for Hunter Bear, Micmac Man
The moment I saw you in that eye-popping oil painting—
forty inches wide by forty-six inches tall,
fiery red background framing your cowboy hat,
brim drawn down, further shading sun-glassed eyes,
pipe clenched in the corner of bear-jaws,
denim jacket drawn open across the relaxed expanse
of your white-shirted torso, elbows jutted outside
the portrait’s border, open book balanced
in your right hand and
in the center of all this unnerving masculinity
sat two cups of your favorite drink, coffee—
that moment I knew I’d have to be the painting’s caretaker.
My husband’s lips tightened, face went ashen
as I paid the artist—your brother—his asking price.
Back home, the portrait, named Micmac Man,
got relegated to our basement den
where many nights I retreated,
beating my brains for understanding about why your image
should hold such sway upon my soul
like a Marlboro Cowboy gone amok,
sniffing the spoils of an unraveling animal—
easy hog-tying points.  Then
I remembered your classroom style and teachings—
a great oak, unperturbed by winds,
always fighting for grass roots people—
miners, migrants, Native Americans,
Black citizens caught up
 in the Jackson, Mississippi lunch counter boycotts.
Your family life bespoke a discipleship
of which I was incapable. 
Thank God your detachment
from academic indoctrination
led me to ancient stories of Migoum’agi—
land of the Micmac—
how Kesoulk made Glous’gap, who, in turn taught the People
to thrive in a new creation.       
Faintly I began to hear the sweet notes of a flute’s song
nudging me towards that same country—beckoning me to
another beginning.  One day I left
the material comforts of my home, your portrait in tow.
For nearly a decade your image hung central in my homes
from Rock Island to Washington, DC and back to Chicago.
I called you a “marriage spoiler,”
for in your exalted position over my couch,
male visitors seemed to squirm, uneasy with
my MITH—man in the house,  
quintessential Indian Cowboy,
favorite professor,
clear-sighted justice worker—
all rolled into my inner MYTH of masculine psychology.
One man—Alec Azure—wasn’t fazed.
He knew you as a compassionate friend,  
was one of many who accompanied you on visits
to Fort Madison Penitentiary’s Indian prisoners.
After we wed, he mildly suggested
the dominant red of your portrait’s fine image
could brighten the interior of NAES College’s
 fire-renovated white-drabness.
 Opting for domestic harmony,
I donated you away to the college—
hung Micmac Man high in the central stairwell
where all of us who worked there daily passed
under your confident, laid-back calm.
After Alec passed to spirit—after I left the college’s employ, 
your portrait was removed down to the archives,
where you stayed until a decade later
when the time of your repatriation at last  arrived.
It wasn’t easy getting you out of that place
with me then living in southeastern Connecticut.
My Chicago friends—mostly women—said they’d help.
In the dark of night,
your portrait strangely astir,
they carried you out of NAES,
detached the canvass from its frame
staple by rusted staple,
rolled you up in bubble wrap
and sent you on your way
over interstate roads from Chicago to Pocatello.
Maybe it was a multiplier effect
of good medicine unleashed
by a web-based tribute from your friends—
students, colleagues, comrades-in-arms, family and the rest,
hundreds banded together—
that led to your release from that dark storage, from
the near lethal grip of Systemic Lupus.       
On the other hand, as you once suggested,
your own Bear Medicine unrolled its Power,
returned you and Micmac Man to where you belong,
front and center in that place you now sit—
will always sit—
among family and friends, enjoying camaraderie
and those cups of early morning coffee.

Alice M. Azure
Maryville, IL 62062




[Frequently Up-Dated] [Latest Up-Date  November 19, 2008]


As a boy, I shot my huge Coming of Age Bear -- deep in the vast Sycamore Canyon wilderness area in Northern Arizona.  At that point, I then became a man. The fiery spirit of the Bear and its abundantly
fine qualities -- intelligence, courage, stamina, instinct -- are with me always and have served me very well and faithfully on my swift and rocky River of No Return.  I plan to do much more in my life -- much more indeed -- before the eventual trip into the Fog and Deep Canyon, up over the High Mountains, and Far Beyond to the Shining Sun in the Turquoise Sky that glows forever down on the Headwaters of Life. And when that Journey finally comes the great Bear will accompany me.    Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]  Fall 2005



From Sam Friedman: "It is an amazing outpouring of love and respect.  Not just for today, but as something we can show our grandchildren and they can show their grandchildren to say, "This is what you can aspire to."

From Lois Chaffee:  "It is a great tribute - I'm very glad that you can see the impact your life has had on so many other lives and so many significant events.  Best to you all." 

From Heather Booth:  "Hunter, You have captured our hearts and spirits.  I am so glad you like the web site and know some of the impact you have had not only on those who have been with you in common struggle, but also those of us who are moved by your example."


From Bennie G. Thompson -- Mississippi Congressman -- in Tribute Remarks before United States House of Representatives:


(February 10, 2004)


Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Hunter
Gray, a civil rights activist involved in the southern movement from the
summer of 1961 to the summer of 1967.

Hunter Gray, formerly John Salter, took the name of his Native American
family some years ago and has been one of the Nation's most ardent advocates on behalf of Native rights. He was recently diagnosed with a severe and possibly fatal case of lupus that has also brought on a bad case of diabetes.

John Salter was very active with the Jackson, Mississippi, NAACP and boycott [1963]. He was in the trenches with Medgar Evers and others during the civil rights movement from 1961 until Evers was assassinated.  He also wrote a book titled, Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism (1979).

Hunter Gray's commitment to civil rights has continued throughout the years. He and his wife Eldri, who has been a partner in the struggle for equality for 40 years, now live in Idaho. He has been hospitalized several times over the past few months , and his medication and hospitalization costs are very expensive. Many of his friends are organizing a testimonial and fund-raiser to let him know how grateful we are to him for his many sacrifices and contributions to civil rights, Native American and labor causes.

For further information on Hunter Gray, I refer you to his widely read Web
site at
Hunter Gray has left a formative mark on the shape of Mississippi history.
I thank him for his service to civil rights and to Mississippi. I ask that
you keep him in your prayers and meditations.





I am honored -- humbled -- by the 2005 Elder Recognition Award of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. This is one of several
awards voted by the Caucus [board] of this organization of writers,
storytellers, film makers, and journalists. I was nominated by
Alice Hatfield Azure [Mi'kmaq] -- an honor in its own right.  As are
other fine expressions of appreciation, this is extremely  meaningful to
me and our family. And to all of those with whom I have worked and
for whom I have written -- and from whom I have always learned much
indeed -- this is for them a tribute as well.

I am in very good company.  Among the honorees is Alice's other nominee,
Catherine A. Martin for Film-Direction in The Spirit of Annie Mae.  And
Emory Dean Keoke, with Kay Marie Porterfield, received the award for
research with respect to their American Indian Contributions to the
World [5 volume set]. [Emory is an old friend and former student.]

[The previous recipient of the Wordcraft Elder Recognition Award was Maurice Kenny, Mohawk, teacher and playwright and poet, who received it in 2000.]   Regularly updated.

The foregoing Elder Recognition Award page contains a large number of fine comments.

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



Hunter Gray Tribute and Fund

Visit Hunter's Valuable Website






All material on this website
Copyright © 2004
by John Salter
unless otherwise copyrighted.

Protected by
Na´shdo´i´ba´i´ and

Send New Material

This website is updated periodically as new material is sent in.
Please submit additional written materials brief or long - articles, poems, messages, short well wishings, etc. to: Stephen Harvey
or to Maria H. Salter


1. Jim Loewen, Washington, DC

2. John Henry Sime  Readstown, WI
3. Charles Bracey Chicago, IL
4. Heather Booth, Washington,DC
5. Dale Jacobson Grand Forks, ND
6. Stephen Harvey, Courtenay, B.C.,Canada
7. Joyce Ladner, Sarasota, Florida
8. Roy T. Wortman, Gambier, Ohio
9. David Ranney, Washington Island, Wisconsin.
10. Steve Rossignol, Blanco County, Texas
11. David Finkel and Dianne Feeley Detroit, MI
12. Reber Boult Albuquerque, NM
13. Clyde Appleton, Tucson, AZ
14.) Joan Mulholland (Arlington, Virginia)
15.) Tim McGowan (Rochester,NY)
16.) Steven F. McNichols (San Francisco,CA)
17.) William Borden (Royse City, TX and Bemidji, MN)
18.) Kass Fleisher (Normal, Illinois)
19.) John Salter (Glyndon, Minn.)
20.) Duane Campbell (Sacramento, CA)
21.) Stephen Zunes (Santa Cruz,CA)
22.) John Lacny (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
23.) Joan C. Browning (Lewisburg,WV)
24.) Edward Pickersgill (Guelph, Ont., Canada)
25.) David MCReynolds New York, NY
26.) Jerry L. Severson (Grand Forks, ND)
27.) William Mandel (Oakland, CA)
28.) Ed Nakawatase (Philadelphia, PA)
29.) Theresa Alt (Ithaca, NY)
30.) Vivian E. Berg (Mandan, ND)
31.) Louis Proyect (New York,NY)
32.) Michael Hirsch (New York, NY)
33.) Rev. Edwin King (University of Mississippi Medical Center) Jackson
34. Sheila B. Michaels, St. Louis, Missouri
35. Macdonald John Enoch Stainsby, Vancouver, BC, Canada
36. Dan Hittner, Brooklyn,NY
37. Quinn Brisben Chicago, IL
38. Barry Cohen New York, NY
39. Steven F. McNichols San Francisco, CA

40.  Steve Rutledge  Charleston, W Virginia

41. Matthew McDaniel Maesai, Chiangrai, Thailand

42. Elliott and Muriel Ricehill  Black River Falls, WI

43. Sandra Thompson St. Cloud, Florida

44. Peter Gray Salter [Mack] Lincoln, NE

45. Alta Bruce  Belcourt,  ND

46. Alice Hatfield Azure  Mystic, Conn.

47. Zonnie Gorman  Navajo Nation and Gallup, NM

48. Dorothy Lockhart  Skokie [Greater Chicago]  IL

49. Susan Kelly Power  Chicago, Il. and Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, ND.

50. Johnothan Buffalo Tama, Iowa

51. Willa Cofield [Willa Johnson]  Enfield, North Carolina and Plainfield, New Jersey

52.  Robert Carr,  Navajo Nation and Winslow, Arizona

53.  Tougaloo College Class of 1964

Robert Calhoun

Lavern Johnson Holly

Annie Belle Calhoun ('65)

Carrie Lapsky Davis

Doris Browne

Memphis A. Norman

Shirley Barnes Laird

Jerrodean Davis Ashby

Rita Huddleston Parker

James C. McQuirter

Sylvia Davis Thompson

Deloris G. Daniels

Albert E. Lassiter

Gwendolyn R. Ross

Emma J. Campbell

Charles E. Quinn

Norma Jean Lathan

D. Camille (Wilburn) McKey

Ruth M.(Moody) Byrdsong

Norweida (Rayford) Roberts

Joan (Trumpauer) Mulholland

Bennie Cohran

Shirley (Wells) Green

Joyce Ladner


Steve Rutledge


54.  Celine Nally, Stanley, New Mexico

55. Jason Schulman Brooklyn, New York

56.  Honorable Benny Thompson, US Congress, Mississippi

57.  Karin Kunstler, New York City

58.  Andrew Braunberger,  Mandan ND and Minneapolis, MN

59.  Sally Hunsaker Webb, Arizona

60.  Philip Damon, BLM, Pocatello, Idaho

61.  John Beecher [1904-1980]  Birmingham, Alabama

62.  James Anderson Dombrowski [d. 1983] New Orleans, La.

63.  James S. Richardson, Flint, Michigan

64.  Carl L. Hime, Navajo Nation and New Mexico

65. William F. Winter, former Governor, Jackson, Mississippi

66. James Wesley Silver [d. 1988] Mississippi

67. Burl Good Soldier [Burl McCaslin],  Spirit Lake Sioux Nation

68.  Susan Mary Power, Twin Cities and Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

69.  Gordon H. Henry, North Dakota

70.  Arthur Hillman [1910-1985], Chicago.

71.  Alex Gaby, Rochester, New York

72. Thomas Armstrong, former Tougaloo student

73. LaDonna Brave Bull, Standing Rock Sioux  Res

74. Dawn [Donis] Lough, Iowa City, Iowa and Meskwaki Settlement

75. C.B.  Scott Jones

76.  Mary Ann Hall Winters,  Chicago [and Mississippi]

77. Eric Meinhardt  [Grand Forks, ND -- and the World]

78.  Chuck Levenstein, Massachusetts

79.  Carol Held,  Utah

80.  Mato Ska, Albuquerque, N.M.

81.  Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark,  New York

82.  David Nolan, St. Augustine, Florida

83.  Roma Law / Roma LaVoie, North Dakota and Arizona

84.  Scott Winter and Adam Nossiter, Nebraska and New York City, respectively

85. Darren Eisenzimmer, Champin,  MN.

86. Alex Westad, White Bear Lake, MN.

87. Bret [Quick Bear] Salter, Glyndon, MN.

88.  Bette Ann Poole Marsh, Tougaloo and Chicago

89. Austin C. Moore III, Tougaloo and California


1. Hunter by Sam Friedman  New Jersey [and New York, NY]

2. For Hunter Gray by Dale Jacobson  Grand Forks, ND
3. Horicon I & II by Alice Hatfield Azure, Mystic, CT
4. His Courage is a Beacon (For Hunter) by Norla M. Antinoro, Tucson, AZ
5. Restless Bear by Robert Whalen Gately Phoenix AZ
6. The Bear by Samantha Salter, granddaughter  Pocatello, ID
7. Ecological Musings by an AIDS Researcher, 2/11/04
by Sam Friedman, New Jersey [and New York, NY]


1. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

August 28, 1963
by Martha E. Ture, NAV Feature Writer [Fairfax, Marin Co., CA]


1. Painting of Hunter by his brother, Richard Salter, 1978.   [Wisconsin and GTO Mexico]

2.  Painting of Hunter's father -- John Salter, Sr./Frank Gray -- by Richard Salter, 1978. [Wisconsin and GTO, Mexico]








An Open Invitation To Participate
In This Tribute To Hunter

We have put together
this web site,
to recognize Hunter Bear's remarkable life and commitment to justice at a time when he has been stricken with Lupus.

We're asking everyone to send in articles, stories, well wishings,thoughts & comments, humor, insights ... that you would like included (memories, hopes, prayers, appreciations), to Stephen Harvey at or to Maria H. Salter

Submissions are most welcome and will be periodically added to this work in progress webpage.

We welcome other suggestions and offers of assistance in this recognition of an inspiring fighter for justice.

We hope you'll volunteer in the spirit of solidarity and common struggle.

Your participation will add to this wonderful tribute.

Please submit written materials brief or long - articles, poems, messages, short well wishings, etc. to: Stephen Harvey

or to Maria Salter


Note by Hunter Bear:  In just several days, this particular post has drawn a flood of  continuing praise.  Here are just a few of many indeed:

"This near-death experience by an authentic American hero--who was deeply involved in the Mississippi civil rights movement among many other principled stands--is so moving that I have to share it with you."

Steven F. McNichols [Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Attorney]
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503  12/21/03

great writing. xo Kass Fleisher  Author of forthcoming THE BEAR RIVER MASSACRE  [Spring 2004]    12/22/03

 I have forwarded this to my sons, calling it a wonderful read by a wonderful man who has led a wonderful life.  The whole thing belongs in your autobiography, including your present illness, because that will tell readers about your character.  And I urge you once again to get it written pronto, making arrangements for your writer and editor sons and whoever else to finish the job if you don't.

Bill [William Mandel]  Activist and author of many books -- including SAYING NO TO POWER  12/21/03

Oh, John!  This is wonderful.  Even with your terrible illness, your strength shines -- blazes, really.  My warmest gratitude to you and Eldri.  Paz.  Clyde    Clyde Appleton, Tucson, a close radical activist friend from the '50s.  December 27, 2003

Having been a subscriber for less than a year, I have very much regretted not having the opportunity to meet this man.  Knowing what I've learned of him through these pages inspires me to let him know that I very much appreciate his contributions and will miss him when he is no longer with us.  My wishes are for his impact to influence my thought world and that of others for many seasons and for his continued strength to continue to be with us for as long as he needs to be.

Marie Jackson, SNCC discussion list, January 6, 2004

ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING!  Dale Jacobson  Poet and Scholar  January 23  2004

From Tiffany: 2/21/05

Wow!  All that I can say is that I'm amazed.  i know you've probably heard
this so much that it's old, but your writing ability is incredible!  I'm
totally blind, lost my sight at two months old, have never been to Arizona,
and yet I saw the places to which you were referring.  I felt that I was
with you as you made that journey.  Then again, what else should i expect
from such an admirable figure as yourself?  [Tiffany]



I was suddenly but gently aware that I was standing at the edge of a large
stand of tall, slim jackpine timber.  I was in a very strange half-light
that I had never before experienced.

