fisherman guys who decided they were going to sail up to Kamchatka (sp) Island in Alaska and stop/protest a planned above ground nuclear bomb test. They had a ship, a captain, John McCormick  and all they needed was the dough to go, so, Jon and pardner, known as the Flick & Frack went bar to bar with their hats out and raised some money for gas and grub to get them there. Thus was born, Greenpeace. An yes, the fisherman did get to Kamchatka and with  Jons journalistic experience help brought this affront to the worlds attention.  It worked ! Today, Kamchatka is a world wildlife sanctuary, still.

To paraphrase Walter Mathew(sp) in Gypsy, "Money/Music is like manure, ya got ta spread it around to make things grow".

Thanks for the Muse, thanks for y'all giving food for thought.



Sam said it all, The Bears will sing in joy, that you have lived...

The Homer ILV, Independent Living Vehicle is now on-line. Cowboys on Mars is alive at,

Alex Briscoe:
Congratulations, Hunter, that's great that your lupus is retreating.  I hope you live a long and healthy life.  Maybe I'll stop by one day and vice versa, feel free to stop by Chicago and say hi.  I'll introduce you to my Green Party and Teamster buddies.



Gary M.
Cold Nebraska greetings, Hunter Gray.
No doubt the above greeting will be unlikely to warm the outer parts, however I do intend warm greetings, and well wishes to you.  A day seldom passes but your person and well being crosses my mind; in part, because I always have one of the occasional messages you send out prominently located on my mail list.  Always glad to see you remain with us to share the accumulated wisdom of yourself and your forebears, irrespective those who might desire, would rather you did not.  Your words and thoughts are welcome here.
Wishing Hunter Gray continued good health, family and friends.
Kathy Marden:
Dear Hunter,
     I want to commend you on the wonderful progress you have made in your fight against Lupus.  You and your family must be delighted with the good news.  Thanks for the update.
Very best regards,

Mary Ann Hall Winters:

AMEN !!!!!!



NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:  March 6 2009

I'm delighted to get this letter from Willa Cofield [formerly Willa Johnson] and learn -- not surprisingly -- that she continues her activism.  A lot of good things came out of our wild saga in the Northeastern North Carolina Black-Belt -- and this key and critical case, won when the USSC denied cert to North Carolina [backed by every other Southern AG] following a Fourth Circuit decision on our behalf was one of several significant cases that emerged in the course of our multi-county struggle.  Principal attorneys in Johnson v Branch were Phil Hirschkop of northern Virginia, Bill Kunstler and Arthur Kinoy of New York City, and Sam Mitchell of Raleigh.  Morton Stavis, New Jersey and New York City, assisted in this case -- and, with Bill and Sam, was instrumental in winning our major voting rights case which, for the first time since Reconstruction, opened the voter rolls in the Blackbelt to Blacks and Native Americans.  Through all of this, Willa [a courageous and then high school teacher] and her husband, Reed Johnson, and other members of her family were key players and key pillars of strength.  See  This extensive page contains a number of links to other website pages of ours on the long North Carolina campaign.  H.
Hi, Hunter:

I'm so happy to hear the good news about your health.  It's impossible to keep a good man like you down!  I was in Charlotte, NC last week talking about the Willa Johnson v. Joseph Branch case at an NEA-sponsored banquet, which was held during the CIAA Basketball Tournament.  It certainly brought back many memories of our battles against the Klan in Enfield and of your brave and unfaltering leadership.  The historian who had unearthed details about the case in the NEA archives said that the NEA credits the case with saving 35,000 Black teacher jobs in the South.   Take care and keep winning battles..

Willa Cofield


Joseph Bruchac:

Dear Hunter Bear,

I've been enjoying getting your e-mails for
several years. Thank you for sharing your
words and your heart. . . It's so good to hear
that your health is better!

I wonder if you've found our new Abenaki
language website yet? Our son Jesse created
and is maintaining it.

You can find it at

I think you might enjoy it.


Joe Bruchac 




THE DREAM -- FROM H.  [publicly posted February 2004]


Frank Little, Cherokee Indian, and a metal miner and a great IWW organizer,
was lynched in the early morning hours of August 1, 1917, at Butte. The
killers were thugs employed by the Anaconda Copper Corporation.
His funeral and funeral march were the largest ever held in Montana
to that date.

The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area has been extremely important to me for
virtually all of my entire life. Certain sections of the Canyon appear
either literally or symbolically to me in very meaningful dreams. This is
usually rare -- once or so every year or two.

Around Summer, 2000, I ordered a true copy of a photo of Frank Little's
funeral procession. [It was very similar, BTW, to that of Medgar Evers
at Jackson on June 15, 1963.]

About two or three days after it came, I had this dream:

1] I saw the western Rim area of Sycamore in daylight -- cedar plains in
contrast to the rough and sloping geographically diverse eastern Rim [our
domain]. The fact that it was Sycamore was immediately established by
two white horses, dancing. White Horse Lake is a large body of water
on that cedar plain, just west of the Canyon's western Rim.

2] The scene immediately shifted at night to some sort of urban setting. A
black hearse, a Model T, appeared. Initially, it seemed to have something
to do with Frank Little.

3] But then it came -- still at night -- and put-put-put, to the house in
which we all lived. It may very well have been this house, right here. I
could look down from our large picture window and see it. But, in any
case, it was able to circle our house which it proceeded to do three times.
On the third, it stopped in front, with its
engine going -- as though it were waiting. This wait lasted for --
dream-wise -- several long minutes.

4] Then, suddenly, again put-put-put, it drove off and away. I felt a
tremendous sense of relief.

5] Still asleep and in my dream state, several of us in our family went the
next morning to a local funeral home to see if we could see the [archaic]
vehicle. What we did see was a contemporary hearse, conventionally parked
in the funeral home's lot.

6] After I awakened, I told the dream to Eldri. At that point, given its
diversities, it was difficult to interpret. But we have always remembered
it clearly.

7] I have almost died three times in the past several months. Sycamore
Canyon has figured very heavily indeed in this context -- especially as the
site for my Near Death Experience. Frank Little's martyrdom is explicitly
indicated in that NDE GHOSTS account.

8] But I have not died. Not yet.

Again, the best of everything to all of you -

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by NaŽshdoŽiŽbaŽiŽ
and Ohkwari'


This is a message I've just sent to family members.
[And to friends as well, I'm adding a few brief, elaborative comments.]
We saw Dr Jones yesterday for the first time in some months.  His routine checkover -- blood pressure, heart, lungs, and whatever else -- indicated nothing at all amiss.  Took blood and, a few minutes ago, his nurse called and told Eldri that my blood "is just fine."  The perennial Big Concern, kidneys, are obviously normal.
Of course, I still have Lupus -- but it is, at the least, blocked and may be slowly ebbing.  Hands and arms are among the things that are much stronger. 
And, physiologically and psychologically -- unlike the greatest majority of Lupus "victims" [80%] -- I am not depressed.
All the best, Hunter or Dad [depending on who you are]
And to go a just a bit further:
Systemic lupus is a genetic lethal disease and, despite mirages, there have been no new medicines for almost half a century.  In other words, it has no cure.  On the other hand, careful retrospective "detective work" in my case indicates that, at several times in the past, it hit me and, without having any idea what it was and avoiding medics, I threw it off on my own and just kept going.  This latest attack, half a decade ago, has been obviously extremely severe.  But this doctor visit and blood tests do add up to an encouraging picture.  There are still problems, such as fatigue in the late afternoons and evenings -- but I can, even then, rally effectively if need be.
I eat well, get a reasonable amount of sleep [although I initially get up around 2 am - 3 am.]  Drink a lot of our imported Teton Basin water and much strong black coffee. Smoke my Canadian-style pipe with whiskey-flavored tobacco.
And now, living with Sky Gray, it would be impossible to become depressed -- even if I were so inclined:

After we heard this from my good doctor, I told Eldri that I was inclined to revert 'way back to my early 20s and a few other times when I and my friends would celebrate with a quart or two of whiskey [good stuff or otherwise] and lots of ice.  [Eldri has her Jim Beam but handles it in very conservative fashion.]  But we decided it was best not to push things too far at this point.

On a broader note, Lupus is a relatively rare disease -- but one which disproportionately strikes men and women in certain ethnic categories: Native Americans, Blacks, some Hispanic and Asian groups.  Women in general are especially vulnerable.  Federal research funding is still abysmally limited.
In Solidarity,
Hunter [Hunter Bear]


NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: [December 16 2008]

I wrote this piece, GHOSTS, at a point where -- almost exactly five years
ago -- my Life Fires had dimmed low, 'way low. I lived in a "border"
atmosphere, characterized by periods of semi-trance and intermittent sleep,
both of these characterized by dreams which often, in their sharp
clarity could be tagged as "Visionary." My Systemic Lupus, which had almost
carried me away for good three times, had been diagnosed conclusively by a
dozen medics. The last one in this entourage was a solemn rheumatologist
who had pronounced it, in funereal tones, as "a very, very serious case." I
had been advised by some docs that it was time to "divest" myself of my
possessions. In that period I had to be physically assisted in getting into
and out of chairs and even my bed. I used a "walker" to get about. And,
despite my fickleness regarding organized religion, I had received Last
Rites from the Church.

Five years after that foreboding epoch the weather outside is about as bleak
and gloomy as it was then. But I survive -- extremely grateful for the
consistent support of family members and friends -- including furry
friends -- and, I should add, Spirits. I've resisted the now increasingly
seen as problematic chemo drugs, as well as the behavioral practice of many
Lupus victims to ritualistically visit their primary physician two or three
times a month. My mind remains sharp, clear. When I awoke very early this
morning, sleepy, and realized that the current five gallon bottle of
mountain water had expired, I loaded a new one [and they are damn heavy]
with no difficulty whatsoever. Sometimes, especially in the mornings, I
even feel something somewhat -- somewhat -- akin to the status quo ante
bellum of years ago. Following a change of medicine, my weight two years ago
returned to normal. I look very much like I have for much of my adult life.

There continue to be problems, family members remain properly concerned,
and, certainly -- we can take nothing for granted. But I fight, always, to
the very Four Directions.

As I have noted before, most of the people around us here in Idaho are very
friendly. But there are some, covert locals, who are not. The former renew
my faith in Humanity. The latter bring forth my most flint-like
dimensions -- and, through an obviously intriguing alchemy, are for me Good

To sum up in succinct fashion, I haven't for a moment given up on the
Sycamore Trek: another journey, and a very physical one, through my Great

Nialetch / Onen

Hunter [Hunter Bear]
In the mountains of Eastern Idaho




NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:  [September 21 2008]
I must say, in all honesty, that I am not a great admirer of "western medicine".  I was at least generally wary of it even back in the days when I was many decades away from elder status -- taking my basic cues from my Native father, who I recall went forty years or more without consulting a "western" physician. [If he, a fine father, excellent artist and teacher, and admirable figure on many significant fronts, had not consulted a new quart of 100 proof Old Crow each day for decades, he would have lived far beyond the 80 years he completed before transition.] 

When it was clear, a little over five years ago, that I was seriously ill with something, I did, after dragging my feet for a good while, go to a doctor.  At that point, ignorance of autoimmune diseases by those particular docs, confused opinions and a botched colonoscopy searching for non-existent cancer -- all of this in the context of severe anemia -- led to near death via cardiac arrest [my heart was fine before that and is just fine now]. And even when, after a dozen medics finally  and jointly diagnosed "it" as a full blown case of systemic lupus [genetic and incurable], the initial primary control med -- prednisone -- gave me a severe case of diabetes and a near death coma. [The diabetes ended when that medicine was terminated and replaced.]  Now, I go as infrequently as I can to a good and listening doc who honors my concerns and inhibitions, and I take as little western medicine as possible -- avoiding all chemo drugs.

Anyway, that's my pitch on that.
We have a great deal of faith in traditional medicine [ritual and ceremony and natural remedies] as practiced by bona fide medicine people.  A Navajo medicine man often trains for as many as 17 years before he's considered a full-fledged practitioner.  There are comparable examples in numerous other Native tribal society/nations in the Americas -- as well as globally.  Anyone who observes a trained medicine person practice is genuinely impressed from many perspectives.
On the other hand, one can find some good things to say about "western medicine" -- properly used.  In several months, our grandson/son, Thomas, will become an M.D. via the University of Minnesota -- but his program also contains, by design and by his own initiative, exposure to inter-cultural [especially vis-a-vis Natives] traditional medical approaches. His spouse, Mimie [Yrengah], from Zambia is in the health field as well.  We take their advice quite seriously.
Around 1950, when I was sixteen, my parents and I, traveling from Flagstaff to Window Rock and Fort Defiance and Chinle on the vast Navajo reservation, stopped at nearby Ganado and visited a hospital.  The head person, a Dr Clarence Salsbury, complained that few Navajo people came -- and no elders.  My parents and I did not find that unusual.  That cultural inhibition at Navajo [and many other Native settings] modified a little as subsequent years passed, but it was not until United States Indian Health Service reached out to the medicine people, and indicated a willingness to work jointly in a context of mutual respect, that some things changed for the better.  The increasing number of Native people entering the mainline health fields-- M.D.s, R.N.s, the full array -- is a signal and obviously positive development.  But Natives into professional western medicine are almost always very cognizant of, and very sensitive to, the critical importance of traditional cultural views and practices.
The following article from the Salt Lake Tribune discusses some of this -- with the focus on the Navajo and cancer.  It should be emphatically noted that most cancer at Navajo [and Laguna Pueblo] -- and some other serious diseases as well -- stem directly from the mining, milling, and refining of uranium within the Navajo Nation and its environs and some other Western American settings. [Canadian Natives have had their own lethal experiences.]  That all began in the late '40s and the '50s and continued for decades, with broadly lethal effects, killing and profoundly impairing thousands of people in many locations -- and wreaking poisonous havoc on livestock, wild animal life, air and water and earth. [The Navajo Nation government has now banned any uranium development in and around the vast reservation.  [We have things on our website about the Southwestern uranium tragedy and here is one page with a few related background pieces:

I should add that, around my neck, I wear a Bear Claw -- and an Ignatius Loyola holy medal.

Hunter [Hunter Bear]