I dream little -- at least in any recollective sense --  at any time.

But this was no dream of any kind. I had gone to sleep that night in our
'way far up home on the far western edge of Pocatello, Idaho.

I knew precisely where I now was:  several yards from our old and quite
isolated and remote -- and almost roadless -- family hunting  camp on the
very edge of the vast and beautiful Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area
southwest of my hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona. Through eternity, the always
flowing Sycamore Creek continues  to cut at glacial pace -- deeper and

I was looking from the Canyon's east rim directly west: down at the western
slope which then rose sharply to its rim -- in contrast to our eastern area
which had some substantial sloping regions in its upper setting. Then I
looked across that western rim and the widespread cedar plains that
dominated that side.

I looked southwest -- looking over a dozen mountain ranges that stretched
very far off toward the Colorado River -- and the California border.

And then  I was looking south: many, many miles down the Great Canyon into
Sycamore Basin and  its vast, and cedar-sprinkled open reaches -- bounded by
small mountains and high ridges.

And then beyond, directly south into the Verde Valley with its sprinkling of
tiny towns and scattered, often downright hardscrabble folk.

And then up above the Valley -- up the slopes of Mingus Mountain -- where a
handful of lights signaled the tenacious existence of the once fabulous
copper mining town of Jerome.  It had been a ghost town since the early
1950s -- and it was still legend.

Now the Great Canyon pulled suggestively -- and it pulled south.

And then, suddenly, I knew I was in Borders -- a complex of them.  And I was
also at Choices.

I had to go south -- directly down into the innards of Sycamore and then
southward 'way, 'way through the Canyon -- into the Verde Valley.

I had done that before -- a long time ago.

I was extremely ill with a sudden-striking and mysterious illness called
Systemic Lupus -- and the very worst and  deadly form of that particular
version of the oft lethal disease.  It had struck only a very few months ago:
widespread rashes, fever, extreme weakness, body pain, swelling -- all sorts
of deep disorders. It has no cure.

And the  destructive variant  with which we are dealing -- what my doctors
"a very serious case" -- attacks and threatens lungs, liver, blood vessels,
kidneys, and a number of other critical organs with a bloody passion.

In less than four months, I've been in the Pocatello mountain hospital three
times -- and  have come extremely close to dying at each  beginning point in
those week long stays.

This Lupus could  and will attack literally Anytime -- with virtually no

Early on, even before Lupus had been specifically diagnosed, our immediate
family gathered to do my Will in my hospital room: Eldri [my spouse of 43
years], myself, Maria [school staff] and her two children -- Samantha [13]
and  our grandson/son Thomas [21], Josie [just graduated from Idaho State in
Social Work].  Our two oldest sons, Beba [John ] a writer; and Peter, a
newspaper editor; each worn to the  bone from travel exertion arrived on
schedule:    Beba had come from Fargo to Lincoln, picked up Peter, and they
had driven a thousand miles to Idaho,

It's the Will of a Native family: solidarity, consensus, communalism.  While
a surprised -- and in some instances discomfited hospital staff  watched and
listened surreptitiously -- we took it point by point.  The family was the
executor committee and could choose its spokesperson when the time came; our
home -- very new, relatively large, big yard area, best view in Pocatello ,
rapidly climbing value -- would remain in the full hands of the family with
Maria authorized to use it throughout her life and the others able to use it
at will;  our big historical and contemporary Native arts and crafts
collection would remain forever in the group and nothing could be taken nor

sold. [Beba subsequently drew up an intricate codicil which provides for
very careful loans to reputable exhibits and institutions; same basically
for my quite large collection of Western American and Western Canadian
radical labor material.]  There is more, of course -- but mostly on a share
and share alike basis.

Once Eldri and I are both gone, and the Will then locks in with total
finality, no changes can be made in any  dimension of it save by bona fide
family consensus.  But it's a very close and tight outfit indeed.

Back home, I typed it up, and all signed via notary plus witnesses.

And Eldri and I did  a Living Will which provides for moderate efforts to

After that there were more very close brushes with Death, twelve physicians,
twenty pills a day.

But before we ended that meeting, Beba raised a final point: looking at me,
he asked, "What do we do with you?"

"Cremation," I said slowly.

"And the ashes?" he continued.

"In the end there's only one place," I said. Heads nodded.

And that  -- our historic and long ago hunting camp, to which as a  Teen  we
had brought the huge
 Black coming-of -age bear which I had a lifelong mandate to kill and did --
is where I now stood.

Now I began walking slowly --- still in half-light -- down the trail into
the Great Canyon.  And there I hoped  to travel all the way down the Canyon
and into and through the Basin to the Verde Valley.

And Jerome glittered on Mingus Mountain.


Jerome, Arizona. July 10, 1917.

Two hundred thugs armed with Winchester 44/40s, pickaxe handles,  and
baseball bats designated themselves a "Loyalty League" with the blessing of
United Verde Copper Company.  The great IWW-led copper strike, [Industrial
Workers of the World] -- from Butte to the Mexican border -- necessitated by
wartime inflation and static wages, had just begun.  The so-called
vigilantes rounded up 75 key  Jerome strikers in the early morning hours of
that terrible day, beat them badly, placed them in United Verde boxcars, and
took them far westward to Kingman, Arizona on the California border.  When
many tried to return, they were jailed at the Yavapai County seat of

Two days later, on the Mexican border at Cochise County, 1200 strikers and
sympathizers were rounded up by hundreds of Loyalty League vigilantes with
the full backing of the Phelps Dodge Copper corporation and local lawmen --
and taken by boxcars to Columbus, New Mexico where they were dumped in the
desert with neither food nor water.

In the early morning of August 1, 1917 at Butte,  Montana, a major IWW
leader, organizer, and copper strike coordinator -- the Cherokee, Frank H.
Little -- was hideously murdered by gunmen employed by massive Anaconda

Blood dark clouds gathered in the Western copper country where memories are
very long indeed.  They are still there -- now, to this very day,

There was much, much more  anti-labor and anti-radical brutality across the
West -- and eventually the country itself. No one was ever punished for
these atrocities.  And then the Federal government itself rounded up 150
leaders of the IWW, quickly convicting them [along with Gene Debs, the
socialist], of the completely spurious charges of "Espionage" and

That was long before my time, of course,  But the historic, always
remembered Jerome Deportation was -- along with the racist brutality and
economic exploitation of Flagstaff and many regional environs -- a key
factor in my own eventual radicalization at  barely 21.


The half-light didn't change -- but I had no difficulty seeing and
navigating. The Canyon was forty miles long, north to south, and I was
taking the lower 30 all the way to the end.  But for me now time and distance
were meaningless.

For a few moments, I studied myself.  I was big, very muscular, much hair.
I wore my traditional J.C. Penney wide-brimmed hat, Levis, worn blue Western
shirt,  heavy and steel toed logging boots cut slightly  long ago by a
mis-aimed double-bitted axe blow.  I carried my old 30/30 Winchester lever
action, with its curved butt plate and long octagon barrel.  On my left hip,
I packed a large hunting knife.

And I had energy! -- energy I had not had since the hideous disease had
struck many weeks before.

Almost 50 years earlier, in May 1955, I had taken this very route over a
major junket of several leisurely days. [I know of no contemporary person in
those days -- and maybe even to this day -- who ever made that trip.] I was
a basically healthy kid -- but there were problems.  The Army, in which I
had just served a full stretch --  very honorably by its standards -- had
left marks. I had a brand-new IWW  card.  This was fine by my parents, but
they still hoped [and Mother pushed ] for a "respectable" career to which I
was resistant. That far off trip through Sycamore  -- coming home to my very
special setting -- was in large part to organize my own thinking.

In the course of that Great Trek , I explored some vasty side canyons coming
down off the western rim. I saw ancient Indian ruins in cliff settings --
the location of which I would never reveal.   The entire journey featured
all sorts of wild game -- much of it not afraid of me at all -- and I saw
hundreds of elk antlers, seasonally shed  in winter grazing areas.   At one
point, I saw huge bear tracks -- very fresh -- under Sycamore trees which
had been clawed eight feet or so up.  This was grizzly sign -- even though
no grizzlies were supposed to exist anywhere in Arizona by that time.  At
another point, resting on a knoll above Sycamore Creek,  I heard a noisy
crashing sound coming in toward me through the brush.  I waited.  Suddenly,
a huge jet black long-horn bull emerged nosily, limping from an old wound on
one back thigh evidenced by old lion or bear claw scars.  He drank from the
creek.  When he had finished, I asked him quietly, "How are you doing
today?"  He jerked his head up -- had never, I'm sure, seen a human creature
before -- and looked directly at me.  Then   he turned and plunged back into
the brush.  He was a direct descendant of many generations of purely wild
cattle, stemming from Spanish gold mining operations in the latter 1700s.

Eventually, when the geology had shifted into the Great Verde Fault, I found
rose quartz -- gold-bearing quartz -- but I would never reveal the location
of that, ever.

In due course, at the lower end of the Great Canyon, I emerged into the land
of our two old hermit friends -- Joe Dickson, a  retired hard-rock miner and
Jerry Greaves, a former merchant seaman.  They lived in the Old Packard
Ranch and I spent a day with them, telling what I'd seen.  They were a bit
disappointed that I had not cut the sign of the Lost Spanish Mine, somewhere
in the vastnesses of Sycamore, guarded -- according to legend --  by the
ghost of a black-robed Spanish priest.

And when I soon "came out" in the comparatively "civilized" Verde Valley, I
was  very much together.  Not long thereafter, I went with my family to
Mexico where Dad painted and lectured -- and I spent the month studying that
fascinating nation's radicalism and union movements.  And then to sociology
at the University of Arizona and eventually to Arizona State University --
fine enough.  But almost immediately I  fortunately connected with  radical
and democratic  -- and consistently embattled --  industrial unionism. My
organizing career all over the country in Native rights, labor, civil rights
and liberties, social justice in general,  has been -- no false modesty --
successful.  I still keep going.

Now I was at the bottom of the Canyon, turning south, downward.  Sycamore
Creek's familiar running and rippling and splashing noises were old and
friendly music. And so was everything else I experienced-- almost all of
which I remembered with the most intricate clarity -- as I walked, slowly
but strangely down, down Sycamore, mile after mile after mile. Again, time
and distance meant nothing for me here,  I was extremely happy and I liked
my thinking.

And then I was suddenly  awake -- in my bed on the far western frontier of
Pocatello. It was dawn and the half light was gone. I was weak, utterly weak
and felt generally like Hell.  My one-half Bobcat, Cloudy, nuzzled me.
Eldri was cooking breakfast and my daughter, Maria, handed me a huge cup of
super strong black coffee.

My head, as always was very clear.

"If you had to choose," my newspaper son Peter asked a few days ago,
"between physical health  on the one hand and your thinking and writing
ability on the other, which would you take?"

"My mind always," I replied.

And what I do know is that it's critical to keep fighting -- and to always
remember that if one lives with grace he/she should be prepared to die with

How much time do I have?  Maybe lots, maybe not much.

But I'd like, too,  within the now somewhat narrowed borders of my
canyon-of-life, to help others do some good things as well. Let me know.

In the mountains of southeastern Idaho.


Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear] Micmac / St Francis Abenaki/ St Regis Mohawk
Late December, 2003
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]





Dear Hunter,  [July 8 2004]

Thanks so very much for sharing the details of your father's adoption that you experienced.

It is a valuable addition to those who are interested in William Mackintire Salter.  Oh that we had his voice telling us the story. 

I shall be sharing this bit of history with the archivist of the American Ethical Union and a few others that have been interested in you and your ancestors' lives.

Life is busy here and I never get everything I wanted to do done in the day.  I'm sure you have the same problem.  We are all grateful for your writings.

Most Cordially,
Dorothy Lockhart
Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago


Hunter: The more we learn about you and the remarkable connection of
various individuals in your family to important circumstances, events,
and movements in this country's history, the more urgent it seems to me
that you assemble it all into an autobiography. In my own case, I
started with my grandparents, but they did not represent the kind of
diversity, in every sense of the word, that yours and their forebears
do. Your book would SELL, and in my view a hell of a lot better than
mine has, among other reasons because you write very well.
                                William (Bill) Mandel  7/9/2004

Hi to all,

So glad to hear from you, hope all is well with you!!

Love & Prayers

Alta M. Bruce
Indian Health Service
Injury Control Specialist

Belcourt, ND 58316   [8/4/2004]


This is hard to write about.  Initially [7/9/04], I posted this only on Bear Without Borders. As of the end of this July, however, I have expanded it somewhat and am sending it out much more widely.

This is not an argument against sensible and committed cross racial

This page, now on our Lair of Hunterbear website,  deals with
my Native father's adoption by a well-known liberal activist family, William
Mackintire Salter and Mary Gibbens Salter.  Their brother-in-law, Professor
William James of Harvard, initially opposed the adoption -- not because Dad
was an Indian but because of the limitations of the Salters.

"I can't help from expressing the feelings which have been besetting me
throughout the day, and growing hourly stronger, about the Salters' project
of adopting a child. The plan seems to me fraught with terrible risks for
the remoter future and with a present inconvenience which I should think
would be fairly disastrous. If they were younger, securer in health, and if
they dwelt in the country or in a rural town it would be different. And it
would be different if, being as they are, they were richer. It would be
different also morally if they were now leading merely selfish lives and not
devoting themselves to arduous public ideals."   William James, to his
mother-in-law, Eliza Putnam Webb Gibbens, June 20, 1900.

Among his several liberal affiliations, William M Salter was active in the
almost all-white Indian Rights Association -- which, during this era, was
mistakenly pushing the cultural assimilation of Native people.  The IRA
was encouraging its members to adopt Indian children.

Dad was essentially a full blood.  His mother, Mamie E Gray
[Wabanaki and Mohawk] and his father, Thomas Taylor [Micmac
and Maliseet] were Northern Maine Indians.  [A portion of Thomas Taylor's family became closely involved with the Penobscot Nation,  near Old Town, Maine.]

When the adoption did occur, William James and his family got
vigorously behind it.  William M Salter, however, soured badly on it
 -- although  Mary Gibbens Salter remained a kind and loving person.

The shadow of this adoption hung -- and in a very real sense still hangs --
over our family. I -- a consistent supporter of my father always -- have had
a very tough time coming to terms with it.  Yet I can see how, in the
strange way in which the cards often fall out, Dad benefited from
the travail.

In 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted -- providing considerable
protection for Native children and working actively to keep them within
their extended family, or the tribe itself, or in the Indian community.


Amy Kittelstrom, has been doing a PhD
dissertation on William James [with substantial mention of W. M. Salter and some
mention of Dad]. She interviewed me almost two years ago. Her
work is now finished, will be published as a book, and here are a few very
salient excerpts. Our assumption has always been that Louise
Annance died quite young at Greenville, Me. [She is my great grandmother and
grandmother Mamie's mother.] But, as per these recently opened James letters, she worked for the James family at Cambridge-- as several other Annances did. The Massachusetts state agency to which Dad wrote for more of his background details in 1950, providing bureaucratic confirmation of the essence of which we already knew, referred to his mother, "Mamie E. Gray" [born in Maine], and to Mamie's
parents, "Louise A. Gray" and "John E. Gray." John E. Gray is not to be confused with our other direct ancestor, John Gray [Ignace Hatchiorauquasha], Mohawk fur hunter in the Far West. 

[John E.  Gray was a violent and abusive person.  Louise's relationship with him was short lived and centered almost completely in the Moosehead Lake region.]

We don't know when Louise died but it was still very probably at a relatively young age. Ms. Kittelstrom found this material on Louise -- a bit of which we have not known before today.  


FROM THE DISSERTATION – Democracy Upon Its Trial: Pluralism and Categories of Difference

"Not until the Shaw oration did James use language that advocated mixture.
Until that point he expressed distinct squeamishness about social mixing
across categories of difference. In 1880 he wanted to design his home's hall
to avoid "the disagreeableness of servants going through to the door when
there are guests," thinking aristocratically-for he wrote up his new plan
while in England-of a way to separate the household by "a lower kitchen." In
1881 James was pleased enough that his wife was retaining two Wabanaki
servants, although "with every allowance made for natives on sentimental
grounds, how poor a pick of them there seems to be." Yet he could not see
how his wife could keep Louise Annance, the Wabanaki female, as well as "one
white [female] servant." He seemed to fear the possible dissatisfaction of
his white servant, were her race not in the majority, over the Wabanaki's
desire for employment. . ."

* * *

"When William Salter and his wife, a decade after the death of their only
child from measles, moved to adopt a ward of the state, the two-year-old
grandson of James's Wabanaki servant Louise Annance, the character of the
adoption is unclear. Were they taking the young Frank Gray to be their son,just as though he were flesh of their flesh? The legal formality of the
adoption and the changing of his name to John Randall Salter would seem to
suggest so. So does the fact that he played with William James's kids-the
children of his adoptive mother's sister, and therefore his cousins-on terms
of equality, eventually receiving a wedding present "from your cousin Alice
and me," that is, from William James, Jr., and his wife. But he often did
not live with the Salters in Chicago, mostly staying back east in Chocorua
near where the rest of his extended family ranged. The Salters did not make
sure he attended school every year, extending such little oversight that he
never attended any high school at all. If they viewed him as their own son,
wouldn't they have taken him along when they spent a year in Europe? Instead
they placed him with a family in Evanston, Illinois. But John Dewey and his
wife also left their sons behind when they traveled in Europe, with
heartbreaking consequences: two of their three sons died while the Deweys
were away.

It could be that the Salters wanted John to remain near his extended family
to cultivate his Indian culture. William Salter was apparently open to
talking about John's background, although he made no effort to help him
retain the language or the Catholic religion to which his ancestors had long
since converted. But Salter mostly seemed quite distant from his adopted
son. Acrimony increased between them until 1913, when John was fifteen, and
Salter dragged him to an Army recruiter to try to sign him up and be rid of
him. The recruiter chastised Salter, saying John was "far too young." The
rift, by that point irreparable, led John to escape as a cabin boy on a ship
out of Boston. Salter cut him out of his will. Mary Gibbens Salter set up a
small trust fund for him at the State Street Bank in Boston, and eventually
the James estate paid for John Randall Salter's education at the Art
Institute of Chicago.

Of his years with the Salters, John Randall Salter would remember Mary
Salter's warmth and lovingness, William Salter's emotional reserve, and
sylvan times in Chocorua with the James family. "There was nothing ever even
slightly remote about William James," John would teach his own son. John
remembered sitting by Lake Chocorua with James discussing the possibility of
frogs having souls. He never forgot visiting James's deathbed in Chocorua
with Salter, a day or so before James passed. He also remembered the
contrast between James's children's camaraderie with him and Salter's
brother Sumner's children, who taunted him, calling him "Sitting Bull," and
once accused him of stealing a watch from them. And of John's years with the
Salters, what would William Salter remember? He never wrote of it, left no
record of the meaning of it for him. He would remain a member of the IRA
until 1916, three years after John ran away, by which point he would have
reached the age of majority and Salter could have felt his responsibility
fully absolved."

* * *

Note by Hunter Bear:

In early May, 2003, Eldri and I drove to Chicago where I delivered a major Founder's Day talk to the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago.  This had been founded by William M. Salter. 

"In my speech at Chicago -- a packed house with a number of non-Society
members present, I spoke of the enduring influence on our family of my
ggg/grandfather, John Gray [Ignace Hatchiorauquasha], fiery and committed
leader of the Mohawk fur hunters in the Columbia and Snake River country in
their disputes with the Anglo fur bosses. I spoke, too, of a maternal great
grandfather, Michael Senn -- Swiss immigrant to Kansas Territory in the
early 1850s, Abolitionist, Civil War veteran, founder of the Knights of
Labor in Kansas, major leader of the Populist Party and a Populist state
senator, denouncer of atrocities against the Indian people, cousin of Chris
Hoffman ["Millionaire Socialist of Kansas" who died of a heart attack while
addressing an IWW rally at Kansas City.] Michael Senn became a Socialist

But now, for the first time publicly, I also spoke of the very positive
influence of William Mackintire Salter for our family:  his great commitment
to the Haymarket victims and their families, his opposition to American
imperialism, his many endeavours on behalf of Indian and Black people, his
staunch support for civil liberties which never wavered in the several
nefarious periods of spontaneous and concocted fear and hysteria through
which he lived and worked. . .

In the end, however oft-turbulent Dad's adoption, he got the best of both
worlds -- Native and Anglo social activist -- and my parents passed all of
that along to me."


Kass writes:

"hunter, this is painful indeed.  i knew there was strain betw your
father and his adoptive father but didn't know that w.s. had broken
with him entirely.  do you have a sense of the reason?  or should we
conclude the obvious, that racism was eating at him?  anyway.  you
have come a long way, a long walk.  what a miracle you are."  k


I very much appreciate your kind words, Kass.  This is the first anniversary
of our realization that something was seriously wrong with me, medically.
We had gone to ISU to pick up Josie who had just finished her last exam
prior to graduation.  She had no vehicle then but is now a working LSW
Social Worker and she and Cameron [IBEW] have a fine new Jeep Liberty.  The
world seems a bit more distant to me each day!

On William M Salter:  It was an almost total break all the way around --
though there were occasional points of contact, at least with Mary Salter.
Although Mother met both William and Mary, it was only briefly and they died
not long before I was born. They may have been a little frightened by her:
Western horse ranching and Idaho and Washington state mining engineering
antecedents on one side of her family and rambunctious Populism on the
other. Obviously, the reservations expressed [however delicately] by William
James vis-a-vis the Salters are points very well taken indeed.  In addition
to that, Salter's high idealism which had traveled and survived so many
rough trails  apparently could not -- in the instance of a lively child --
avoid the rocks and rapids of the River of No Return.

I definitely don't believe he was a racist -- at least not a conscious one.
With his close colleague, Jane Addams and several dozen others, he signed
the Call to Organization of the NAACP in 1909.  As I've noted, he was, for
better or worse, involved in the Indian Rights Association. He was
consistently opposed to American imperialism. His courage in defending the
Haymarket victims and their families and his advocacy on their behalf with
Governor Atgeld was tremendous. But Salter was old -- well beyond his years
as it turned out -- and brittle.

He took voluminous notes -- his books are full of them -- and, if no written
record of his feelings on the adoption were found, there is at least the
possibility that he destroyed them.  After both William and Mary Salter
died, my parents, visiting their large home [the Hilltop] in the
Chocorua/Silver Lake NH setting, went into their large barn.  There,
partially concealed at least, was a box with two dozen photos of Dad at
various points and some adoption documents.  We speculate that Mary Salter
put them there to avoid their destruction by William.  All of these have
been in my possession for many years.

All best, Kass.  Humans were made to survive and, as I was told when I was
near death from Scarlet Fever at the age of five or six, "Only the good die


Kass, I should add, is the author of the excellent,  The Bear River Massacre and the Making of History, [Albany:  State University of New York Press, 2004.] The mass murder of almost 300 Shoshone people -- men, women, children -- by Union affiliated troops in Southern Idaho, January, 1863 and the wide-ranging chronological and geographical and cultural implications and ramifications.  H

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'


In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings. Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

This is in very large part about a journey that began around one hundred
years ago -- when William and Mary Salter adopted a small Native American
boy who became my father.

We returned -- myself, Eldri, and the Jeep early yesterday [Friday
morn] -- from a junket that carried us 3700 miles through nine states over
eleven days.  [I did all the driving since Eldri does not do stick shift or
4WD.]  The trip and my various speeches and workshops went very well indeed
and the Jeep used not one drop of oil.

From the Shoshone waitress in the local cafe at rather drab Kemmerer,
Wyoming [pronounced Kemmer] -- just after we had traveled through snowy
Idaho mountains and bright blue lake country -- and who presented us with
the hugest western omelets we had ever seen [and consumed], to virtually
everyone else we encountered, all folks were genuinely friendly.  I had on
my worn Levi jacket an ancient -- but incendiary -- Mine, Mill and Smelter
Workers patch with blood red trimmings and the Jeep's exterior featured
various contemporary identity proclamations [ e.g.,"Organize" and "UAW."]

I don't see, however cunning and militant the proponents of "wistful
fascism," any real likelihood that that can ever be imposed on a country as
diverse and large and essentially individualistic as that which we call the
United States.  But, given the broadening and deepening economic
deprivation -- saw lots of that in Anglo and reservation and ghetto/barrio
quarters -- and the oft corollary dimensions of racism and other anti-people
isms --  compelling and critical work stands higher than the Rockies for all
of us many indeed who try to serve the human community rather than serve

My various social justice speeches went very well in all settings. I do not
use notes and my thoughts and formulations flowed smoothly and effectively.
I attacked the Bushies and much else as well. And, of course, I had solid
words for socialism. Attendance was good and questions were excellent.  Two
of my workshops [one at Chicago on Indian concerns] saw me on my feet
steadily for going on four hours each time -- and my major humanist speech
[also at Chicago] went swiftly and appreciatively well into its second hour.
[I wore my Lowa Trekker Extra Size 15 boots which have now, in addition to
500 rough trail miles since mid-December, traveled in all sorts of new and
interesting places [e.g., ghettoes, barrios.]

My Chicago speech was extremely personal and complex.  With the workshop on
Native concerns, it was under the aegis of the very fine Ethical Humanist
Society of Greater Chicago -- a component of the Ethical Culture Society
[American Ethical Union.]  The first Ethical Society was founded in 1876 by
Felix Adler -- who came out of a Reform Judaism tradition -- in New York
City.  He was quickly joined in his life-long endeavour by William
Mackintire Salter [whose basic homes were at Cambridge, Mass. and Silver
Lake, N.H.] who had been a Congregationalist minister and whose father, the
first William Salter, had been the pioneer Congregationalist circuit rider
in Iowa, a founder of the University of Iowa, and biographer of Governor
J.W. Grimes.  William Mackintire Salter then played a key role in founding
the Ethical Society at Philadelphia and then, directly, the one at Chicago
under whose auspices I have just spoken.

William Mackintire Salter [brother-in-law of William James -- they each
married a Gibbens sister] was, in addition to his leadership of the Ethical
Movement, a major and courageous defender of the Haymarket anarchists over
that many years struggle; an activist in the almost all-White Indian Rights
Association; founder of Henry Booth Settlement House in Chicago [a sister
program to Hull House and the Chicago Commons Association]; a signer of the
Call to Organization of the NAACP in 1909; one of the early spark-plugs of
what became ACLU-- and author of several books on philosophy and related
matters, social justice, and a critical and enduring major classic on
Nietzsche.  He died in 1930 and Mary Salter passed away a couple of years
later.  Funds that she left Dad via a Boston trust company encouraged my
parents to conceive me and I appeared noisily in '34.

The adoption of my father, John Randall Salter -- a full-blooded Native
originally named Frank Gray -- was stormy and sometimes bitter.  It was
tempered in a most positive way by the presence of Professor William James
who took a strong interest in Dad and his obvious ability as an artist.
W.J. died in 1910 and my father left the Salters, occasionally returning
over the years.  He was fortunate that he was always aware of his specific
Native people [some of whom worked for the Salter and James families] and
his tribal affiliations.  Dad, who had never finished grade school,
eventually took his B.A. from the Chicago Art Institute and later his M.A.
and M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.  He was the first Indian hired on
the faculty of Arizona State College, Flagstaff -- which eventually became
Northern Arizona University.  Consistently active in social justice
concerns, our family has always been deeply involved with the Navajo and
Laguna Indian nations -- and to some extent with the Hopi and Apache.

When I spoke on Humanism at Chicago, it was Founder's Day for the Ethical
Humanist Society of Greater Chicago -- and W.M. Salter was indeed its
founder.  Our presence was very important to the Chicago membership -- but
our appearance was extremely so to myself and our family.  As I indicated
several times in my presentation, our family's historic view of William
Salter was "uneven."

But, in time, for me that changed -- however slowly -- onto the side of the

In my speech at Chicago -- a packed house with a number of non-Society
members present, I spoke of the enduring influence on our family of my
ggg/grandfather, John Gray [Ignace Hatchiorauquasha], fiery and committed
leader of the Mohawk fur hunters in the Columbia and Snake River country in
their disputes with the Anglo fur bosses. I spoke, too, of a maternal great
grandfather, Michael Senn -- Swiss immigrant to Kansas Territory in the
early 1850s, Abolitionist, Civil War veteran, founder of the Knights of
Labor in Kansas, major leader of the Populist Party and a Populist state
senator, denouncer of atrocities against the Indian people, cousin of Chris
Hoffman ["Millionaire Socialist of Kansas" who died of a heart attack while
addressing an IWW rally at Kansas City.] Michael Senn became a Socialist

But now, for the first time publicly, I also spoke of the very positive
influence of William Mackintire Salter for our family:  his great commitment
to the Haymarket victims and their families, his opposition to American
imperialism, his many endeavours on behalf of Indian and Black people, his
staunch support for civil liberties which never wavered in the several
nefarious periods of spontaneous and concocted fear and hysteria through
which he lived and worked.

For my interracial parents and myself and my two younger brothers, in a
small and isolated town in Northern Arizona, the many Salter books in our
family library -- and those by William James, his father [Henry], and his
brother [Henry] which were initially given to the Salters -- were, I have
come to realize, far far more important and enduring than I had once
grasped.  Salter's great courage and commitment played a key role -- along
with our other activist forebears -- in stimulating my parent's social
justice endeavours in Flagstaff [a town with considerable racial segregation
including "No Indians or Dogs Allowed" signs on many restaurant doors].

And all of it helped much to shape me and my brothers and that which we've
endeavoured to do.

I concluded the formal piece of my Humanist talk by analogizing three rivers
coming down from our high Idaho country immediately above our house:  John
Gray, Michael Senn, and William M. Salter -- all of which flow together
congenially and effectively.

In the end, however oft-turbulent Dad's adoption, he got the best of both
worlds -- Native and Anglo social activist -- and my parents passed all of
that along to me.

And the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago sees us as Family
Members -- and for us it's certainly mutual.

So it was a great trip:  planned speeches, ad hoc things.  Food was truly
sumptuous -- and there were gifts:  an unused copy of Darkness at Noon --
rescued from a Salvation Army base; a fine top-line Ruger Single [action]
Six .22 Magnum revolver with excellent holster; various socialist magazines;
and much more.  For our part, we brought copies of my book -- Jackson,
Mississippi -- and some other things as gifts and Eldri took birthday and
First Communion presents to various grandchildren.

On the way back, I drove 21 hours straight, from Fargo -- climaxing in a midnight-era
short-cut junket through 150 miles of torturous and narrow and lonely roads
in the Montana and Idaho mountains.  Eventually we reached the Upper Snake
River country where Idaho snow plows were very reasonably being activated.
Then, after successfully navigating all sorts of circuitous roads and road
maps -- to say nothing of Chicago! -- we became lost in Idaho Falls
[population 70,000 at the very most] for about twenty minutes.  But I saw,
reaching to the dark and cloudy skies, the impressive Mormon temple which
guided me into the central area where my aboriginal intuition kicked in and
we were soon on our way along the 50 miles to Pocatello where snow and very
happy home creatures of various kinds greeted us.

As Ever -

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]





Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]

Mi'kmaq/St Francis Abenaki/St Regis Mohawk

[Early Fall 2004]

It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.

I'm an organizer -- a working social justice agitator. I've been one since the mid-1950s and I'll always be one. In many respects, it's one of the toughest trails anyone could ever blaze.

An effective organizer seeks to get grassroots people together -- and does; develops on-going and democratic local leadership; deals effectively with grievances and individual/family concerns; works with the people to achieve basic organizational goals and develop new ones; and builds a sense of the New World To Come Over The Mountains Yonder -- and how all of that relates to the shorter term steps.

An effective organizer has to be a person of integrity, courage, commitment.

And a person of solidarity and sacrifice.

The satisfactions are enormous.

Member, United Auto Workers, Local 1981 [AFL-CIO]





John (for that is how we have known each other), you were a positive influence on me when I visited Tougaloo for one week (!) as a student in 1963.

Your book is splendid.

I suspect your work for Native American rights and education has been splendid too.

I want you to get well for a selfish reason: because you will want to read my book about racism, SUNDOWN TOWNS, which comes out this September.

Please know that you have been a model for many, including me. - Jim Loewen

James W. Loewen, best email address:



Here is a link to what connected me to Hunter. This type of thing is controversial, I realize, but it is important and a side of him that academic and political people might not know about:

I'll spread the word about this place in the UFO community.

jhs John Henry Sime


I have always been either a full-time organizer and a part-time professor -- or a full-time professor and a full-time organizer. 
The student body at Tougaloo College, civil rights activist to the core, awarded me -- through Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity -- its Faculty Citizen of the Year Award in 1963.

 In 1969, at Coe College,  following our successful union organization of maids and janitors [via my Social Conflict Seminar], I was given the annual Outstanding Faculty Award by the student body.   

I was a professor in the Graduate Program in Urban & Regional Planning at University of Iowa -- and also the University's recruiter and counselor of Native students.  At our well attended Indian Days pow wow in '75, I was presented with a beautiful Pendleton blanket which Eldri made into a fine coat which I still have.  When we left UI at the very end of '76, Native students organized a large dinner with may fine gifts.