A little tired of political stuff for the moment, I happened to run across an hour HBO special featuring one of the co-founders of PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  There was a time, and it was a fairly long time, that I was politely critical of the group -- though I really knew little about it.  My inclinations were to sort of write "them" off as East Coast/West Coast do-gooders, well meaning folks, maybe a little cracked.  I was surprised when I learned that an old lawyer companero, Phil Hirschkop, had become their attorney.  We had encountered the very good Phil when he was a finishing-up Georgetown University law student -- and he came down to help us in Eastern North Carolina.  Soon thereafter, as a lawyer, he was a great and loyal help, much involved with Kunstler and Kinoy and Stavis in some key cases our campaign engendered.  His most famous case, not connected with our work, was the signal Loving v Virginia -- which ended all remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the U,S.  Later, he represented the Hunt brothers in Texas [silver speculation etc] and eventually, among other things, came to represent PETA.
But despite Phil's work with the organization, I remained -- as many still do -- sort of critical of the PETA "busy-bodies."  But somewhere along the line, I did -- at a glacial pace -- undergo something of a process of change.  My great pet coyote of yore, Good, was a key factor in this -- to say nothing of the long string of our family's furry friends [virtually all of them strays, later some from local pounds], and clearly the Great Cloudy [and now of course, the equally great Sky.]
 I'm not a vegetarian by any stretch and our freezer is packed with elk meat, thanks to Cameron and Josie.  I strongly support hunting for meat -- and, in very special cases, as Ritual. I don't really like city hunters -- and I very much scorn those who are after "trophies."  I haven't trapped in decades [Thomas, during his recent visit here, was fascinated by my one surviving Number 4 Victor Doublespring and by  my trapping tales -- especially the time I caught an eagle by accident and spent the better part of two hours freeing the understandably very crabby bird.]. I do support trapping as economic subsistence -- Natives, farm and ranch kids, anyone.  How could the great great great grandson of John Gray [Hatchiorauquasha] -- leader of the Mohawk [with some St Francis Abenaki] fur hunters in the Columbia and Snake river country  and the Family Culture Hero -- ever say otherwise?  No way.
PETA and I obviously disagree on all of the foregoing.
But I agree with PETA when it comes to its opposition to medical or other experiments with animals.  And I'm appalled, more each year, about the  growing number of dogs and cats that are callously abandoned by their owners -- and I certainly agree super strongly with the "do gooders"on the awfulness of that endless river of tragedies.
PETA doesn't understand wild-life matters in the rural areas -- and especially in the wilderness context.  There is a natural balance of nature.  A now time-honored example -- which occurred long, long before PETA and back in my own early time -- involved the mule deer in the North Kaibab.  That's a heavily timbered wilderness setting bordered by the Grand Canyon on the south, and high desert to the north and east and west.  It's a large area, but exists as its own isolated world.  The mule deer cannot easily get into the Canyon and the high desert is not their habitat by any stretch.  Bounty hunters began to enter the area after lions for whom mule deer are natural prey -- Arizona in those days was paying $150 per lion scalp -- and wiped out almost all of the North Kaibab lions.  The mule deer herds multiplied astronomically -- and were then struck pervasively by consequent famine and disease.  When the lions slowly"returned," the balance was slowly restored. 
But, when I watched the co-founder of PETA patiently "doing her thing," I liked her -- and thought again that the outfit is  truly on the Good Side.  I'm still surprised that I've changed my mind so substantially.  Not known for doing that.
Anyway, just a few words and thoughts on a slow late afternoon.
And the psychic Sky is watching me very, very closely as I write this.
Yours, H.
You're always taking up for those Big City people, Sam.  But I guess they sometimes need a good advocate like you.  Seriously, if in addition to "the sport of it", they are also interested in meat, I can go along with their doings.  They're obviously a factor -- vis a vis my very clearly pointed North Kaibab example -- in maintaining the balance of nature along with the more numerous local hunters.  But many of the city hunters I've seen are poorly trained in hunting and gun safety, more than likely drink alcohol [which never mixes sensibly with firearms], often start forest fires, and wind up getting lost or stranded in inclement weather, even when such has been preceded via radio warnings by local authorities. Some are interested only in "the head and the horns" for taxidermy/mounting purposes.
  I recall an elk season in Northern Arizona where a great many of the Phoenix and Tucson dudes failed to heed heavy snow warnings.  Several hundred were trapped and had to, via great local effort and expense, be rescued by Forest Service personnel, sheriff's men, and no end of local volunteers.  Nineteen were never rescued and obviously died. In some cases, their scattered bones were found in the spring.  [With my Model A, I got two out and their vehicle as well -- one man had suffered a moderate heart attack. The other man was an Air Force colonel and did, without my solicitation, write a very laudatory letter of reference re me to the Coconino National Forest -- and that letter followed me into the Army in due course.]
So I have seen the "difficult" side of Big City hunters.  I think many of them need the services of professional guides.
Among the blessings of my Special Lands, the vast Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, was the fact there were no other hunters of any kind within many, many miles.  I've always been a lone hunter.
I am now against any medical experimentation using animals.  We had a big flap here at Pocatello about that -- and it stopped.
All best, H
  • Sam Friedman responds: I agree about the need for guides for some of them. Others do just fine. May sometimes be a class thing, or a rural roots thing. How would you develop vaccines and medicines without animals? or should we forego them?

    Hunter Gray responds: As you know, and I say this seriously, I am pretty critical of western medicine. I also think we all should place much emphasis on dealing effectively with the environmental situations which produce or at least enhance much illness. [I grant that not every medical ill is environmentally generated. Lupus is among the many that are genetic -- but in some instances of these there may be secondary environmental factors.

    Of course, we vigorously support our very fine Thomas -- on the brink of becoming an MD. But he has much faith in, and some knowledge of, American Indian medicine as well.

    Back in 1966 or so, a student assistant at University of North Carolina showed me a complex of cages with many rats and mice. "They're all scheduled to get leukemia", he told me. They were, at that point, happy little creatures. Never forgot that -- and have never heard yet of a real cure for blood cancer.

    Sam Friedman responds: and yet, chemotherapies do wonders with Hodgkins Disease and indeed even leukemia. I imagine they were developed at the cost to the mice. My daughter might well not be alive without the sacrifice of the mice or whatever to do these experiments.

    So, just as you opt for hunting and killing animals to feed people, I opt for lab mice being killed to keep people from dying of various diseases. I guess we differ on this one--but that poses no problems for me

    Hunter responds to Sam: Nor any problems for me. As William James put it, it's a "pluralistic universe." I have, however, staunchly resisted chemo drugs in my personal med situation.

  • _________________________________________________

    [Hunter Bear's Wrap Up]

    I don't consider my opposition to laboratory experimentation with animals to be anything other than perfectly consistent with my basic cultural values.  I wouldn't tag those values "Luddite" or "Anarcho Primitivist" or any other such western-world ideological gobbledygook term -- just Traditional, emanating from my deepest headwaters.  Domestic animals [cattle, sheep, goats and pigs et al.] are conceived, nurtured, fed -- and, in time, feed their people: a fair bargain truly in accord with eons-old Cosmic Balance. [Horses and mules are frequently buddies of people.]  Meat is necessary for a genuinely healthy human body -- but, of course, vegetables and fruit are as well.  If I had to choose between those categories, I'll take meat.

    [I have always felt that excellent nutrition is critical in preventing and dealing effectively with illness -- and I'm also very partial to first-rate natural vitamins.]

    The hunting process is an ages-old contest between human and wild animal -- almost always in the context of a kind of equality.  I've always been inclined to see it as a mystical -- even spiritual -- affair.  Others, of course, from other backgrounds, may see hunting in a purely secular context.  Either way, however, there is the element of egalitarian contest.
    But taking dogs and cats, mice and rats, into a cold-blooded laboratory setting, and slicing them up intricately, exploring their most private facets --  or injecting them with diseases --well, I just don't buy that. Dogs and cats are natural friends of Humanity, and mice and rats can be as well.  Some years ago, a "lab rat" was given to Josie, then at St Mary's school at Grand Forks.  Wonderful little friend, who we named Betty.  I used to feed her Ritz Crackers in the early morning hours -- and she happily danced and ran excitedly whenever she saw me.  And then, suddenly, she had large malignant tumors.  We spent around one hundred dollars in an effort to save her -- but she passed on.
    Some hair-splitters would probably accuse me of "inconsistencies" -- logic-wise.
    And they might have a point -- in their culture.
    But, as I say, I'm a Traditionalist -- in my Cosmic Circle. 
    Hunter Bear
    Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
    Protected by NaŽshdoŽiŽbaŽiŽ
    and Ohkwari'


    From Helen, a Native lady and one of several Lupus people with whom I communicate:

    Hunter, just read your post I wish I could express myself the way you do, I haven't been through some of the bad things you have, but the pass few months has been difficult. I don't look sick at all, people just don't believe that I am, I don't go out too much any more, because I get so very tired breathing is so hard, pass along some Indian wisdom for me. regards to all


    From Hunter:

    Dear Helen:

    I've given your letter considerable thought. I wish I had the magic formula that would "make things right" for Lupus people. I certainly know "whereof you speak."