Students/faculty, staff/administration presented me with an extraordinarily fine turquoise and silver Navajo bolo tie and other gifts at Navajo Community College [now Dine' College] when I left there for the University of North Dakota's Indian Studies Department in 1981  On the same occasion, Harry Walters, well known Navajo artist, presented me with a fine painting, "Navajo Woman."

In 1988, I was honored with the annual UND Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award -- given by Student Government.
In 1989, North Dakota Governor George A. Sinner and the State King Commission, presented me with the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for my historical and on-going social justice activities.

Again, in 1989, the North Dakota State Department of Public Instruction (Indian Education/Equity Programs) awarded me its Annual Civil Rights and Social Justice in Education Award.

The Commanding General and officers of Grand Forks Air Force Base presented me in 1989 with an excellent plaque and dinner on behalf of my historical and contemporary human rights work.

Native students at UND and Indian community members presented me with two very special Pow-Wow honoring ceremonies and gifts [1988 and 1994].  And I was given many other fine gifts upon my formal retirement from UND in 1994.


I was honored by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers with the 2005  Elder Recognition Award.  This is one of several
awards voted by the Caucus [board] of this organization of writers,
storytellers, film makers, and journalists. I was nominated by
Alice Hatfield Azure [Mi'kmaq] -- an honor in its own right.  As are
other fine expressions of appreciation, this is extremely  meaningful to
me and our family. And to all of those with whom I have worked and
for whom I have written -- and from whom I have always learned much
indeed -- this is for them a tribute as well.  [The previous recipient of the Wordcraft Elder Recognition Award was Maurice Kenny, Mohawk, teacher and playwright and poet, who received it in 2000.]





I am Charles Bracey, Tougaloo class of '65. Mr. Salter and Medgar Evers arranged a sit-on at Jackson's Woolworth on Capitol Street. Joyce's sister, Dorie (hope I spelled her name correctly) and I were the participants. We got arrested as expected. This happened in 1961 or 1962. A central purpose of this protest was to bring media attention to the segregated "Colored" and " White" eating counters at Woolworth.

To insure this, Mr. Evers and Mr. Salter notified TV, Radio, and Print media ahead of time to insure both the attention, and to provide Dorie and myself some assurance that we would hopefully not be exposed to potential police brutality.

The interesting thing to me happened several years later, when I happened to unexpectedly meet Mr. Salter on the streets in Chicago. He told me he had something from the above mentioned protest that I might like to have. He had received and kept a 35mm tape of our brief march and arrest in front of Woolworth!

This tape was provided to Mr. Salter by an employee of a Jackson TV Station who was a friend of the Movement. It is about 5 minutes in duration and shows us arriving at Woolworth, being stopped by the police, and being placed in a squad car. So I own a small video of us from the past doing what we could for the cause. Thanks twice to Mr. Salter: first for his helping Mr. Evers plan the protest; and secondly for his obtaining and eventually providing me a tangible record of the event. I converted the 35mm to VCR format and can show my kids what that dad did "during the day".


Dear Hunter Bear,
As one who was politically baptized under fire by your side in 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi, and as I wrote to you privately a couple of months ago and now repeat for your tribute, I always remember and have continuously applied for more than 40 years, the lessons of our Jackson Credo, "WE WILL WIN!" 
I send to you my solidarity, my heartfelt greetings to you, Eldri and your family and also my encouragement to keep mixing in your "piss and vinegar" with all the medicines and that's what will give you the fighting chance that has gotten you this far.  Venceremos, amigo.  Steve Rutledge, West Virginia




I have never met Hunter Bear and don't think I knew about him until the last couple of years through the SNCC ListServ. Then why am I so drawn to him, grateful to him and inspired by his deeds, words and spirit?

In part it is the life of commitment that Hunter has led and continues to lead. From civil rights to Native American activism, to religious social justice to labor and Mine, Mill and Smelter workers; from training to organizing to teaching to using the law; from working and mentoring others; from all these works, he brings his love for justice to everything he does.

But it is not just to abstract ideas of justice that he conveys and believes in. He tells stories about real people, about struggles for justice and the impact on the people involved. Some times in the movement people can love "the people," but not individual people. He shows his flesh and blood caring. Some times in the movement people can embrace a particular struggle, but not see the connection of all the struggles. For all the breadth of his interests and strong views, he promotes non-sectarianism to avoid needless division while standing on principle.

In so many ways he is larger than life and still involved in the details of life.

His wife and children; his wolf/companion, the mountains and valleys. The past and present; the world of the earth and the world of the spirit. So many parts of his world he has shared with us.

In each communication on the List he sends a spirit of some true higher calling, commitment to a vision greater than ourselves and not wrapped up in promoting himself. It is ironic because now that he is battling Lupus, he might dwell on his own struggles. Instead he educates us (to Lupus or Tribal issues or recent conflicts for justice) and still raises our thoughts to the struggles of others.

From his letters I learn history and culture. From his words I so appreciate his values, his human decency, his courage and moral strength. For all these reasons and more, I celebrate HunterBear and thank him for what he has shared and for the life he is living and has lived.

I feel I am one part of his legacy, trying to carry on with shared values, adapted to other situations. I am certainly one of many who want to celebrate his life in the struggle. I am one of the many who thank him for all he does and for who he is.

He reminds me of a song by a friend, Si Kahn.


 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
Because people like you help people like me
Go on, go on
People like you help people like me
Go on, 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
But you know that
People like you help people like me
Go on, go on
People like you help people like me
Go on, 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 helped people like you
Go on, go on
Because people like you help people like me
Go on, go on, go on
 (words and music by Si Kahn)
Copyright Joe Hill Music (ASCAP).
All rights reserved.

Thanks, Hunter.


Heather Booth



Hunter (whom I know with more familiarity in my own head as John) is a person I very much respect and admire.

He is one of the genuine human beings and friends I have known.

He was a tremendous asset to the community of Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota, where I met him (and now miss him) as a colleague.

Along from his lifelong political commitment, his feisty rebellious spirit, I know him for his fundamental gentleness and kindness.

Dale Jacobson



Hunter, even though our contact has been limited to the internet, I feel that I have spent many hours sitting with you, drinking large mugs of intensely black coffee and staring at the hills which run up from your house.

It's amazing to have gained so much respect for someone without ever meeting him in person.

I have great admiration for your ability to combine a healthy ego with a healthy respect for others' opinions, thoughts and deeds. I have gained much inspiration and knowledge from your writings.

I think that Big Bill Haywood, Frank Little and Geronimo would have been proud to call you friend.

I wish you all the very best and know that your strong Bear spirit will see you through this time. Stephen Harvey



I met John Hunter Gray in about 1962 when he was an Instructor in Social Science and I was a student at Tougaloo College on the outskirts of Jackson, Mississippi. We knew him as John Salter, or Mr. Salter. He was very outspoken and easily identified as being pro-civil rights. Mississippi had become the "hotbed" of civil rights activity, and the most resistant to change its downright ugly ways. Eldri Salter, a very quiet and easygoing young woman, made the students feel welcome when we visited their small white frame house provided by the college. Their first child was born in Mississippi.

John and Eldri were not sympathizers who sat on the sidelines, as was the case with many faculty members. They joined the front lines and John went to jail with the students. His courage was demonstrated time and time again when he became active with the Jackson Boycott against the downtown merchants who would not hire blacks, or allow us to try on clothes before we purchased them. The boycott galvanized the black community like no other civil rights activities had, and it was so successful that the violence followed immediately. John became highly visible - so visible that his car was followed, and he was taunted and beaten when he organized and participated in a sit-in at one of the lunch counters. There is a widely published classic photograph of John and several students being taunted by a crowd of rowdy whites. The police stood by and allowed the violence to continue. Another picture in the Jackson Daily News shows a bloodied John Salter on the day of the funeral of his dear friend, Medgar Evers. He and Medgar were not only fellow civil rights activists but also close friends who provided support to each other in what was an extremely dangerous battle. Medgar often spoke warmly about his close friendship with John. They were twinned at the hip in a battle that would ultimately take Medgar's life.


Jackson lunch counter.  The three sit-ins are covered with sugar and salt -- and JRS/HG is also covered with ketchup and much blood.

I visited John and Eldri in Raleigh, North Carolina after they left Mississippi, and where they were carrying on their activist work with the Southern Education Fund (SCEF). I have the greatest admiration for John Hunter Gray/John Salter for his lifetime of activism, organizing, tactician and humanist. I am also glad that he found his way back home to live with and take up the cause of his kith and kin. His prodigious output could fill the lifetimes of dozens of people. He never sat on the sidelines, as shown in his valiant struggle against a ravaging disease. I feel honored that our paths crossed, especially during my formative stages of development. He certainly contributed to my education in more ways than I had imagined possible. As I sign off the most appropriate thing I can think of is,


Joyce Ladner


". . .I'd like to share my own impression of John Salter, whom I first saw on a 1963 television newscast being mercilessly pummeled by a group of white men.  The attack took place during a Black student demonstration in Jackson, Mississippi.  A few months later, John appeared in my rural, eastern North Carolina community, where we Black people were staging our  own demonstrations.

Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona and part-Indian, he was young, intense, smart and completely committed to social justice. 

Salter's civil rights record, his obvious sincerity, as well as his willingness to take on the local racists, soon won over the most skeptical among us.  For over a year, he worked in our community, facing daily death threats, abuse, and the virulent hatred of local white people.

With John Salter's help, we initiated a countywide voter registration drive, and when local officials set up obstacles, John convinced a battery of topnotch lawyers to challenge the county board of elections in court.  Our side won.   For the first time since the disenfranchisement of Blacks in the late nineteenth century, thousands of eastern North Carolina Blacks registered.

In the 1980s, those voters helped send two Black men to the North Carolina Legislature.  In 1992, they sent Eva Clayton, a Black woman, to Congress where she served for many years.

John Salter was not present for the victory celebration or for the happy bus trip to Raleigh for the inauguration of Thomas C. Hardaway as Representative from our District, but many of the bus passengers recalled Salter's courageous work during the 1960s. He had helped break the fierce Southern wall of resistance, thereby setting the stage for the Voting Rights Act and the election of Black people to local, state, and federal legislative bodies.

John drove with us the morning six of our children, including my own six-year-daughter, integrated the local white school.  He found lawyers and financial support, and we successfully battled the school officials and politicians who tried to kill our movement by firing Black teachers.

In communities throughout the South, John Salter is remembered for his selfless leadership and courage and as a man deeply and passionately opposed to injustice.

Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, I have met many of his former Tougaloo College students.  All remember him with the greatest respect and admiration. 

John has never flinched from taking  unpopular positions.  Those of us who benefited from his determination to act upon what he believed right consider that very quality a key factor in making him one of the truly great leaders of our time.
                                                               Willa M. Cofield, PH.D. Enfield, North Carolina and Plainfield, New Jersey


My dear friend and mentor;

We here in the Turtle Mountains have been praying for you daily and we send good, positive thoughts your way.  We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

Once again, John, I would not be where I am today [physically, spiritually, or emotionally] -- but you gave me the courage and direction I was lacking.  Everyone [except my father] told me I was not cut out to go to college.  The nuns at boarding school told me to go to business school, that I wasn't college material.

Megwetch [thank you].  I know that I am among many that you have inspired.

Think positive.  The Creator will give us only what we can endure.  My love to you and the family.  Take Care my dear friend.

Love and Prayers,


Alta M. Bruce   Injury Prevention Specialist,  PO Box 160, #1 Main Street,  Belcourt, North Dakota 58316



Dear John:

I just would like to thank you for being in my life, because you made it better than it would have been.  I still use parts of our talks in my daily life.  I use them in my work.  Just remember that you are one of the people that helped me be where I am now, helping my family and tribe.

Johnothan Buffalo, Tama, Iowa



Mr. Hunter Bear,

 All your good words of wisdom  from the late 1970's in Tsaile, Az. (Old NCC Campus -- now Dine' College] are now paying off for me. I just would like to thank you for teaching me some things in your Sociology Class because I am pretty content with my life since I am getting involved with being a politician or so. Currently, I am running for Mayor of the City of Winslow, Arizona. The first for a Native American anywhere in the United States and it's history in the making. I always knew that you were a very bold and courageous guy and stood up for what you believed in. . . you were like a mentor, have influenced me in many ways to believe in myself and what I could become someday. So, I thank you in all those respects.

Robert Carr, Navajo Nation and Winslow, Arizona


To Hunter from Robert Carr -- student and long-time friend from the Old Days
at Navajo Community College, Tsaile, Navajo Nation [now Dine' College.]
Robert is once again running for Mayor of Winslow, a tough and mostly Anglo
town bordering the Navajo res about 60 miles east of Flagstaff. He is a
popular guy in Winslow.  Let us wish him very well indeed!  H

Greetings! My Good ole Buddy,
I just thought I'd give you all a holler and to say a cheerful "hello" to
you and your family there up in Pocatello, Idaho. For me, I am again running
for Mayor in the City of Winslow, Arizona in the special election because
the current is being recalled. The election is on November 8, 2005 and is a
mail-in ballot type of thing, so I'm pretty sure that is gonna to be a major
upset. Last year, I pretty much done everything on my own. My major setback
was I came up really short financially for my campaign ads.  . . . I really
appreciate the time you were my instructor back in Tsaile, Az. because since
then you were my "mentor".

You are a truly a fighter for equality for all natives and I am really proud
to have been a student of yours. You have paved the way for me to continue
to fight for all Native Americans. Give my regards to Maria.

God Bless Always!

Robert Carr

Winslow, Arizona



Dear John Hunter:

You know my thoughts and prayers have been and continue to be with you. For about two decades I've been privileged to associate with you on matters of common concerns: individual liberty, civil rights issues and American Indian history, and, of course, the Second Amendment. You've never wavered in your stands. In the process you've contributed to the cause of Liberty. I still remember, almost two decades ago, your visit to Kenyon: it was memorable one for all students and community members who heard you, both in seminar and in your public address. My association with you helped enrich my own life and teaching.

You've spoken numerous times of going "into the sun." May I walk a way with you?

With appreciation and respect, Roy


Roy T. Wortman

Distinguished Professorship in History

Kenyon College


Dear John:

Hard to believe that you, too, are human and capable of becoming ill. . . . .You have done so much good work, John, and all the goodness you gave to the world will return to help you in your time of need.  Also, Susan [daughter and author] and I believe strongly in the power of prayer. . .Take care old friend and God make you well because you are too needed in the world of strife.

Love, Susan  [Life-long activist and a founder, more than 50 years ago, of the always very good American Indian Center of Chicago.]




I am a Ho-Chunk (formerly called Winnebago) Nation elder, a fullblood now living within the tribe's ancestral Wisconsin homelands, and was the "inside man" John described during the good fight on behalf of Algonquin Indian furworkers in Ontario County, New York.

Although many of the people involved have gone their separate ways since those heady times, Muriel and I maintain a heart-and-hearth relationship with the Algonquins. We were even adopted among the Rapid Lake people and given the rare privilege of sharing their treasures-viewing pristine sanctuaries undisturbed for millennia, a glimpse of our own people's Eden. We may never see them again but we know they are there. Our history with John, Eldri and the children extends beyond Rochester, from Iowa earlier to North Dakota, and like those pristine treasures we know that they are always there.

Among the Ho-Chunk people there is a special, and spiritual, friendship bond called Cha-ko-do, where in former times one would adopt a younger man and provide him with the lore and tools to make his way in the world. In just this way, I view John as an elder brother and mentor. When asked to speak at ceremonies-one of my duties as an Eagle Clan elder-I try to pass on the hard-won knowledge that the solutions to social justice issues are contained within each of us, and that any truly committed person can make a difference. These are the gifts Muriel and I brought away from those Rochester days. As cultural practitioners and knowing that our true essence, visible as a breath on a snowy morning and continuing way beyond our brief sojourn here, my wife and I celebrate John's legacy of a life well spent. We owe him our wish that he will continue to consternate his enemies for many years to come.


Elliott & Muriel Ricehill

Black River Falls,  Wisconsin




Dear Hunter, 
My name is Zonnie Gorman and I am the youngest daughter of Carl and Mary Gorman.  My parents always spoke very highly of you.  Your name was a part of my family's fond memories. I don't know if we ever met, but hearing my parents speak of you so often, it is as if we have.  Thank you so much for your words of tribute to my father.  I cried as I read it all. . . . .

Zonnie Gorman,  Navajo Nation and Gallup, N.M.

Note: Carl Gorman [Navajo] -- 1907-1998 -- was an internationally known  artist and a long time close friend of Hunter and his family.  Carl Gorman had been a Code Talker in the USMC during World War II and, for years until his death at Gallup, was the principal leader of the surviving Code Talkers.




I hope that you can draw extra strength from these messages. You have certainly given strength to us in so many ways over the years.