    One of your own personally impressive dimensions is that your basic impulse is to serve needy People -- and, of course, by doing that you and others so committed and involved serve the Creator as well. And that's my basic impulse, too.

    Continuing to do that -- serving Humanity [and Creator] -- is very, very solid Good Medicine. You are doing that -- keep it up, tough as it may sometimes be. It means more to people than we all sometimes realize.

    One fairly general characteristic of Lupus people is that we tend to pull back, withdraw. There are even some that feel ashamed of having Lupus -- something that's difficult for me to fully understand. We were born with this predatory genetic situation -- which has such a preference for Native people and some other "minorities", and women. If we could dump the damned Thing, we certainly would. I've often wise-cracked that I'd dearly love to put mine on E Bay and sell It to someone who wants a sure-fire ticket to Disability status. Sometimes I've even gone so far as to say I'd give my best rifle to anyone who'd take my Lupus from me.

    There are worse diseases -- Lou Gehrig's, Huntingtons and so forth -- but that's really not much consolation. Lupus is a purely ugly disease and the fact that you so bravely, and myself, and others, keep on keeping on is proof aplenty that we are Not suicidal.

    The "withdrawal" tendency is something we all have to combat at every point. It's critical to see and visit with other people. It's important to write to other people, or communicate in other ways -- not necessarily about Lupus, but about matters of concern and interest to them as well as to ourselves.

    A couple of days ago, I hit a kind of rock bottom. When it continued into yesterday, I went out and shoveled snow. I'm not advising that in your case, Helen, and I know snow is somewhat scarce in southern North Carolina, but you are a person of many interests and many fine abilities. If, for example, sewing is helpful, Sew.

    I've always found that keeping hands and mind busy are my best medicine. Music has been helpful to me.

    My Cat is a great friend and partner! She seems to sense when I'm "down" and faithfully "takes care of me."

    We are both, as is Crissy, fortunate that we have a strong family/friends support network. That's absolutely critical. [There is a lady here in Pocatello as badly afflicted as we -- no family anywhere around and few friends.]

    Hope is critical. One of these days better medicines will come along. And too, there are Forces within us, and around us -- Good Spirits -- that one of these days may well produce, if not a cure, then a substantial and long-term remission.

    In the meantime, write me anytime -- anytime -- that you wish. It's always so very good to hear from you, Helen. You are not only a fine friend but a genuine Inspiration to myself.

    Our very best to all. Just Keep Fighting.


    Hunter [Hunter Bear]

    Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
    Protected by NaŽshdoŽiŽbaŽiŽ
    and Ohkwari'


    Although Lupus problems occasionally flare, and things always remain problematic, there is nothing like a great Kitty and political provocation to keep me going.  I posted the following yesterday:
    Slow day on our Idaho hill.  Colder now, snow higher up, wind and rain have just cleared, leaves beginning to fall.  Slow day, too, on most discussion lists -- with my only exceptions being Hybrid Cats and Bobcat/Lynx. On that note, Sky Gray has emerged as the most active Kitty I've known -- and, especially toward me, fully as attached and affectionate as Cloudy; Cloudy being very likely, judging from virtually every facet of Sky's behavior, Sky's former incarnation or at least her faithful spirit guide.
    It's day that I could have used a good Western flick.  My standard with those is that, preferably, the Indians win -- or at least don't lose; no John Wayne and maybe no Clint Eastwood; and no psychiatric twists. Not too much love stuff -- and lots of guns with filming in the geographical Real West.  Couldn't find anything that fit my bill, so I watched CNN.
    And there I saw Sarah Palin's attempted attack on Obama, focusing on the contrived Ayers "terrorist connection."  That factor, non-existent re Obama, and extremely remote for the now long-standing respectable Ayers, struck me as far more desperately pathetic than sinister and a good indication of how thoroughly bankrupt the Republican party has become. [Not that I'm  always a fervent admirer of the Democrats.]
    The last time I saw  eyes like Palin's were those of a coiled rattler a couple of years ago on the sagebrush slopes just above us here.  Its tongue flickered back and forth and its eyes glittered with excitement.  But there were a couple of differences:  the rattler just wanted to be left alone [and we, of course, honored that.]  And the rattler was smart, sharp -- shifting its position with defensive finesse.
    Palin isn't smart nor sharp -- nor is McCain.  But she is quick-cunning so, like our friend in the sage, she bears some watching. But never to the point of slowing one's momentum.
    We remember the Weatherman "outbreak", such as it was, in Chicago in the fall of '69.  A cloudy and rainy day and our family was driving far down on the south-east end of the city, passing by a large open gravel pit.  We heard the spectacle on the Near Northside being breathlessly narrated on one of the radio stations but, frankly, we were not all that interested.  I, with a growing and fine staff, was digging in for what became more than four years of hard, grassroots organizing on the city's South/Southwest Side -- and the Weatherman thing seemed as remote as a falling star.
    At that point, Baby Mack, riding in a baby seat, was about one month old.  Now he's a top-flight editor for the Lee newspaper chain with three kids -- two of whom are in what's now calculated as "young adulthood."
    That was a long time ago and I really don't see many Americans -- especially in our wracked nation of today -- giving a damn about any of that.
    But I do always like to see a rattler or two.  Fellow Ishmaelites.
    Yours, Hunter



    Excellent post, Hunter.  I’m with you down the line.  I look at the Iowa Electronic Market, run by the University of Iowa business school.  It is a real time electronic futures market.  They have Obama 74.5 to McCain 25.5 today.

    So I think Palin is just a poot in a windstorm.  And a great distraction – because meanwhile, the Bush administration may be behind the coup of tribal government that has just taken place at Hopi, and this is no joke – all the coal and good quality water are at stake – it’s Peabody, of course.  If you want to  know more I will tell you.  And PS the Indians – I mean the people who live in the villages and try to just mind their own business - are losing again.

     If I get a minute I will send you a copy of my book, Joe Walker.  It occurs in 1863-1865 in Arizona.  I’d be intrigued to have your opinion of it.


     Martha E Ture



    Again , my sincerest thanks for all that you did.
    Mary Ann



    Well Said, Hunter Bear--
    You hit the part about rattlesnake eyes right on the head.
    Steve Rossignol