You may recall that we first met when you were doing community organizing in Chicago. I had brought my students from Iowa City to meet some people doing good work and your name had come up in many conversations so we all visited. Your clarity on what you were doing - what you called the "change the world business" inspired us all. I came away wishing you were closer so I made an all out effort to get funds for a faculty line and was delighted when you accepted. (I'm not sure I did you a big favor here!)

Nonetheless our association in Iowa gave me strength and helped me with a needed vision for my own future work. Of course, we had our struggles in Iowa City and you brought your determination and vision to bear on that. After we moved on to different places - me to Chicago and you to North Dakota - I read your terrific book on the Jackson movement. It ,too, inspired me and many others. Not only did I feel compelled to review it for Monthly Review, but to this day I recommend it widely.

I was recently talking to a group of African American trade union rank and filers who asked what to do about the apathy they found all around them. I said that apathy does not mean people don't care but that they don't know what to do and all that can change in an instant. I then recommended that they read your book and told part of the story you relate there of how quickly the people of Jackson moved from hopelessness to a sense of purpose, as the Jackson Movement gained momentum after Medgar's assassination.

A number of years ago I was in Atlanta for something or other with my wife, Pat, and decided to go to the King museum. I was totally startled, when looking at some large panels with photographs depicting aspects of the civil rights movement, to see you sitting at that Jackson lunch counter covered with the blood and mustard (the horrible"mustard man" incident in your book which we discussed in person) yet looking, as always, calm and determined.

I told my wife, "that's my friend, John."

I can't tell you what strong emotions that brought out in me - pride to have such a friend, anger at the rednecks back then and today, determination to continue in this "change the world business."

Keep strong, my friend.

Dave Ranney


Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Hunter Gray, a civil rights activist involved in the southern movement from the summer of 1961 to the summer of 1967.
Hunter Gray, formerly John Salter, took the name of his Native American family some years ago and has been one of the Nation's most ardent advocates on behalf of Native rights. He was recently diagnosed with a severe and possibly fatal case of lupus that has also brought on a bad case of diabetes.
John Salter was very active with the Jackson, Mississippi, NAACP and boycott [1963]. He was in the trenches with Medgar Evers and others during the civil rights movement from 1961 until Evers was assassinated. He also wrote a book titled, Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism (1979).
Hunter Gray's commitment to civil rights has continued throughout the years. He and his wife Eldri, who has been a partner in the struggle for equality for 40 years, now live in Idaho. He has been hospitalized several times over the past few months , and his medication and hospitalization costs are very expensive. Many of his friends are organizing a testimonial and fund-raiser to let him know how grateful we are to him for his many sacrifices and contributions to civil rights, Native American and labor causes.
For further information on Hunter Gray, I refer you to his widely read Web site at
. Hunter Gray has left a formative mark on the shape of Mississippi history. I thank him for his service to civil rights and to Mississippi. I ask that you keep him in your prayers and meditations.



57. ---------- Forwarded message ----
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 18:18:49 -0500
Subject: Hello Hunter Bear!

Who would have thought back in 1962 that 40+ years later my daughter (now
33) would be able to do a Google search and find a picture of me when I was
holding Maria on my lap when she was an infant and I was 19?  And when
Jessica told me that she found a picture of me, did I think that the picture
would lead me back to John and Eldri?  When we all were ensconced safely on
the campus of Tougaloo, and in constant fear and danger when we stepped
outside the campus, we never thought that the world would change so much and
we would be able to communicate this way.  I have read much of the
information on your web site  and am saddened by your struggle with serious
illness and the pain you experience, but I am awed by your courage, your
unceasing commitment to what you believe in and the energy you muster to
reach out to those of us whom you taught and inspired.  I send my wishes to
you and your family for a better new year than the last and, for all of us,
wishes for peace.  -  Karin [Kunstler]



Hunterbear taught several classes at the University of
North Dakota that I attended including a grass roots
community organizing course that brought my defiant
punkrock attitude to a new, more tempered resolve.  We
read "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky and Hunter's
book, "Jackson Mississippi", which richly set the mood
for his absorbing lectures and were delivered without
notes in hand.

During my work at UND I was introduced to
schizoeffective disorder,  with severe delusions that
nearly crippled my spirit.  Hunter was there the whole
time,  having taken me to the hospital on a few
occasions over the years,  showing his versatility in
dealing with social phenomena in the absurd as he
brought comfort to my family.  He demonstrated to me
that the spiritual aspects of the illness could be
respected while bringing the fire under control.  We
can all learn from him how good organizing, movement,
and healing starts with the elements which support all
of us.

Andrew D. Braunberger


John--Please let me call you John for it is how I knew you in Tempe and Tucson when you had Good who bit my heels.  I was married to Jim Webb and we both admired your vision and strength.   I don't remember if Jim was a Wobbly before or after meeting you. [Note by HG: it would have been after
we met.] We marched together in Tucson.  And drank lots of coffee.  In Tempe I had broken company union by joining the AFT and not the NEA and we had
organized benefits for the Yaqui in Mexico.  I taught at Guadalupe.  In any case for some reason I put your name in Google and found Hunter Bear!

What a great tribute to you and your Family.

Sally Hunsaker Webb,  Arizona


Dear John and Eldri:

Our employees and I would like to thank you for the presentation you made to the combined Pocatello BLM and Forest Service staffs on January 24, 2005.

The civil rights work that you performed in Mississippi in the early 1960's made history and was simply amazing.  The  presentation you made had a
profound effect on many of us.  I talked to several fellow employees afterward and they characterized your talk as "profound" and "life
changing".  One employee stated that he specifically ate lunch alone in order to better contemplate what you had said.  I think this speaks very highly of your remarks.

Thank you again for taking time and making the effort to draw attention to civil rights and focus our thoughts in remembrance of Martin Luther King
Day.  We wish you the best in your continued endeavors.

Philip Damon
Field Office Manager

[Pocatello, Idaho]

61. JOHN BEECHER  [1904 - 1980]  Poet and Activist.  In a strongly affirmative letter of reference on my behalf, he wrote of me:  "He wears no man's collar."

And see One More River To Cross:  The Selected Poetry of John Beecher [Montgomery: New South Books, 2003].  In addition to being the book's title, One More River To Cross is the 1963 poem John Beecher dedicated to me.

62. JAMES ANDERSON DOMBROWSKI [d. 1983]  Director, Southern Conference Educational Fund.  From a vigorously positive letter of reference [9/17/79]:

"Mr. Salter is an unusual and many talented person.  He is a careful scholar, writes and speaks well, relates easily to all kinds of people, understands and practices the art of listening.  He has few peers as a community organizer.

For those and other reasons, I hold Mr Salter in the highest esteem, professionally and socially."

James Anderson Dombrowski, PhD, Executive Director, Southern Conference Educational Fund [Ret.]

[This reference is on our Hunterbear website.]

63.  JAMES S. RICHARDSON, Chicago Commons Association.  From his quite strong letter of reference [10/03/79]:

"John Salter and I worked together at the Chicago Commons Association.  Mr Salter was Director of the Southside Service Area and I was his senior community organizer.

Mr. Salter was an extremely able community organizer.  He had an uncanny ability to assist community residents in identifying the issues that needed to be addressed.  He was able to further assist the residents in developing strategies and taking action to resolve the problems.

Mr Salter was a direct action person.  If a community problem needed solving, he would leave no stone unturned until a solution was achieved.

Mr Salter was a good administrator.  He effectively prepared grant requests and managed contracts.

He was an excellent trainer of community staff."

James S. Richardson,  Housing Center Director, Urban League of Flint, Flint, Michigan

[This reference is on our Hunterbear website].


From his fine letter of reference, 4/07/81:

"This letter for John Salter is really a statement of his contribution to Navajo Community College [now Dine' College] . . . and his willingness to focus on issues that would adversely affect the college and the personal rights of students and employees.  Likewise, his ability to work with students and the administration to resolve concerns within the college has been well demonstrated.

In addition, John has readily accepted assignments which were  beyond his regular duties as the Chairperson of the Social Sciences and Education Department, including the coordination of the local VISTA program and assisting with the school's fundraising efforts.

John is also a demanding and dynamic instructor and his students have commented to me that he leads them to want to b e involved in the social issues of our times or makes them feel they are part of important events shaping the Navajo Nation.

John is in some ways a revolutionary, but one who believes in and uses rational approaches to solving problems."

Carl L. Hime,  Vice-President, Navajo Community College, Tsaile, Navajo Nation.

[This letter is on our large website.]

I [Hunter Bear] should note that students/faculty, staff/administration presented me with an extraordinarily fine turquoise and silver Navajo bolo tie at Navajo Community College [now Dine' College] when I left there for the University of North Dakota's Indian Studies Department in 1981.  This is one of my most  prized personal possessions.  Three of these were made by a fine Navajo silversmith, Albert Yazzie, of Flagstaff.  Over time, one was given to then U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater [Arizona] and one went to the President of Exxon.

And the third, obviously, went to me!

Hunter Bear


65.  Honorable William F. Winter

From his kind letter of November 21  1990:

Dr John Salter, Jr.  Grand Forks, North Dakota

Dear John:

". . .Thanks to you and a few others we now have a much better state.  We owe you a debt that won't ever get paid, except in the devalued currency of kind thoughts and appreciative words from those of us who have some understanding of what you stood for and were motivated by.

I look forward to keeping in touch."

William F. Winter

[Governor of Mississippi,  1980-1984]

[This letter is on our large website.]

66.  JAMES WESLEY SILVER [d. 1988]

"I was so impressed with his book, Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism, that I purchased copies for my three children born in Mississippi . . .Of course I knew about his courageous course at Tougaloo College long before that. . .He is unquestionably a rare find who combines dedication with an exceedingly purposeful life."

Jim Silver [Long time professor and chair, History, Ole Miss.  Author of many fine Southern books, including Mississippi: The Closed Society]

[This fine statement on my behalf is in my possession.


[We fought many Native rights battles in the Northern Plains during the many years I was in North Dakota.  Devils Lake, adjoining the Devils Lake Sioux res -- now the Spirit Lake Sioux -- was an exceptionally racist border town with the full pattern of discriminatory practices.  We broke that open with economic boycotts, litigation, national publicity and much more.  As that was progressing nicely, a new issue surfaced. The Devils Lake Sioux tribe decided to issue its own license plate and related data.  The State vigorously opposed this.  So we had a fight.  We won.  And then other tribes issued their license plates. Burl Good Soldier was very active in this, and this is his victory letter of April 13, 1989 to me:

"Well, I guess some of the things you taught me really can be effective [Indian Self-Determination Act, 1975].

My mother [Ms. Maxine Foss, a tribal official] called and said Nick Spaeth [North Dakota AG] will recognize the plates.  I think the Devils Lake area is waking up.  I wonder how Jorgenson [a local state prosecutor and a foe] feels about this article.

I feel none of this would have conceptualized without your help.

My family is honored!  We can't thank you enough.

Tell everyone!  You were the icing on the cake when this article came out.  It sounded very effective and covers our legal authority to do so [issue plates.]

Thanks, Mr. Salter.

-- Burl and Family

[This letter is on our large website.]


[This letter was written by Susan Mary on September 26 1992 to the president of the University of North Dakota.  She, like her mother, Susan Kelly Power -- also on this Tribute -- is a life long friend.]

" . . . Dr. Salter is an invaluable asset to your [Indian Studies] department and your institution, as he is not only a well respected member of the Indian community, but also a thoughtful intellectual with impeccable credentials. I find his approach to Indian Studies, literally a breath of fresh air.  This fact is apparently not lost on the student body who turn out in throngs for several of his classes, and often becoming interested in taking other courses in the department after studying with his.

I cannot support Dr. Salter enough in his endeavors.  I only wish we had more educators like him in our country . . ."


Susan Mary Power is the author of the 1994 best seller, The Grass Dancer, and other books and many short stories.

This letter is on our large website.

70. ARTHUR HILLMAN [1910-1985]

I knew John Salter's work through direct contacts during the period he was in Chicago starting in 1969.  I often talked with him about his work in the Chicago Commons Association, in which I had a special interest as part of my association with the neighborhood  center movement nationally.  Also, I recruited him to teach part-time at Roosevelt University, which he did for several semesters on Saturday mornings, and the response of students was most favorable.  He kept me informed of his work in Iowa . . .

Mr Salter is an uncommon man who combines deep commitment to improved human relations with a high degree of analytical ability and objectivity.  His insights, grounded in experience with people, are stimulating and sound.  He has an orderly mind, is well read, and academically competent generally, but he is a man of action rather than a scholar in the conventional sense.  He is cool and deliberate in manner, not rash or impulsive.

I have found him to be a man of integrity, reliable, and loyal to friends.  Those who work with him or are his students tend to be inspired by his strength of conviction and genuine concern for people, especially those who are disadvantaged.

His wife has a professional background and is supportive.  Their family backgrounds are quite different but they seem to have blended them well.  Her helpful role is brought out in Salter's book on the civil rights campaign in Mississippi . . .

Arthur Hillman, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, former Chairman of Department, and Dean.

[Note:  This letter of September 25, 1979 is in my personal possession. -- Hunter Bear]


As editor of the Rochester AFL - CIO Labor News during the time Mr John R Salter, Jr, served with the Office of Human Development in the Rochester, N.Y. Catholic Diocese, I had the good fortune to work with him on several projects connected with his Diocesan programs.  In addition, I was active both as a journalist and a  participant several years ago in the Committee for Labor Law reform, on which he was co-chairman. 

In every way, I found Mr Salter to be highly motivated, diligent, and  most effective leader in the above undertakings, and have no hesitation whatever in recommending him for any position involving his expertise and background.

Alex Gaby, Assistant Industrial Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor.

[Note:  This September 17, 1979 letter is in my personal possession. --  Hunter Bear]


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

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

From an old Tougaloo Activist.
Thomas M Armstrong 


Dear John,

This is LaDonna your old student. Just wanted to thank you for all the
information on lupus. It takes a strong man to be able share all the
information on this disease. I am sending prayers for your recovery.
My cousin's daughter almost died this last year from lupus. She is 15 years
old and still in a wheel chair. She has lost all her hair and is slowly
recovering. We thought we would be burying her. I also have two other cousins
with Lupus. We never heard of lupus but now  more people on my reservation are
being diagnosed with lupus. It is such a deadly disease.

LaDonna Brave Bull  [Standing Rock Sioux Reservation]


Dear John:

I am sorry to hear that you are going through a tough treatment and recovery process at this time.  I sincerely hope that you regain your health and strength.  I know that someone as strong and determined as you is now facing the most serious challenges of life.  I know that you will deal with the terrible illness because you have very strong will power.  This must be a very difficult time in your life now but in the meantime, I want you to know that each day that I pray and send special thoughts of healing your way.  You are a great person, a very decent human being, and the best professor I had class with.  I sincerely hope that your doctors continue to help you feel better,  so that you can continue to hike, write and do all of your favorite activities.  In my last telephone conversation, I forgot to tell you that in "Little" Susan Power's book [The Grass Dancer] that she dedicated you by name in her preface.  I thought it was nice that she mentioned that you "were great."  Take care and please give my respects and love to your family.

Yours Truly, Dawn

[Iowa City and Meskwaki Settlement.]


Now more than a year old, the Tribute continues to grow.  This is an
[unsolicited!] statement from Dawn Lough which came today, following one of our regular phone conversations.  I have known her from the American Indian Center days at Chicago -- for about 35 years.  For most of the '70s, she was Secretary of our  Native American Community Organizational Training Center of which I was Chair and Bill Redcloud was Director. Other officers were Willard LaMere, George LaRonge, Elmira McLure, and Steve Fast Wolf.]  She was a student of mine as well and is a highly trained Librarian.  She now bravely faces serious medical challenges of her own and could use your good thoughts and prayers.  H  [4/06/05]

75.  C.B. "Scott" Jones [retired Naval Commander, world peace activist]


Kind words from Scott Jones, a solid trooper in the Save the World Business. A retired Naval Commander, he has just returned [April 2005] from a trip of several thousand miles during which he carried his world peace message to a number of Western tribal colleges and Native-related university programs.  I
have known Scott for many years.


What a joy it is when good things happen to good people.  You certainly
deserve the honor and recognition that you received.  Now the Elder part
came from just being a survivor, but the writer and storyteller comes from
being more than a keen observer of life.  It comes from being a full
participant in life that includes dirty hands, bloody head, open mind and
heart, and early recognition that since life is both serious and ridiculous,
it would take both focus and humor to stay on the path.  Hell, you did more
than stay on the path, you are a pathfinder and I am delighted to be your

Scott [Jones]






The preceding page has considerable background info on "The Destroyers" and its publishing history.

"The Destroyers," published initially in Mainstream in 1960, won ever-broadening national and international renown. It was  reprinted abroad in a variety of journals -- including those of the Russian and the Ukrainian writers' unions -- and it was also reprinted in the United States. And it was picked by Martha Foley and David Burnett as one of the very best short stories published in the United States in 1960 and included in their very special  "Roll of Honor" [about fifty stories]:   Martha Foley and David Burnett, The Best American Short Stories, 1961 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story [Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1961.]


The Destroyers

In the middle of that summer, when there had been no rain for weeks, and the forest was tinder dry, and the winds were high, a sheepherder built a cooking fire on the slope of Bear Sign Mountain. He then lay down and slept, waiting for the blazing pitchy pine knots to burn down to hot coals. While he slept, the wind aided the fire in jumping its bounds and the flying sparks touched off the dead pine needles on the ground; exploding sheets of flame climbed into the tops of the living trees; the holocaust lashed out in every direction; the herder escaped but his flock was destroyed. And when I came to the fire, only a day after its beginning -- to work, as befitted my scant sixteen years, as camp flunky -- the blaze had already consumed twelve thousand acres of yellow pine and was completely out of control; every available north Arizona man who was fit had gone to the Bear Sign to fight.

The Forest Service fire camp was a collection of hastily erected tents, in a tiny semi-clearing surrounded by heavy concentrations of timber, as close to the fire as it could exist with some safety. Over the ridges to the north and west of it, twenty odd miles away, was a solid mass of black smoke with a fiery colored base; the acrid smell of burning wood puckered the nostrils of everyone in the district. I was put to work as soon as I arrived and checked in; there were seven of us there -- before Junior came -- four cooks, the coffee-maker, the camp boss and I. I knew none of them at all from before the fire; and, with the exception of the camp boss Engstrom, who I discovered later normally worked as woods foreman for a logging company, the others were all transients.

Nor did my duties allow me to become much acquainted with any of them, that first day and most of the second; as the youngest, I was made bull cook, and I worked steadily peeling vegetables and stirring pots, washing and wiping dishes and cups and pans and other utensils after the meals were finished. The first day was a hard day for me, I occasionally fell behind, and in the evening, when it was all over, Engstrom, a big man in bib-overalls, who spoke with more than a trace of a Swedish accent, came over to me and said, “Before long we’ll have a helper for you, boy -- when we can find someone.”

But I worked as hard the next day, as I had the first, until, as I was beginning the supper dishwashing in the early twilight, a green government truck loaded with men arrived, one climbed off, and then the truck turned around and, carrying the remainder of the men, moved off toward the fire lines.

I stopped my work for a minute and looked closely at the small, denim-clad man who’d gotten off -- actually not much older than I -- for he was a Negro, and I had seen very, very few of them in my life. He walked slowly toward the tents, limping just a little, and then stopped and looked around. There was no one but me in sight; the coffeemaker, whose small fire and pots were just a few feet away from my dishwashing stand and who, from the little that I had seen of him, struck me as being kind of strange, had gone somewhere; the four cooks, who looked so commonplace and who had so few distinguishing characteristics that I could scarcely remember them or ever tell them apart, were playing poker in the kitchen tent; the camp boss was in the tent which served as his office, and the off-shift crew of firefighters was bedded down in the woods nearby.

“Can I do something for you?” I called.

He looked at me. “The camp boss. Where is he?”

I gestured toward Engstrom’s tent and then the big man himself came out and I began work again on my dishes. Occasionally I glanced up and saw him talking to the newcomer, and then the Swede walked over to me, by himself, and said, “I hope you got nothing against working with that kind of man,” and he pointed to the Negro.

“What kind is he?” I asked. “I don’t know what you mean, Mr. Engstrom.”

He stared at me for a long time. “A black man,” he finally said. “A Nigra. That’s what I mean.”

“A black man,” I repeated. “No. I’ve got nothing against him.”

“Then he’s your helper,” Engstrom said. He turned away and I heard him mutter, “Short of men. That’s why they hired him. And because he’s little and a crip, they give him to me. God knows I don’t want him here.” I still wasn’t certain what he meant, and I watched him, puzzled, as he walked back to the newcomer, pointed toward me, and then began to light the gasoline lanterns.

The young Negro came over and stood by me, and then picked up a dish towel. He looked at me, and I looked back at him, and then I put down the frying pan I was working on and reached out my hand and said, “Jack’s my name.”

He grinned, and we shook hands, and he said, “Junior’s mine. Just call me that.”

I had learned some time before how to roll a cigarette, and I took out my sack of Durham tobacco and the papers, and offered them to Junior. He rolled one quickly, and I made myself one, and we lit them. “You roll a good cigarette,” I told him. “A damn good one.”

“You make a good one, too,” he answered. “Not bad at all.”

“Is this your first fire?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he replied. “It is.”

Knowing that he wasn’t, but being curious, I asked, “You from around here?”

He shook his head, “No,” he said. “From a long ways off. I’m just a tramp wanderer.” He took the towel and began wiping the tin plates, and I started back on the frying pan. When, with the exception of the light of the lanterns, it was fully dark, the two of us had almost finished our task, and all that was left were the knives and forks and spoons. I lifted my head, and suddenly, in the pale light, I saw the coffeemaker, whom I had heard called Clyde, standing a few feet away, looking steadily at both of us. I returned his stare, and then I noticed Junior looking at him for a second before lowering his head and going on with his work.

The coffeemaker viewed us for a long, long time without speaking a word, his eyes glittering and shining with an emotion that I had never seen before, and a curious feeling of tightness began to course through my body. I watched him there in the lantern light, a tall, lean, hawknosed individual, with a face as heavily lined as dry, cracked adobe. There was something that was not right about him. In the two days that I had been in camp I had heard him several times, and for no apparent reason, muttering to himself as he sat by his coffee pots; sometimes he would curse and double up his fists; and the muscles in his face would twist and jump and jerk. And then, his face would grow hard and cold and stony and he would look quickly around the camp and I would pretend that I hadn’t been watching him. Now, as the silence between the three of us deepened, I knew that I was afraid of the coffeemaker Clyde.

My voice was tense as I asked him. “What do you want? What do you want, Clyde?”

The coffeemaker still was silent, and when he spoke at last, it was at Junior, not at myself, and he sounded icy and rasping.

“I’ll tell you what I want,” he said. “Get out of this camp. Right now.” Junior looked up at him and then back down again.

“What do you mean, Clyde?” I asked, tenser than ever. “Just what is wrong with you?”

The coffeemaker gave me a quick glance, and then he narrowed his eyes and fixed them on Junior, who was still looking down, fumbling with the spoons. “He knows what I mean,” said the lean man. “And he knows I mean it.” His voice rose as he said. “Get the hell out of here! Damn your soul!” And still Junior said nothing.

I started to ask, “Why?” and then I heard a noise over in the direction of the tents, and I turned partly around and saw the four cooks standing there, watching us. The coffeemaker and Junior both looked also, and then Clyde walked a few steps away, picked up a lantern that hung on the broken branch of a tree, and returned. He held it by Junior’s head and the Negro flinched slightly.

“See him!” said Clyde to the four, and the muscles in his face were frantic. “See him for what he is! His black hide!” And that was when I first really began to understand about the hate that springs from caves within the souls of men.

The four cooks neither moved nor spoke, and the coffeemaker talked again. “Do you want him here? Working with us? By us? Do you?”

Then one of the four shook his head, and each of the others said with loud and measured harshness, “No.”

Engstrom came out of his tent and stood there for a moment, his arms hanging down at his sides and his hands doubled into fists.  He said, “I know how it is, and it isn’t my fault. But I want no trouble. None at all. Not in my camp!” He looked at everyone, and then the four cooks went back into their tent, and the coffeemaker walked to his smouldering fire and his pots and sat down, and Engstrom moved back into his office tent.

I looked at Junior, but he said nothing, and neither did I. We continued our work; and when we finished and were wiping our hands, I heard a low, wordless snarl from the direction of Clyde; I looked and saw him sitting by his coffee, lantern light illuminating his burning eyes, again staring at us.

In a voice so nearly a whisper that I strained my ears to hear, he said to Junior, “Remember, black man. There is nothing here for you. Not that you’ll want. Better leave.” His lips drew back in a curl and, very slowly, he said, “While you can.”

Hate crawled into my bones, then, and mixed with fear. I began to form words but my throat was stiff and dry and I choked; Junior said, quietly, “Let’s get some sleep.”

We turned our backs on Clyde and walked across the camp to the piles of blankets which lay on the ground; talking several apiece, we made our beds on soft needles under a pine tree away from the light of the lanterns, and climbed in.

Without talking, we rolled cigarettes and smoked and I gazed up at the stars, blurred from the light haze of the fire smoke drifting through the night sky. Next, I turned my head and looked for a long time at the tall, grim figure of the coffeemaker, sitting on the other side of the camp. I hated him, but then moisture sprang to the palms of my hands, and a trembling came to my legs, and suddenly I hated myself for my fear; then anger at it all arose within, and a struggle gripped every part of me.

I finally shifted my head again and saw Junior half-raised in his bed, looking over at the lean man who sat by the pots. I forced myself to tell him, “Don’t worry about Clyde. Or any of them. It’ll be O.K.”

Junior looked at me slowly and answered, “I’ve seen them before. People like him.”

Half to myself, I asked, “Why? Why should they?”

He heard me and replied, “It’s the way things are. Just the way they are.”

“Do you think you’ll decide to leave?” I asked, not knowing what I wished him to do, and feeling my whole struggle well up to an even higher pitch.

“I can’t run,” he said, still looking at me.

“What they say and think and do,” I said. “It must bother you.”

But he was silent.

I slept after a time, in a troubled manner, and once I awakened in the middle of the night, and the smell of the smoke of the great fire seemed much stronger, and I could feel the wind blowing on my face, coming from the direction of the burning timber. Some distance away, close to the kitchen tent, men were talking and someone said, “It’s blown up worse than ever, now. Really crowned out.” And another man said, “If it keeps up this way, this camp’ll be in trouble.”

Although I could sense that Junior was awake also, I said nothing to him, and made myself not think of him or the coffeemaker or any of it. I finally slept again and awakened only when I heard the gong sound for the camp crew, early in the morning. I arose, and so did Junior.

It was still before dawn, and the smoke was thicker, there in the lantern light, and stronger than ever, and away up on the ridges to the north and west of the camp, where it had never been visible before, we could see the fire sparkling and shining in the darkness. “Close,” I said, and Junior nodded. We each had a cigarette, and then we walked to the kitchen tent.

They were all inside, the coffeemaker, the cooks, and Engstrom, and they stared at us as we entered, and then Engstrom said sharply to the two of us, “Help out with making the breakfast.” We nodded and went to work. No one said anything, but from time to time I could see their eyes drilling into us, and especially at Junior; again, the struggle between my fear and anger began to rise up inside of me; I hammered it down, trying to forget everything concerning it.

When breakfast was prepared, all of us in the camp crew served ourselves at the stove, and hurriedly ate our steak and eggs and toast. By the time we had finished our meal and had set up the food lines just outside the tent, the day shift men were coming up from the sleeping area, down in the thick timber, close to camp. We fed them and gave each one a box lunch, and then they climbed into trucks and went out to the fire lines. We brought forth more food, and in a while the night shift, dirty and tired, and with smoke and sweat in their eyes, came back in the trucks; after they had eaten, they took blankets and bedded down in the woods. Junior and I began to wash the breakfast dishes.

We worked quickly and without saying a word or looking at anyone, and the camp was quiet. The four cooks began work on the noon meal in the kitchen tent, and Engstrom was in his office, and the coffeemaker was out gathering wood for his fire. Finally, I allowed myself to think just a little about the trouble, and I told myself, “It’ll be all right. Probably they were just bluffing,” and even though the wind and the smoke and the fire coming down from the ridges toward our camp troubled me, I began to feel increasingly calm and relieved.

Then the coffeemaker returned to his fire with an armload of kindling. He dumped it, poured himself a cup of coffee, and sat down, staring into the flames under the pots. Junior went on with his work; I watched Clyde guardedly for a few moments, and then I too continued with what I was doing. And then I heard him mutter to himself again; I looked up to see him toss his cup, still partly filled with coffee, on the ground. He rose and came over to us.

My whole body stiffened with a jerk; we kept on working. When he was very close to us, I looked up and stared back at him.

For a moment or two, he stared back at me. Then he gave a strange, rattling and vicious laugh. He turned slightly and faced Junior, who had not looked up, and, reaching into his pocket, took out a long, heavy clasp knife and pulled the blade out. Again, fear and anger closed in on me; my head began to ache.

“You,” he said. Junior looked at him.

“They tell me you folks always carry one of these,” said Clyde, holding the knife in the flat of his hand, and hefting it. Then he gripped the handle. “Why don’t you take yours out?” he asked.

I looked quickly at Junior, and I could see him shaking slightly , but he seemed to be paying no attention to anything now but his dish towel and a plate. I looked at the coffeemaker and saw him with his knife and the smile on his face; and then the two sides of me were suddenly struggling with everything that each could muster up; my head was filled with sharp, stabbing pains; there was sweat all over me; I yelled aloud at myself, “Damn you!” And then I told Clyde, choking, “And damn you too! If we have to we’ll use these eating knives!” And I picked one up. And then my headache was gone.

The coffeemaker was staring at me. “You know what you’re doing?” he asked. “You better stay the hell out of this, sonny.”

The knife in my hand was jerking back and forth like tree limbs driven by a powerful wind. “Damn you,” I said in a hoarse voice. “Damn you to hell! You leave us alone!”

He was smiling again. “Yellow, both of you,” he said, and then was strangely silent, and looked past us. I followed his gaze and saw Engstrom standing in the door of his tent, his glowering face dark with anger. The coffeemaker slipped his knife away and went back to his fire; I put down mine and, feeling more tired than I ever had, but still savoring my anger, returned to work. When I looked again, Engstrom had disappeared.

Junior turned to me. “Look,” he said. “You don’t have to do this.”

“I have to,” I told him. “It’s mixed up. It’s all mixed up. But I have to.”

I worked for a moment longer, thinking, and then I took my hands out of the big dishpan, wiped them on my sides, and said, “I’m going to talk to Engstrom.”

Junior’s voice was strained and low. “Don’t,” he said. “It won’t do any good.” But I walked away, turning my head for a second to look at the watching Clyde, before continuing on.

I went to the tent of the big man. He was sitting behind a makeshift food-carton desk, working on a sheaf of papers. We looked at each other, and he asked, “What do you want?”

“Mr. Engstrom,” I said to him and then stopped. He said nothing, and I began once more. “Mr. Engstrom. There’s going to be trouble. You saw what just happened. Clyde. The knife.”

The camp boss was silent for a long time, and he looked down at his papers, thumbed through them, and then looked back at me. “Look, boy,” he said quietly. “There’s a lot about this that you don’t understand. Don’t mix in it.”

“I think I understand it,” I told him. “Most of it, anyway.”

He looked at me for a long, long time. Finally, he said, “If there’s trouble, I’ll get rid of the Nigra. Much as we need men. There’ll be no trouble here.”

“But it isn’t Junior’s fault,” I told him. “It isn’t his. You know that.”

Engstrom was silent again. Then he said, “Go on, do your work.”

I went to the door of his tent and turned. “You?” I asked. “You hate him, too?”

“I don’t know,” he said and his voice was sharp. He lifted his papers and dropped them and stared at me. “Don’t stand around here!” he said.

I went back to the dishwashing stand, and Junior looked at me, and I shook my head. The coffeemaker, over by his pots, laughed. “I know what you just did,” he said. “Didn’t do any good, did it?” He laughed again. “Could have told you that.” His face hardened, and he jerked his head toward Junior. “You’re as bad as he is,” he continued. “Just as bad.”

“You’re a rotten -- --” I started to tell him, and then Junior said quickly, “Don’t.” I stopped, shaking hard again.

“Not much longer,” said Clyde. “Not much longer at all. I think you’ll both be heading out of here, or ...” He clenched his fist and brought it sharply downward. I felt fear slash into me like the bitter wind of the winter; and then the anger came again in full force and as fiercely as a tornado, and the fear fled.

At high noon the wind was blowing much harder than at any time before, and the sun was hidden from us by the smoke; the fire was away down off the ridges and was now but half a dozen miles from the camp. The night shift men had come out of their blankets down in the timber to eat. Some had already finished, and Junior and I were just pouring the hot water, preparing to start on the dishes, when a green, government pickup drove into the camp and stopped.

A tall man dressed in ash-covered clothes and with grime over both his face and his Stetson hat climbed out of the truck. Engstrom walked over to him, and they talked for a few moments; then both looked up for a long, long time at the swirling, boiling cloud of reddish-black smoke. I heard someone say, “That’s the fire boss,” and then the tall man and Engstrom walked to the coffeemaker’s pots, and Clyde poured them each a cup of coffee. The two came over near Junior and me and stood, sipping coffee and smoking.