    As the demagogic McCain/Palin "revival" travels about -- desperately trying to recoup their failing political fortunes -- we are hearing more the  ostensible Scare Word, "Hussein."
    I've always felt that the late King Hussein of Jordan was widely considered a pretty decent guy.  And the name, of course, is frequently found throughout the Muslim world -- [and in other settings]. That, of course -- in addition to the late Personage of Iraq -- is the precise connection that  McCain/Palin are trying to plant in a pejorative sense in American minds -- apparently quite unsuccessfully given Obama's steady rise in the polls.
    When, because of my increasing premonitions about the dangers posed by the Red River of the North, I moved our family well to the west of Grand Forks, North Dakota in May of '91, I bought our home -- in and around a very small cluster of others -- from the very nice Hussein family.  They, of Asian Indian background, were headed by a colleague, Dr Hussein of the Pharmacology Department at UND, who had just accepted a position at a larger eastern university.  With our thoughtful move, we escaped the massively destructive flood of '97 which, with a fire, wrecked most of Grand Forks and forced well over 50,000 people into surrounding states and Canadian provinces.
    Time passed after our move and, one day when Eldri was away shopping and Josie was at high school, there was a knock on the door.  There stood a man and boy of obvious Middleastern background.  The father asked, "Are the Husseins home?"
    Indicating the Husseins had moved, I invited the pair inside to explain.  They appeared to note nothing too unusual about me but, upon seeing the interior of our living room, the father stopped -- obviously puzzled.  He saw the large and ancient Toltec stone head on our red dresser, flanked by another Meso-American stone figure, also very old, that we call "The Traveling Deity."  Then he saw paintings by my father of Native people -- and also Dad's large and semi-abstract, Los Locos, done via Guanajuato. 
    He also noted, hanging on our wall, the rather long and quite old indeed shell-beaded belt depicting the  structure and nature of the Haudenosaunee [Iroquois Confederacy].
    While his son stood silently, the man looked long and hard, several times.
    Then he smiled -- hugely and most pleasantly.  He understood.
    He explained that, for some years, the Hussein living room -- now ours -- was the mosque setting for the local and quite small Muslin community.  He and his own family had moved on some years before -- and he and his boy were passing through on their way to Winnipeg.
    I directed him to the home of a neighbor, also an Asian Indian and a UND colleague, in whose home I had heard the local Muslim group regularly met.  But before they left, we visited cordially and I explained the significance of all of those whom and which he'd been studying intently.  He and his son were genuinely interested. More than that, they were quite empathetic. 
    I hadn't known ours had been a mosque.  But, as I say, we are ecumenical in spirit -- and I knew all of those Entities of our living room would join me in wishing  the Husseins and all of their fellow-worshipers -- everywhere -- very well indeed.
    It's a great big Creation -- truly full of all sorts of Wonders.
    And lots of room.
    Even for McCain and Palin.
    Yours, Hunter


    Good to read about Sky, and the Cloudy connection (it's there all right),  and an interesting note about scare word "Hussein".
    As a family name I think it comes close to being the Smith, or at least Jones, of the Muslim world, and as a first name it's up there with the equivalents of Tom, Dick and Harry. Not exactly exotic if we look at the bigger picture in global terms, but that I think is studiously avoided.
    As a scarier parallel, I can't help being reminded of Adolf Hitler carefully noting the numbers of Jewish-sounding names among the editors and journalists of left-wing newspapers in Vienna before the First World War. That boy found clear proof.
    All the best,


    Neat story, Hunter.  I look forward to reading whatever you write.  Thanks.




    Like all back and forth discussions, this on RBB regarding race and racism can -- probably unavoidably -- become a little diffuse. One of the problems involved is obviously the interesting mix of cynicism with various political perspectives, some of which are obviously sharply critical of Barack Obama on ideological grounds [to say nothing of the Democratic Party in general,]

    As I've indicated, I support Obama -- in the sense of critical support. I can appreciate all of the other perspectives. But let's not overlook the tremendous importance of this historical moment. If the United States [and Canada as well] have a still all-too-pervasive sickness, it is dehumanizing racism and that related and intertwined ill, cultural ethnocentrism -- the many varieties of alleged "cultural superiority/inferiority". Long after the initial and explicit [and, again I say explicit] economic foundations of these have eroded, the quack theological justifications ["primitive children of the Devil"] and the equally quack biological rationales ["inherent, genetic inferiority of non-whites"] -- all of this to justify genocide against the Indian nations in order to secure lands and resources, and the enslavement of Blacks, and the seizure of Mexican territory, and all the rest --, racism and ethnocentrism have continued with consistency, taking on and carrying their own ill-life forward: profound infections in our national minds and our national bodies. Often all of this still retains, however veiled these days, an economic foundation -- but these durable poisons can certainly survive purely "on their own" and do so in a vast number of cases. [See ]

    True, in the past few decades, we've come a very long way in a very short time toward digging much of this out, exposing it all to healing forces, "overcoming" -- albeit far too slowly. But, as everyone of us on these discussion lists knows, there is one hell of a long way to go.

    When Barack Obama won the Iowa Democratic Primary, I commented on a number of lists: "It wasn't so long ago that we had to fight to survive at a Woolworth lunch counter."

    But this Good War is far from over.

    In Solidarity,

    Yours, H.



    Good observations .Thanks for sharing.

     Was in contact with three fellow Tougalooians this weekend : Evia Simelton-Briggs Moore, Stockton, Calif.; Dianella Williams-Crudup , south suburbs of Chicago and my roommate for one year @ Tougaloo . Hadn't spoken with her in over two years; Robert Mairley , outside of Denver, Colorado.
    All three  asked about you . Dianella had heard that you had left us. Bob remembered seeing your picture in Jet Magazine back in the day . It was that bloody picture of the Jackson - Woolworth sit-in.
    It was  good talking with all of them and going down memory lane wabout  the good & the bad.
    Love and regards to the clan.
    Mary Ann



    [This piece of mine was carried by Portside -- October 19 2008 -- the large circ Net media outlet.]

    The faithful Portside -- the left-focused and non-sectarian Net media outlet -- posted yesterday an interesting piece, "The New Organizers: What's Really Behind Obama's Ground Game." See Portside at

    Essentially it's a paean of praise for the -- admittedly quite impressive -- networking structure built by the Obama campaign with its balance of paid field organizers and grassroots volunteers. A number of obviously worthy individuals and their observations and reflections are given due space in the piece.

    All well and good -- but I have some obvious questions and a few additional thoughts:

    The Obama campaign is super heavily funded -- almost beyond one's comprehension. And it's operating as a reform crusade in a nation facing one of the gravest economic/political/social crises in its history. It has almost unprecedented widespread and "respectable" backing from the American political and economic mainstream.

    And Barack Obama himself is -- in sharp contrast to his adversaries -- a singularly attractive individual with the gift of true oratory.

    But no organizing campaign -- at least none in the world of bona fide social justice-seeking -- has ever had anything even remotely close to a modest fraction of the spending funds of the Obama campaign -- nor its broad and respectable stratospheric backing. Most grassroots organizing, always heavily dependent on altruistic and courageous volunteers, with hopefully some professional organizers, is a low-budget affair -- "nickels and dimes." The salaries of the professional organizers -- true and committed -- are consistently modest. Social justice campaigns are, far more often than not, opposed vigorously -- even virulently -- by the respectables. [After all, the justice campaigns are out to take power from the top and return it to the local folk.]

    And, while some of the people involved at all levels in the fights for justice are genuinely charismatic, most fall short of that -- like "me and thee."

    And all of those in conventional organizing campaigns have to scrabble hard for even a modicum of decent media coverage.

    An obvious and fast on-coming question is, "What will happen when Obama [and the Democrats] win?"

    Will this vast grassroots network -- founded, frankly, as an electoral empire -- survive in at least good measure over the longer pull? And, if so, will it do good works: e.g., force, via enduring grassroots pressure, all of the Democrats [and others] to carry out their vast myriad of good promises -- and, conversely, block the bad ones [e.g., expanding the obviously highly questionable and clearly unwinnable Afghanistan War]?

    Will the high idealism that shines in the faces of the millions of Obama supporters and emanates in a great glow from the ever-larger crowds be able to transcend the limitations of Obama and the Democrats -- and go further, and ever further, into building an enduring trail toward the Big Rock Candy Mountain?

    Last winter I wrote this -- voicing, I'm sure, that which a great many of us on the general Left were -- and are -- thinking:

    "Long after this campaign has run its course -- for relative "better" or worse -- the fact remains that for the first time in decades vast numbers of younger people -- and many oldsters as well -- will have been sparked and stoked into good fire. Some will fade away -- but a great many will remain in an least some sort of activist mode. If what constitutes an "American Left" ignores this, it runs the great risk of a retreat into meaningless monasticism. People have to make their own decisions -- e.g., Obama or "third party" or otherwise -- but don't ignore or attack the tremendous phenomenon presently underway, and building." -- A FEW THOUGHTS ON AN EARLY SNAKE RIVER COUNTRY MORNING [HUNTER BEAR - FEBRUARY 3 2008]

    The true social justice organizer -- whether professional or volunteer -- is always a Long Distance Runner.

    Even if their dinero is always slim.

    Just a few thoughts on a rather cool October morn in the Snake River country.


    Hunter [Hunter Bear]




    First, thanks to all on Redbadbear who participated in this little colloquy of sorts. This produced a number of thoughtful and candid responses to my "optional" question of "Where do you all stand -- and why?". Some folks had already indicated their position -- often more than once -- and a wish to avoid undue redundancy is certainly understandable.

    This wasn't/isn't an effort on my part to simply "stir something up." I am genuinely interested, in an obviously friendly way, in how people feel on these things.

    Not too surprised at the results.

    Putting it mildly, there is obviously a common thread of frustration running through the entire country [and beyond, as far as that goes] and our little RBB community clearly reflects this -- as well as a certain cynicism when it comes to any politician.

    I've indicated my personal thoughts on this election more than I probably have on any in the course of my voting life. Given the gravity of "the situation" -- the worst all-around active mess that I can recall since childhood memories of the general Depression era and a Disaster fraught with the potential for even more -- we in this household have no problem whatsoever casting our votes for Obama/Biden in a few hours at the Bannock County, Idaho, courthouse -- and a straight Democratic ticket as well.

    The Obama ticket may not carry Idaho -- chances of that are probably remote -- but there are a number of Democratic races where the victory potential is good. One of those involves the seat of outgoing Senator Larry Craig.

    And I do hope for a sweeping Democratic "take" of Congress. The crises we face call for much more than leisurely political talk and deadlock. Pretty clear which side has the great plurality of relatively good ideas [as well as some poor ones.]

    And, as I reminded the understandably fretting Eldri yesterday when we watched McCain -- truly personally sinking and an increasingly pathetic caricature, as he called up the thoroughly shabby fraud, "Joe the Plumber" [ the Republican version of the "Noble Proletarian"] -- we do have the Separation / Division of Powers in this country.

    Explicitly embedded in our Constitution.

    And, although Eurocentric historians may quibble and take issue with this, we have those fundamental safeguards primarily because of the example of the ancient -- and vitally enduring to this very moment -- Iroquois Confederacy [Haudenosaunee.]

    Trusting that we all -- all of us -- will keep fighting always,

    Yours, H.

    Sky Gray -- truly a wonderful companion and all that anyone could ask for in a Kitty, and more -- is helping me with the computer stuff this morning.  Challenging situation.  The catnip mouse diversion worked for a little while but we have now opened a fresh can of tuna.
    Well, RBB has ended the month -- only coincidentally is it Halloween -- with a true and not atypical July 4th display of fireworks.  Drawing from the traditions of my maternal grandfather [who I cordially -- and I do mean cordially since we were great friends -- describe in my long Civil Rights Movement Veterans interview as "capitalism incarnate"] I note that the post tally for our just completed month is 895, topping the previous record of 887 for November, 2001.
    I'd say, in an all-around friendly fashion, that it's deep breath time.  We're all on the same side.  Always will be.
    And we're all quite articulate indeed.
    And passionate.
    [I much like the just given suggestion of John [Beba] about good beer.  To that I'd add Johnny Walker Red.  I miss the days of long yore when I was not an abstainer.]
    And, of course, we are all aware that a major development in American history -- the Obama campaign -- is now moving toward an extremely probable victory.  [When we voted yesterday, in the Bannock County Courthouse Annex, the very large room was full -- and there was lots of motion:  people coming in to vote, people registering for the first time, all kinds of people -- many young, and some quite young.  The lady in charge said that, in past elections, they only drew a tiny handful of early voters each day.  But they were well staffed.]
    True, Obama is no saint, no messiah [and I really don't get the impression that he thinks he is -- though, of course, some others may.]  But he and the contextual and foundational forces around him represent, in my opinion, a great step [not a leap] forward -- and forward with the Winds of History,
    It's a good -- a damn good -- fighting chance.
    Our job is to Keep Pushing, Keep Fighting.  Whatever happens and whenever, our work is always cut out.
    I appreciate the comments on the Iroquois and the Great Confederacy -- which picked up on mine of yesterday.  During my one year of high school teaching -- and from my very first semester of higher ed teaching [college/university], I have always managed to incorporate therein Native historical and social cultural material -- and very much current issues.  During my thirteen years at University of North Dakota, my three favorite courses -- quite officially in the Native context -- were Intro to Indian Studies, Federal Indian Law, and Contemporary Indian Issues.
    And, if I have always been surprised -- but not too surprised -- about the dearth of awareness and accurate knowledge on the part of non-Indians [and even some Indians] about Native matters.  But I've been very pleased, always, about the friendly and open-minded nature of virtually every student I've ever had the privilege of teaching -- all kinds of students, many kinds of subjects. [I should add that I have always avoided "guilt-tripping."]
    For anyone interested in the Iroquois, here is a list of recommended books I provided awhile back -- and have given earlier on at least one of our lists.  I have appropriate comments as well.  And, of course, I am always happy to answer questions, on list or off.
    Dear Walter:

    Thanks for your inquiry. I'm posting this on another list or two as well --
    since it's an excellent question and my response, I trust, is equally
    excellent. As you know, being a professor, ask a professor a question and
    he or she is still responding 45 minutes later.

    Anyway -

    The ancient Iroquois Confederacy -- which is very much alive and extremely
    vital -- is complex and quite formal. It exemplifies, within the context of
    the traditional cultures of the initially five and later six Iroquois
    nations, the very carefully worked out balance between collective and
    individual well-being [ and here, in this matter of confederation, between
    the component nations and the Confederacy as well] -- that is the enduring
    and fundamental dimension of any Native tribal nation [and other Fourth
    World tribal societies.] Agriculture and hunting were the traditional
    economic mainstays of the village-based Iroquois nations that make up the
    Confederacy: Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga -- and, sixth,
    Tuscarora [coming up from North Carolina in the early 1700s.] As such, this
    extraordinary entity is much more structured than, say, that of the old
    Wabanaki [Abenaki or Abnaki] Confederacy -- to the east and northeast of the
    Iroquois -- where the participating nations were traditionally hunters and
    trappers and where the family bands comprising the Abenaki nations were
    necessarily semi-nomadic. [Among these Wabanaki tribes are the St. Francis
    Abenaki, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Micmac.]

    I have a great deal of material -- always growing -- on Native American
    matters posted on our very large social justice website

    A short piece of mine, if you haven't seen it, gets quickly into the matter
    of tribal or mutual responsibility: the individual has an obligation to the
    tribe and the tribe has an obligation to the individual; should these
    interests conflict, the well-being of the tribe takes precedence; but,
    within that very carefully established framework, there are clearly
    developed areas of individual and family autonomy into which the tribe
    cannot intrude. That little piece of mine is "Racism, Ethnocentrism, and
    Native Tribalism [it was recently published in the Northwest Ethnic Voice.]
    Here is its link on our site:

    Here are several suggested books. I have a thought or two attached to each:

    Lewis Henry Morgan: The League of the Iroquois [League of the
    Ho-de-no-sau-nee or Iroquois], Corinth Books, New York, 1962 [many
    editions]. This is, of course, one of the major classics by the Rochester,
    New Yorker who worked so closely with traditional Iroquois -- especially the
    excellent Donehogawa [Eli Parker], the Seneca who was also Brigadier General
    in the Union Army and Grant's chief aide, as well as being the first Native
    person to head what was becoming the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Morgan's
    works and subsequent extensive correspondence were of great and enduring
    interest to Marx and Engels.