The tall man said, “I don’t know what’ll happen; and no one does anymore. It’s three times bigger than it was yesterday, and it’s out of control on every side.” He drained his cup. “But it’s worse on this end,” he went on. “I’m taking the night shift back with now. We’ve called for more help from all over the West. I don’t know if it’ll come in time.” He looked at Engstrom. “You say things are all on an even keel here?”

The camp boss began to nod, and then suddenly, without even really realizing what I was going to do, I said to the tall man, “No. It’s not on an even keel here.”

Both men looked at me, and Engstrom’s face was like the granite rocks of a mountain. The tall man asked me, “Now what was that?”

I spoke again, and my head was very light. “It’s not all right here.” I pointed to the coffeemaker, and the tall man turned and looked at him and then back to me. “He hates this man, “ I said, and I pointed at Junior. “Hates him enough to threaten him with a knife.”

The fire boss looked at Engstrom. “What’s this?” he asked the big man.

Engstrom was still looking at me, and then he shook his head. “Nothing,” he said. “Nothing much.”

“I hope to God it isn’t,” the tall man said. He looked in the direction of the fire. “Our biggest problem is that,” he continued to Engstrom. “I want the camp to stay here as long as it can. Close by and handy. But get it ready to move. Keep close to your radio. Unless we can hold this thing, and damn soon at that, you’ll have to pull out. I’ll leave you one truck.”

He walked away and began gathering up the night shift. Engstrom glared at me and asked, “And just why did you have to do that?” Then he turned and left.

I could almost feel the stare of Clyde. I looked over at him. He was watching me, the muscles on his face were moving , and his eyes were widened and wild. For a moment, his lips formed silent words, and then he said aloud, “I won’t forget.”

I looked away from him and said quietly to Junior, “I’m sorry it didn’t help.”

“Thanks,” he murmured, still working, “Don’t try anymore. It won’t do any good.”

The tall fire boss began to call out his orders, and the night shift men finished their noon meal hurriedly; by the time they had loaded into the trucks with their tools and had all departed for the fire, the reddish-black smoke was so close that fine ash began to drift through the woods like snow upon our now almost deserted camp. Junior and I went to work silently on the dinner dishes, and the four cooks and the coffeemaker began to pile equipment onto the back of the one truck which had been left behind; Engstrom paced back and forth, occasionally directing the work, and holding a radio, with the long aerial pulled fully out, glued to his ear. At times I would look over at the other men, and I’d see the coffeemaker and the four cooks often pausing and staring at Junior and me, and whispering together, and I thought again and again, the anger high inside of me, “Something’s going to happen. Before this is all over. Something is going to .” And Junior too would glance up quickly at them, and somehow I knew with certainty that he was aware of the same thing.

We were nearly finished with the dishes, and the cooks and the coffeemaker were taking down the tents and folding and tying them up, when I heard Engstrom speaking on the radio. I looked at him and then saw him shove the aerial down into the instrument, then place the radio in the cab of the truck. He cleared his voice and said to all of us, “It’s official now. We’re going to get out of here. They can’t get help to this fire in time; what they have now can never hold it. We’ve got to leave damn fast.” To Junior and me, he called, “Don’t wash anything more! Throw the dirty ones with the clean ones and pile ‘em all into the truck!” He pointed to some gunny sacks on the ground, and I went over and picked them up, and Junior and I filled the sacks with the cooking utensils and loaded them.

The fire was very close now, and the falling ashes were thicker, and the wind moving toward us from the direction of the blazing timber came so steadily and strongly that all of us began to cough from the thickening smoke. The cooks and the coffeemaker and Engstrom were beginning to fold up the last remaining tent, and the camp boss told Junior and me, “Help here and hurry it up.” The two of us knelt on the ground by the spread-out tent on a side away from the others and began to fold it.

We had almost finished the folding and were preparing to tie it, when I saw Engstrom stand up and look through the haze, down toward the far side of the camp, at a small, forgotten bundle of blankets. I watched him start toward it and then hesitate briefly, and then he said, “I’ll be right back. Tie the tent and load it,” and he half-walked, half-ran away.

I stared at his back for a second, and then I looked at Junior and saw his head turned in the direction of the camp boss; then I saw him look toward the coffeemaker and the cooks, and I followed his gaze and saw them looking at both of us. Junior lowered his head quickly, but I continued to face them; the air and the smoke were hot and so was the emotion which lay within me. Suddenly, less than half a mile away, a burning pine tree exploded with a sharp, loud noise, and we all began to tie up the tent.

Within minutes, the seven of us working quickly with the folded tent and the ropes, had finished the tying and were just lifting the heavy, canvas bundle and maneuvering it up toward the top of the piled equipment in the rear of the truck. I remember that I had just looked through the smoke and had seen Engstrom, with the blankets in his arms, hurrying toward us, when suddenly, under the weight of his portion of the tent, Junior stumbled and fell, the tied bundle dropped off balance, and slipped from the grasp of the rest of us, and tumbled to the ground. I helped Junior up, and we both began to stoop down to pick the tent up again, and then I felt the silence, and perhaps Junior did too, for we both looked over at the same time at the coffeemaker and the four cooks, who were staring at us with pure hate in their faces.

The two of us stood fully up, and then suddenly the coffeemaker moved forward and with a smashing blow of his fist struck Junior and knocked him down, and as he lay there, Clyde lifted his boot to kick at him; I threw myself at the coffeemaker, and he fell back, cursing, and the four cooks pulled me from him. “Hold him tight,” Clyde said to the four. “I’ll get him in a minute.”

Engstrom came up and dropped the blankets, his face flushed and his voice harsh. “Stop this!” he said. “And damn you all for a bunch of fools!”

He began to say something further, but then the coffeemaker looked down at Junior, who was beginning to rise from the ground, and Clyde said, “Yellow! Fight why don’t you! Fight!” Then Engstrom ordered the coffeemaker to be quiet, and Clyde jerked out his knife, and as he opened the blade, his face trembling with rage, he told Engstrom, “You keep out of this!” and then he said to Junior, “Get out your knife! I’m going to cut you up!”

Junior stood there, and I saw him shaking and sweat poured from his face, and he said in an agonized voice, “I’ve got no knife; I’ve never had one.” And then a weird light came into the eyes of the coffeemaker, and the big camp boss must have noticed it also, for the Swede jumped toward Clyde; the coffeemaker held the knife out toward Engstrom, forcing him off, and then two of the cooks left me and leaped onto the camp boss, and he went down to the ground, fighting and swearing. I tried to escape from those two who held me, but they shoved me to the ground, and I felt a heavy boot crash against my temple.

For a moment my eyes closed, and then I opened them, and as I lay on the ground with the two cooks holding me, I saw Engstrom, his nose bleeding, trying desperately to wrench himself from the grip of the other two; I shifted my eyes and saw the coffeemaker, the knife in his hand, moving toward the shaking and sweating Junior, and then I tried again to free myself but they held me down. I coughed violently in the thick smoke, and then, only a few hundred yards past Clyde and Junior, I saw a flashing red through the trees and heard a loud crackling sound.

“Fire!” I thought. “The fire!”

The others saw and heard it also, every one of them, and I felt the grip of the two cooks on my arms and legs tense, and Engstrom on the ground began swearing louder and louder, and I saw those holding him down look first at the fire, and then, in a questioning manner, at the coffeemaker. I saw Junior take his wide, staring eyes away from Clyde’s knife and shift his head in the direction of the fire for a split second before returning his eyes to the long, steel blade. And then I saw the coffeemaker himself turn his face slightly toward the crackling noise and the jumping, flashing red; he smiled in a warped and twisted manner, and I thought, “He’s crazy! Crazy!”

The coffeemaker, still smiling, and with the knife held away out in front of him toward Junior, moved carefully and steadily around the Negro, who kept turning his own body to face the knife until his back was completely turned in the direction of the fire. Then the coffeemaker advanced toward Junior and in a strange, emotion-charged voice, he said, “Cold steel. You can’t get away. Cold steel, black man.” And Junior began limping away from the knife, toward the fire.

I yelled, “Not that way, Junior! Not that way!” and one of the cooks struck me in the face, but my call made no difference, for neither the advancing man, nor he who retreated, gave any sign that they had heard me. I watched, with my breath held and my eyes fixed and seeing nothing else, as Junior moved further and further backward; the slow, grim march was still continuing, when I heard Engstrom bellow.

“Sparks!” he yelled. “Sparks coming down! There’ll be spot fires!”

I looked up into the air and saw that the ash was still there, but that now there were also tiny, glowing red coals falling all over us; then I felt them on my skin, and next I saw tiny wisps of smoke on the ground and then flames began to spring up in the pine needles and the grass all around us. The cooks who held me and those who held the camp boss suddenly released us and stepped back; I lay there for a moment gathering strength, and Engstrom lay there too. And then I saw the coffeemaker and Junior pause and look at the falling sparks, and then they looked back at one another. Clyde rushed toward Junior, and the Negro turned and ran blindly toward the great fire, his lame leg jerking, and the coffeemaker followed him with his knife raised high -- and all around us were growing spot fires.

I climbed to my feet and ran through the patches of fire, straight toward the two smoke-dimmed figures and the tremendous red monster ahead, yelling, “Junior! Junior!” Behind me I heard the truck engine start, and I heard it driving away, and I thought, “They’ve left! They’ve left!” and then I felt someone jerk me around, and I saw the camp boss Engstrom.

“Get the hell out of here!” he yelled above the roaring of the fire. “Run for it! Get out! I’ll try to get your friend!” He ran past me toward the thundering inferno, and I followed him, and then ahead I thought I heard screams; and suddenly Engstrom was running back, a solid wall of fire right behind him and even then in all of the smoke and hell I could see him shake his head, and I saw the anguish on his face and in his eyes, and then he grabbed me and shoved me, and with the searing red death behind us and dodging the spot fires to the sides and ahead, we fled.



I am honored -- humbled -- by the  2005 Elder Recognition Award of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. This is one of several
awards voted by the Caucus [board] of this organization of writers,
storytellers, film makers, and journalists. I was nominated by
Alice Hatfield Azure [Mi'kmaq] -- an honor in its own right.  As are
other fine expressions of appreciation, this is extremely  meaningful to
me and our family. And to all of those with whom I have worked and
for whom I have written -- and from whom I have always learned much
indeed -- this is for them a tribute as well.

I am in very good company.  Among the honorees is Alice's other nominee,
Catherine A. Martin for Film-Direction in The Spirit of Annie Mae.  And
Emory Dean Keoke, with Kay Marie Porterfield, received the award for
research with respect to their American Indian Contributions to the
World [5 volume set]. [Emory is an old friend and former student.]

Regularly Updated.

[The last recipient of the Wordcraft Elder Recognition Award was Maurice Kenny, Mohawk, teacher and playwright and poet, who received it in 2000.]

The foregoing Elder Recognition  Award Page  contains many fine comments.

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


76. Mary Ann Hall Winters [Chicago and Mississippi] and Tougaloo College


This material gives some interesting insights into the key role played by
Tougaloo College -- located in Tougaloo village, then a few miles north of
Jackson -- during the critical Springtime of the Movement in Mississippi. Tougaloo was financed by Northern churches and the United Negro College Fund and thus free from any state control.]

In mid-September, 1963, I was privileged to give a major fund raising
address for the United Negro College Fund at New York City.  Mayor Robert
Wagner and I were the key speakers, first at the Harvard Club and then atop
Rockefeller Center.  I focused on the role of the private Negro colleges in
the Southern Movement, with especial emphasis and detail regarding the
Tougaloo situation. [I also took advantage of my leading "spot" to express criticism of the just occurred NYC police arrest of CORE demonstrators at
one of the bridges.  Police Commissioner Murphy, present at our events, grimaced noticeably at that shot.]

Eldri and I certainly remember Mary Ann Hall very well and fondly -- as we
do her parents.  She was one of our most faithful field workers in the
Jackson Boycott Movement as well as an excellent student. On our Bear
Without Borders list are several hardworking Tougaloo  veterans of that era: Dr Joyce Ladner, Joan Trumpauer [Mulholland], Steve Rutledge, Lois Chaffee [a younger faculty person from North Idaho, much involved.]  Still others on BWB were in Mississippi at various points -- Heather Booth, Quinn Brisben, Sheila Michaels.  Clyde Appleton of Tucson, one of my oldest friends, taught at Shaw University, Raleigh, NC -- a sister school of Tougaloo -- and was
quite active in the Movement there.  In addition, others on BWB were
involved on behalf of civil rights in the Border states.  Still others
played key supportive roles.  And Reber Boult, now of New Mexico but a
Southerner to the core with many Deep South roots and connections, was
active in Southern Student Organizing Committee [SSOC.]

There is little chance of escaping into anonymity [even if one wanted to]
given the presence of the Internet and Google. [What the old-time Western
bounty hunters could have done with this!]

Anyway, I now  often get interesting messages:  some from old friends [many of them former students], new friends, some from people who need help of one kind or another.  A number of people are doing interviews for books and articles.  And Bruce Hartford of Civil Rights Movement Veterans plans to come through before long to do an interview on my role as an organizer.

This, from Mary Ann Hall [Winters] came yesterday.  She definitely would
have seen me on Chicago's Jeffrey Boulevard during the time period she
cites.  We lived in that setting -- South Shore, at 8143 South Luella.  From
1969 to 1973, I was Southside Director for the Chicago Commons Association
[an old and well known private social service organization], directing large
scale grassroots community organization on the turbulent and sanguinary South/Southwest side.  [Among other things, we helped mostly minority people organize about 300 block clubs and related groups.]  At the same time, our family was deeply involved in the Indian community on the Northside where I helped develop the Native American Community Organizational Training Center, of which I served as chair for a number of years.  [When we left Chicago in '73 for the relatively nearby University of Iowa, I commuted regularly to the Windy City, continuing most of my volunteer involvements in that setting.]

Dr Ernst Borinski -- we kept in contact until his death in the early '80s --
was always "Dr Borinski" to me. [I could never bring myself to call him by
his first name.]  Joyce Ladner was a long-time student of his and is herself
featured in the film which, coming out via PBS a few years ago, focused
prominently on him : "From Swastika to Jim Crow."  This film discusses
Jewish refugees who came to play very significantly positive roles in the
private Southern Black colleges.  See my post on this film in my little

After Mary Ann's kind letter, I have added an excerpt from an interview I
did the other day for a sociology prof who is doing articles on Tougaloo.

From: Mary Ann Winters
Subject: John Salter, Jr./Hunter Gray
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 19:40:51 -0700 (PDT)

Recently I was at Tougaloo College to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of my
Class of 1965. As Mr. Salter was one of my favorite professors, I asked if
anyone knew where he was, etc.After returning to Chicago, I went on the
Internet just wanting to continue feeling that closeness about Tougaloo and my classmates , when up popped John Salter/Hunter Gray. I was ecstatic. I've lived in Chicago since 1966 .

After reading about Mr. Salter's journey , I realize that I wasn't seeing
things when I saw him walking North on Jeffrey Blvd. in Chicago either late
60's or early 70's and I was heading south on the Jeffrey Express Bus. As I
looked out the window, I said to myself  " Naw, that couldn't be Mr. Salter in Chicago" knowing his western background. I immediately rang the bell to jump off the bus but he had disappeared into the crowd before I could catch him. I remember his long strides walking across Tougaloo's campus.

I am Mary Ann Hall Winters, Class of 1965 and one of Mr. Salter's and the
Movement's  "church visiting boycotter " . I  have fond memories of Mr. and
Mrs. Salter inviting students to their home for coffee, conversations and
strategizing sessions . Mr. Salter was the greatest along with the other
giant who had a profound impact upon my life, the late Ernst Borinski,

I'm deeply grateful for all the sacrifices that Mr. Salter made for me and
my people but I have to let him know that I am most grateful on a personal
level for the invitation which he extended to my late parents, Mr. and Mrs. Willie Hall. He and Mrs. Salter asked me to bring them over for coffee when they came to visit me one year. My parents, having always lived in a
rigidly segregated society,  could not believe that a "  white man " invited
them to his home. They sat and talked in the Salter's living room like they
would have with a family friend. My daddy  told people about the Salters
for many years afterwards.

Now that I have calmed down Mr. Salter, I hope that you will win the SLE
war. Having worked as a social worker for the past 35 years in  hospitals ,
I'm aware of how much this illness can beat up on you.

My prayers are with you and Mrs. Salter (I couldn't say John and Eldri out of respect even in the old days {smile} )and your family.

Mary Ann Hall Winters
Tougaloo College
Class of 1965

social science forums:
6. when you were at tougaloo, how often were the social science forums

[About one a month at least.]

7. you said in one of your emails to the marxism discussion listserv,
that while you were at tougaloo, martin king, otto nathan, and pete
seeger were speakers at the forums. it seems to me that when dr.
borinski began the forums in 1952 and throughout the 1950s, the forums
attracted mostly local speakers (including medgar evers on july 20,
1955). do you know when and why dr. borinski was able to attract
speakers from outside of mississippi?

[He personally contacted people and Dr Beittel also knew good folks.
Also,as the Southern Struggle became nationally popular, people wanted to
come down for a couple of days.  Once back in, say, New York City or even Atlanta, they told others about Tougaloo's roles ]

Salter's Coffee House: "more than anything, students were glad to have aplace to which to come and just talk." (a direct quote from your interview)
8. you mentioned "salter's coffee house" to me in your responses to my
questions in the email interview. how often did students come over to
your house to talk with you?

[They came to our home continuously -- no let up.  We were always glad to
see them and, of course, Eldri has always been a great cook]

9. what types of topics did you all discuss?  [Everything!  Often the
Movement [and historic movements and their lessons] but also Indians [some
of the students were part Indian], literature, music, evolution v
creationism, philosophy, hunting and vastly more.

10. how many students would usually be in attendance? were they mostly
tougaloo college students? local high school students?

[Sometimes one or two or two and three -- but sometimes half a dozen to a dozen or so.  They were initially mostly Tougaloo students -- I met
regularly in North Jackson with high school students in our North Jackson
Youth Council group . But, in time, high schoolers began to come directly to our house.

11. did other faculty and/or administrators attend?

[No -- not as a general rule. But one or two younger faculty did.]

12. did other faculty have such gatherings at their house?


13. did president beittel attend your gatherings? or professor borinski?
did they have such gatherings of their own?

[No, but Dr Beittel and Dr Borinski were very accessible as far as any
students were concerned and Dr Borinski, of course, had his forums.  He also served great luncheons.]

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


77.  Eric Meinhardt [Grand Forks, ND -- and the World]

How are you holding up?  You are one of the shining points in American humanity... I'm curious as to which
one of life's little ephemeral (spelling??) pleasures you have adopted as a bright spot in your day.  For me, while I was ill, it became the cup of coffee alone or with a good friend.  To this day a solitary cup of
coffee has special meaning to me.  I imagine that you might find a quiet drive to the countryside and
putting a few rounds through one of your rifles could be very therapeutic....  Sitting here I can imagine you smiling at your rifle after having just delivered
a few rounds to it's God given down range target.  Beautiful blue sky overhead with puffy clouds
sprinkling the horizon, mountains, and you and the rifle.....  Therapy, pure guilty sinful therapy. 

Eric Meinhardt   

78]  Chuck Levenstein [friend and colleague from long ago days in an international union -- and now living in Massachusetts]

" I have been reading your website -- and am continually moved by remembrance and by your amazing accomplishments  . . ."

79]  CAROL HELD  [Carol and her husband, Al, are important volunteer organizers for the Utah section of Lupus Foundation of America.  They have been helping our efforts here in southeastern Idaho.]

Just finished reading the tribute to you on your website.( all 17 pages of
it) What an amazing life you and Eldri must have had! And all of the comments of
your friends and peers speak to the courage and wisdom with which you
obviously met every challenge. I also suspect that in your arsenal is a wicked sense
of humor which probably has served you well.

Regret to say I am not familiar with any of your writings but would love to
become so. Is your book still in print? Is there a way to access some of your
other efforts? Please allow me to add my congratulations to those of your many
friends. Even though I scarcely know you, I have a feeling that to become a
member of that group would be a distinct pleasure. Keep up with the walking, it
must be a joy to be able to do so again, even with the pain. Let the love,
respect and prayers of all who have known you give you strength.
Hope to see you again on the 12th but of course do what it best for you. God

Carol Held


[Sent initially to John R Salter III [Beba]

Hi Son of John Salter,

I am pleased to see that you are traveling in your father's footsteps. This is the thing that will make his legacy a great one.

My name is Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark. I was instrumental in bringing a willing John Salter into the Mississippi struggle. He was a wonderful teacher and unusual in that he was willing to give his time, expertise and energy to assist in making a movement happen in Jackson. Because of his hard earnest work light came to a very dark place bringing with it a waterfall of positive change. Please remind him that his student thinks of him often and that I cannot image that he is anything but the big bad bear that took on the racist-fascist State of Mississippi. His legacy is one of hope. He can never die though he may fade away, his work through you, his students and the people of Mississippi will live and justify his coming this way.

Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark



Dear Hunter Bear:

Many thanks for the wonderful book [Jackson, Mississippi] and the kind inscription.  I couldn't resist reading it all the way through and it is indeed a permanent and valuable record of an era.   Names kept popping up that brought forth memories: Aaron Henry, Ed King -- even Jet Purnell whom I met while working across the Virginia border from Roanoke Rapids in 1965-66. 

Thank you for writing the book, as well as doing the things recorded in it.

We are all in your debt.


David Nolan  [August 2005]



You are not alone John.
Thanks again for all your info on your website.
With highest regard for you and your causes you always bring such class to,

[Signed - Roma]

. . .I went on to major in Indian Studies at UND and found in the Indian Studies
Dept that I was accepted on my merit, white or not. All I had to bring to
the table was a lack of prejudice and acceptance for others.
I happened to have the greatest honor of having John Salter as my first
Professor; Intro. to Indian Studies was my first class and the most valuable
class I have ever attended.
Roma Law / Roma LaVoie, North Dakota and Arizona

August 30 2005



Scott Winter is an old friend -- who took several of my classes [including Honors courses] at the University of North Dakota.  He is now on the Journalism/Mass Communications faculty at the University of Nebraska.  He has kindly passed on some good words from Adam Nossiter, New York Times, and author of the excellent book, Of Long Memory:  Mississippi And The Murder of Medgar Evers. [ Nice to see kind words on a rather cold and rainy Idaho morn -- with some snow coming.]  My long website page on Medgar and our historic Jackson Movement is one of the most consistently visited pages on our Hunterbear website.  In case you missed it:


I forgot to send you a note earlier this semester. I had Adam Nossiter speak in my Journalism 101 class in September. Do you remember him? He researched and wrote a Medgar Evers book. He's with the New York Times again, working as a correspondent in New Orleans. He wrote great stuff during hurricane Katrina. I was really impressed by him. I mentioned your name to him in front of the class and he said "Sure, I know of John Salter. He's a great man who did great things in Jackson, and wrote an amazing book about it." He clearly used the book as a key resource, along with his interviews and court documents. Anyway, 120 journalism freshmen got a dose of facts about poverty in the Deep South and it was empirically the best day of class all year.

Take care of yourself,

(photo of Adam in my class attached.)
Scott Winter
Lecturer and Recruiter
College of Journalism and Mass Comm
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

85.  Darren Eisenzimmer, Champlin, MN  April 22 2007

Dear Professor Salter,
My name is Darin Eisenzimmer, I'm a '96 graduate of UND.  I took your Indian Studies class for my education majors.  I went to google your name the other day and didn't leave my computer for about two hours...just couldn't step away.  My first intent was to find out more info on the CBS Nightline incident(s).  Now, I'm very happy I was sent elsewhere.  What you have done, to keep it general, has gotten my attention now...I don't know where it will take me, but for now, I'm riding it.  I purchased your Jackson, Mississippi book and plan to read that...FYI-I do not read alot at all, however, I have motivation to read this and learn.  It may be a "in the moment thing", but my pastor said, "never underestimate a brief encounter."  I also read about Cloudy, a small bio, and your battle with Lupus...among other excerpts.  I was at UND for five and half years, and there  are a few professors that really stick out to me, you would be one of them.  I could easily say that it was because of the Nightline experience, but something deeper urges otherwise.  I tend to believe that some people just have "it!"  A small word with a powerful punch.  "It" could mean so many things, but to truly be able to define it is impossible.  Anyways, I have a strong intuition that it wasn't just me remembering you, but everyone around you...cause when you got it, you got it!  Just a final note, my girlfriend is a strong believer in the power of the mind...she reads Deepak Chopra/Dr. Wayne Dyer et al.  She loved how Cloudy was substantially psychic!  I'll chat later...keep fightin' the good fight!  

Darin in Champlin, MN


ALEX WESTAD:  [ 86.]

Hunter Bear,
I just want to take sometime out of my schedule to thank you for the information you gave me regarding yourself and the Jackson Movement. I along with the help of Mr. Daniel was able to construct a project that was both historically accurate as well as telling an accurate depiction of the stories and other conflicts you participated in during the 60's. More specifically with the Jackson Movement and your role in it.
History Day was last week, and I did an individual performance using the information I received in your e-mails, your website and other research. It was the best 10 minutes of my life. I (and Mr. Daniel) thought that I did the best job that I could have done. I received the "Honorable Mention" award but did not move on to the State Level. But, nevertheless I managed to spread word about yourself and the role you played in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960's
Thanks again for all your help in these last few months.
Alex Westad
Alex:  And also Bret [Quick Bear] Salter [87]
Thanks very much indeed for your very good letter.  And congratulations on the successful outcome of your most challenging and interesting ninth grade History Day project.  I am truly honored that you chose to depict me and a number of the key challenges that we faced in our historic Jackson Movement.
Tomorrow is the Mississippi primary and it's highly significant that, in contrast to the bad old days, a vast number of Mississippi black people are registered to vote and will be the decisive factor in the outcome.  Many pundits predict that a good number of white people there will vote for Barack Obama. Mississippi has come a long way -- still has a long way to go [as does the whole country] -- but things are infinitely better now than the blood-dimmed days some of us remember so well and will never forget.  I am very pleased that you chose to pursue those issues.
As I've often thought and said these past several months, "It wasn't so long ago that we had to fight to survive at a Woolworth lunch counter!"
In an interesting coincidence, one of my grandsons -- Bret Salter [Quick Bear], now in the seventh grade at Glyndon, Minnesota [Fargo / Moorhead area] -- did much the same thing as yourself. [And you, of course, are not that far geographically from him, being at White Bear Lake.]  He dug into our large website and formulated his fine version of Me.  I am much honored by that as well.  Like you, he did very well in his class presentation and drew a high grade. He had the advantage of knowing me personally -- but, for your part, you asked all the right questions and I'm sure that your depiction, like his, "captured" me very fully.
So I am quite proud of both of you guys.  You are very fine troopers indeed.
And I'm quite sure you will both continue your very solid interest in the key social justice issues that exist now -- and, in one form or another -- will stretch far into the Good Future that each of you will be privileged to enjoy even as you both join so many others in making this rather worn and tired world a far better place.
Please give my best, Alex, to the good Mr Daniel.  Doesn't seem that long ago that he was a student of mine at UND.
Once again, my strong congratulations to you and to Quick Bear.
Take care and all best.  As an old friend from the Old Days in my native Southwest so often said, "Success will be ours in the long run." [Juan Chacon of New Mexico.]
Hunter Bear
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'


Hello Hunter Bear -
It has been a long time since we have communicated and I have really missed being in touch.

First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the good things you have done for me and still doing for others. You and Eldri  are the most principled people I have ever met and I love everything you stand for.
When I first met you at sixteen, my mind was a blank tabula rosa and I consider you as my greatest mentor and role model.  You taught me so much and I will never be able to repay you, but I want to be one of your best disciples.


89. Austin C. Moore III, Tougaloo and California


Sorry to hear that your health at this time will not provide you the privilege of travel. At this very time in history you were so important in the history of changing the America landscape. I feel that I would have to capture this additional  moment [the Obama inaugural] in my life time. My thoughts will naturally be with you as you gave me the courage not to accept anything less than total class citizenship.

Give my love to Eldrie







From Hunter Gray
March 01, 2004

I have just been the recipient of great tribute.

This message is going to all Lists with which I am affiliated. It's also going to a great many individuals -- many of whom have written fine things and others who have done other solid things and those who have thought fine thoughts. In addition, my son, John, will be forwarding this to the Four Directions.

I speak here on behalf of our entire family -- and our many, many friends: old and new.

I am genuinely Overcome, truly Overwhelmed. Totally.

It is like looking out a familiar window -- for one more of countless times.

And expecting to see the same mountains and trees, snow and sage and grass.

And then -- genuine and stunning surprise -- viewing a large new Mountain, a whole new one, a vast and shining Panorama.

And, with all of that, a whole fresh array of glittering Crags and Canyons and Ridges -- and Perspectives from and of the Sun and the Stars and the Wind.

There are now many, many places to explore, and nuggets far richer than any gold to receive and to hold and to treasure -- in this emergent masterpiece of organizational complexity and intricacy and rich water.

In Solidarity



Micmac/ St Francis Abenaki/St Regis Mohawk

In the mountains of Eastern Idaho

When you cut to the bone and cut away the college degrees, academic and other titles, published books and articles, ours is essentially a working class and Indian family. We consistently join unions -- and we always support them with the greatest vigor.

It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.


Among the Contributors To
This Hunter Gray Tribute


Theresa Alt, Ithaca, New York
Norla Antinoro, Tucson, Arizona
Clyde Appleton, Tucson, Arizona
Alice Azure, Mystic, Connecticut
Vivian E. Berg, Mandan, North Dakota
Heather Booth, Washington, DC
William Borden, Royse City, Texas and Bemidji, MN
Reber Boult, Albuquerque, NM
Charles Bracey, Chicago, IL
Quinn Brisben, Chicago, Illinois
Joan C. Browning, Lewisburg, West Virginia
Duane E. Campbell, Sacramento, California
Barry Cohen, New York, New York
Gilles d'Aymery, via SWANS
Easy, Spokane, Washington
Dianne Feeley,
David Finkel, Detroit, MI

Diane Feldman, Washington, DC
Kass Fleisher, Normal, Illinois
Sam Friedman, New Jersey [and New York, NY]
Robert W Gately, Phoenix, AZ
Stephen Harvey, Courtenay, B.C., Canada
Michael Hirsch, New York, New York

Dan Hittner, Brooklyn, New York
Dale Jacobson, East Grand Forks, Minnesota
Rev. Edwin King, University of Mississippi Medical Center  Jackson
Jessica LaBumbard, Detroit, Michigan
John Lacny, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joyce Ladner,  Sarasota, Florida

Dorothy Lockhart, Skokie, Illinois
Jim Loewen, Washington, DC

Dawn Lough, Iowa City and Tama, Iowa
Tim McGowan, Rochester, New York
Steven F. McNichols, San Francisco, California
David McReynolds, New York, New York
William Mandel, Oakland, California
Sheila Michaels, St. Louis, Missouri
Joan Mulholland, Arlington, Virginia
Loki Mulholland, Orem, Utah
Ed Nakawatase, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Celine Nally, Stanley, New Mexico

Carmen Pappas Lincolnwood, Illinois

Edward Pickersqill, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Patricia Pristas, Stanley, New Mexico
Louis Proyect, New York, New York
David Ranney, Washington Island, Wisconsin
Elliott & Muriel Ricehill, Black River Falls, Wisconsin
Steve Rossignol, Blanco, Texas
Steve Rutledge, West Virginia
John Salter, Glyndon, Minnesota
Peter Salter, Lincoln, Nebraska
Samantha Salter, Pocatello, ID
Jay Schaffner, New York, New York
John Henry Sime, Readstown, Wisconsin
Jerry Severson, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Macdonald Stainsby, Vancouver, BC
Martha Ture, Fairfax, Marin County, California
Jay Weinstein, Ypsilanti, MI
Roy Wortman, Gambier, Ohio 43022
Steven Zunes, Santa Cruz, California


by Dale Jacobson

All these voices, all these lives, the world.

Jay Gould, who wanted Fridays black,
said “labor is a commodity,”
no news to Marx. But another kind
of work that shapes the world round
made the banker shudder!--
and though the nation still rushes
toward those nuggets of ‘49
one minute to the intersection
of dream and despair, blissfully
oblivious how late it is
into the senile century just born-- who,
asks the miner deep among mineral,
mines the sky not for gold but its light?

America is a myth but something is older.
In those wild lands west where space
is ancient and terrain is free though
land be owned, shale rings with time
when rock talks to rock, and a long
catechism of echoes ricochets through
ravines indifferent if anyone hears
and no mountain will move for word or will.

From that place came Hunter the Bad Bear
who stalks the hunters who hunt the poor.
From Arizona to Mississippi to Chicago
and places between, even Grand Forks
on the far northern plains, he came
to call in the way the world calls itself
down the canyons of cities where
the faces of the poor are locked
in their prisons of deep stone silence--
his voice echoes into tomorrow where
those same ancient and wild expanses of light
cannot be fenced but wait
for the free word to pronounce the day.







He told me a story once -- Frank did -- which I have always appreciated
as an example of our key Western ethic:  Mind your own business -- and
don't ask touchy questions.  It was at a migrant hobo camp in the San
Joaquin Valley of the mid-1930s -- where, as a saying went, "Cherries are
Red".  As the fire burned and coffee perked, the guys shot the breeze about unions and radical groups.  One man, with a scarred, worn face and a black Stetson, mentioned the IWW.

At that, a young person from the East asked, in somewhat awestruck fashion, "Are you a Wobbly?"