    Edmund Wilson: Apologies to the Iroquois, Vintage Books, New York, 1960.
    This is an excellent introduction to the Iroquois by the gifted and
    well-known writer -- who "discovered" the Iroquois and whose healthy
    fascination became life-long. A component essay in Wilson's work, Joseph
    Mitchell's "The Mohawks in High Steel" is a splendid addition.

    Dean R. Snow: The Iroquois, [Blackwell, Oxford UK and Cambridge MA, 1994.
    A great deal of material -- historical and contemporary -- is presented in
    a well organized, trenchant, and lucid fashion. A full and very palatable
    reference work.

    Annemarie Anrod Shimony: Conservatism among the Iroquois at the Six Nations
    Reserve, Syracuse University Press, 1994. This is an extremely detailed and
    intricate study of Iroquois traditionalism -- including traditional
    government -- into and with an emphasis on contemporary times. Very well
    done and presented, this first appeared under the aegis of Yale in 1961;
    the new edition is updated. [My father secured this when it initially
    appeared and I read portions at that point. That copy was falling apart and
    we were delighted to get the updated reprint.]

    William Fenton: Parker on the Iroquois, Syracuse University Press, 1968.
    This is the edited compilation [by Professor Fenton] of much of the vast
    primary research and analytical work -- on many key components of
    traditional Iroquois culture -- by the noted and traditional Seneca scholar
    and activist, Arthur Caswell Parker [great nephew of Eli Parker] who was, in
    addition to being a broadly acclaimed ethnologist, an active organizer of
    Native rights organizations: e.g., Society of American Indians [1911] and a
    founder of National Congress of American Indians [1944.] Arthur Parker, I
    should add, was an extremely important role model of mine as I developed.
    This work contains a great deal on traditional Iroquois governance, the
    origins and development and vigorous continuation of the Confederacy, and
    the Constitution of the Five Nations of the Confederacy.

    For a first-rate discussion of the origin and development of the Society of
    American Indians and Pan-Indianism in general [organizations and movements
    transcending specific tribal lines], see Hazel Hertzberg: The Search for an
    American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements, Syracuse University
    Press, 1971.

    As Ever -- Hunter [Hunter Bear]



    [Lupus has a preference for both men and women in certain "minority" categories -- Native, Chicano, Black -- and for Anglo women. Doesn't seem to care much for Anglo men.] 

    A lady near us -- an ISU professor who recently moved into the neighborhood and who often takes Maria to St Joseph's Catholic Church -- has just called, unable to drive this morning.  Although they are still testing her, it is likely she has Lupus.  Down the road a short piece lives another very good neighbor, a young  woman, LDS, close to Josie's age, who has been battling Lupus for years. [Unusual to have three cases of this close by in unrelated people.]  I can only say that, in addition to all of the other reasons to vote Democratic, there is the fact that research monies into these relatively rare "orphan diseases" and other serious threats should increase substantially. At the very least, critical stem cell research should be greatly facilitated.  Lupus is, of course, politically non-partisan: I understand that [Utah] Republican Senator Robert Bennett's daughter has it. He's been active in the Cause, supports the Utah/Idaho chaper of Lupus Foundation of America, to which we belong.  H.
    From Helen today, a Native lady in North Carolina with Systemic Lupus and a niece who is near death with the same illness.  My response follows.
     hope both of you are well ,i haven't been well at all came home friday from a five day stay at the hospital ,bleeding internal, and a very high blood pressure,i do so wish this would go away for a very long time, crissy is so very sick , she has more surgery scheduled nov. 14th.let me know how you're doing.
    From Hunter:
     Dear Helen:
    You've been on my mind -- especially so these past several days.  If you hadn't written, I would have within the next two days or so.
    Well -- and I've quoted this Lupus friend of mine at least once to you -- "If it isn't one thing, it's another."  The past several weeks have not been at all good for me. Somewhat undependable legs and feet, much fatigue.  We are very sorry to learn of your problems -- and certainly those of Crissy.  We certainly convey our very best thoughts and prayers to all of you.
    We get a number of Lupus publications -- and I have yet to find any sign of any really new, effective medicines.  A couple of the publications insist on displaying smiling faces of Lupus folks on the covers -- but I can see little to smile about.
    Our family, like yours, is a major support force.  And I have a great Kitty who sticks with me at virtually every moment.  Coffee and my tobacco pipe are great aids.
    Our youngest, Josie, is due to have her first child next May.  That will be our ninth grandchild.  Our grandson/son Thomas will be an M.D. come next May -- he's finishing his fourth year of Med School at Minnesota.  He's always interested in the Lupus situation, keeps us posted on things in that medical area.  But, as I say, we all are still waiting for a truly helpful medicine.
    The more grandchildren, the better!
    In the meantime, we can only Keep Fighting.  You all are doing a fine job on that front -- all Lupus things considered -- and I think we are, too.
    We are cut from good "material" but I know, Helen, that it's tough.  Only someone with Lupus knows how it is.
    We send all our love to you all -- and, as always, our best prayers and our best thoughts.
    Your good friend, always --
    Hunter [Hunter Bear]

    Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
    Protected by NaŽshdoŽiŽbaŽiŽ
    and Ohkwari'






    This makes me very happy indeed!  TERRIFIC fighting back you are doing!


    Dear Hunter,
         I am so pleased to hear that your medical exam was favorable and it sounds like you're enjoying life. 
         Thanks for keeping me posted.
    All the best,



    I'm glad to hear that you got a good report!
    Take care of yourself!
    Jim Williams
    That's great news, Hunter! 
    Charles Levenstein, Ph.D., M.S.O.H.
    Professor Emeritus of Work Environment
    University of Massachusetts Lowell
    Lowell MA 01854

    Have received a number of fine and encouraging messages -- which we all here appreciate greatly.  I am passing this one along -- from Willa Cofield [Willa Johnson], brave and key stalwart in our broad based grassroots Movement which swept through the Northeastern North Carolina Black-Belt counties in the '60s. She continues to fight on -- as do we all.  It develops that a good friend of hers has just been diagnosed with Lupus.  My response to Willa follows her as always solid message.  H.
    Hello, Hunter-

    Thanks for sending the encouraging report on your health to me.  I can see that the spirit of determination that you always exhibited back in the sixties continues to serve you well.  With your permission, I would like to share your E-mail with a comrade who has just been diagnosed with Lupus.  I met her in a community struggle that has been underway since February here in the town of Plainfield.  The corporate owners of our hospital, which is 130 years old, announced that they were asking the state for permission to shut it down.  Since then we have waged a bitter struggle, turning out more than 1200 people for the hearing of the state planning board to hear our side of the story.  If you enter Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, NJ into your search engine, you can find photos and news articles about our efforts.

    Carmen is a very courageous, middle-aged woman of Latina background, who is a community and social worker.  She told three of us Monday night after our weekly meeting about her medical report.  I have tried  to think of some way to show support, and I think your
    brave and sensible approach to the condition would be helpful to her.

    I have thought of your leadership and our work together in northeastern North Carolina many times during the past few months.  We have a very promising grassroots organization, the  People's Organization for Progress which has led the resistance.

    In response to the great turnout for the first hearing , the planning board has set a second hearing for tomorrow night.  We are trying to pack the house again.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

    In the meantime, take good care of yourself and give my very best regards to Eldri.
    Dear Willa -

    How very good to hear from you!  By all means, forward my Lupus message to
    Carmen.  At some early point, she may want to check out the Lupus Foundation
    of America which is very easily found in a number of Google locations.  It
    maintains a network of support groups and I am sure there is at least one
    close by you all.  Carmen should feel very free to contact me with any
    questions about which I might be helpful.  Lupus is an individualistic
    disease but there are, of course, some basic commonalities.  And, after five
    years of continual fighting, I have learned a fair amount about it.   It's
    critical that a person remain optimistic, never give up, always keep
    fighting -- and support by family and friends is a very critical dimension
    always. [He was still an undergrad when this hit me five years ago, but my
    grandson/son, Thomas, was a major resource when it came to definitively
    finding solid things out about Lupus.  And he's now a fourth year med
    student at Minneapolis!  His wife, Mimie, from Zambia, is moving in that
    same direction right now.]  Anyway, our very best thoughts and prayers to
    Carmen -- and certainly to you and yours, Willa.  You are doing absolutely
    fine community work -- as always -- and that is truly Genesis in the Save
    the World Business.  I shall certainly check out the hospital link you've

    The People's Organization for Progress carries a very familiar and pleasant

    Our very best to you, Willa, and we shall -- as always -- keep in close
    contact.  Always and forever.

    In Solidarity,

    John or Hunter or Anything at All

    This is all very good to hear.
    I'm sure you will hear more from Peter at a later time.
    He's just left to go back to the office to coordinate coverage from the tornadoes near Lincoln, NE this evening.
    ED KING:
    Hello John/Hunter Bear and Eldri,

    Good to hear the health news is upbeat.  . . .
    It is sad that I have seen no slight apologies to you on the SNCC web
    site .  Of course there actually were very few persons involved in
    that... and several very solid and friendly comments.

    Obama's speech last night was fine.  I understand and respect why people
    support him.  And this is part of the fruit of the labor and sacrifice
    of so many of our comrads and friends.  And, to think, that we should
    live to see things move this far, whether he wins in November or not.
    It is an honor to have fought at your side and with so many good
    brothers and sisters.


    Ed King

    Beba -- in yet another memorable Beba-ism, asks:
    "What would you do if it was determined that you didn't have lupus, but a severe cat allergy instead?"
    And my immediate [albeit slightly stilted] response, of course, is simply this:  From my two basic cultural traditions, my personal loyalty always goes, of course, to family and friends.  And family includes All.
    Including the Family Turtle.
    Good news!
    I'm certain that Sky Gray has helped you a great deal, in terms of your relative health and stability.  My dear grandfather agreed that a little bad whiskey, (Old Crow), remedied quite a number of thing; I try not to forget this lesson.



    Very glad to have the health report. Now keep it that way!

    David McReynolds



    Hello, Hunter -

    I was delighted to learn you're even with and a nose ahead of the lupus.  Not a good wolf, that lupus.  Not my kind of wolf.
    Question - do you happen to recall, some years ago, I wrote to you about RFK when he was Attorney General, on the steps of the Justice Department building, while we picketed - and we were picketing what had happened in Jackson. .  .I recall I sent it to you after you wrote about the piece of the Nash dashboard coming out of the roof of your mouth. .
    I ask because I can't find it in my files, and I'd like to revisit it today and possibly post it, after I review it. .
    Martha E. Ture

    Note by Hunter:  Found and sent the nice piece by Martha.




    Hallelujah !

    Mary Ann


    Thanks for the good news.
    Also all the FLDS children are home, I hope that they sue  the butts off of Texas.
    We are paying down the bus more and more, progress soon, I am back in Salem, Oregon working to pay off the last of it.
    Then we start on our trip across the nation.
    Hell, you're in better shape than I am. (Which, of course, isn't saying very much.)
    Steven F. McNichols
    268 Bush Street, #3602
    San Francisco, CA 94104-3503

    You sound in fine shape, Steve.  I gather that you travel with some frequency and, while I envy you, I hope you continue doing that.  Other people, other turf settings -- that's key, in my opinion, to staying young.  I miss those nomadic days, but they may return -- at least to some extent.

    I do sense that, after five not pleasant years of dealing with very aggressive Lupus, I may finally have it in a retreat mode.  The doctor seems pleasantly surprised -- especially since, at its outset, I really wasn't expected to make it.  At that point, I was almost "saintly" -- but now I am fast returning to normalcy.
    I got a very nice note on all of this from Joyce Ladner -- presently in DC visiting her sister, Dorie, who we also know well.  A few months ago, Dorie called and both Eldri and I had a fine and substantial visit with her.
    All best, H
    So glad to get the good news.  I am in DC visiting Dorie.  I will tell her about the good news.



    Hello Hunter Bear--

    I am glad to hear that your health continues to improve.
    Be strong!
    Steve Rossignol



    We all saw your medical note a couple of days earlier and were encouraged by it. I worry about situational depression almost as much as I do about your physical condition.

     Good to hear your Lupus may be backing off; I was contemplating a ritual sacrifice of a wolf, but I'll put that on hold.



    [Tim and Theresa McGowan are God-parents of our youngest,  Josie. I am God-father of their son, Mark.]



    I'd just recently begun to feel some concern as well -feeling like it had been a while since I'd heard from you.
    Then this afternoon I was thinking of you again as I looked at the sun on the water of the Susquehanna, about 20 miles west of Scranton.  I was driving home from a celebration there of my sole uncles 50 the wedding anniversary-which I attended as a seven year old.
    One of my favorite views and vistas of the home region is atop the Wyalusing Rocks, a outcropping of several flat rocks that jut out over a sheer drop to the Susquehanna several hundred feet directly below.   As you look out.  your vision is parallel with several turkey vultures loyal to the space who soar on the updrafts and swells in suspended animation right in front of your eyes.  The vista is breathtaking panorama of the Susquehanna River Valley , as the river winds its way in sweeping serpentine contours around fields and forests of the Endless Mountains.  They're part of the northern rim of the Appalachians.  The enormous watershed itself actually begins up in Cooperstown and empties into (50%) of the Chesapeake Bay.
    My  step-grandfather used to take my mother up there I was told.  I might have even taken a ride with him as a child.  In the 90's, I'd taken my parents and  our "kids" there over the years. It occupies a special place in my heart.
    So I just arrived home and received these emails.  My the Creator has blessed you with extraordinary -long tern resilience my brother.  What a wonderful report.  All hail to the Life force within your body !
    I will be deleting a large number of emails this week which while it hasn't prevented other emails from arriving regularly might have been a factor in not receiving yours.  In any event, all's well that ends well on this technical end.
    I celebrate our on-going telepathic or ESP/ Tao like connectivity.  It feels like waves of a particular energy resonance.
    More news on this end at a later time. I'm heading to zzzz-land.
    How great the Sun !  It's great to be back in communication.
    With a heart fire of fraternal affection, and in our old friend solidarity,




    Dear Hunter,

    As we've noted before, mind over matter - and body- can do a lot of things. Your analysis of your history with Lupus seems to point to that. Bravo!




    On a personal note, I'm -- as I've quite recently indicated -- doing much better. In late 2003, hovering pretty close to the Beyond, I wrote my piece, Ghosts, a kind of near-death and extraordinarily vivid and detailed dream vision involving a trek down Sycamore Canyon. It was the first substantive thing I had written since mid-July of that year. I wasn't sure how it would be received, but posted it widely. Steven immediately wrote a very favorable comment about it, followed by various others -- among them, Sam Friedman, Bill Mandel, Kass Fleisher, Alice Azure, Dale Jacobson, Clyde Appleton. Those boosted my spirits beyond measure and sparked my current wave of still continuing writing. And "Ghosts" will in due course be published in an anthology of Native writing -- a work which will, intriguingly, focus on quantum physics.



    Hunter, Good to hear from you. We were thinking of you on the 45th anniversary of the tragic shooting in Jackson. Hope you are are spot on with regard to the Presidential race. Be well, cousin. 

    John M. Solbach


    Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
    Protected by NaŽshdoŽiŽbaŽiŽ
    and Ohkwari'
    I have always lived and worked in the Borderlands.
    Our Hunterbear website is now eleven years old..
    Check out
    See - Personal and Detailed Background Narrative:
    See - The Stormy Adoption of an Indian Child (my father)
    And check out Elder Recognition Award (from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers: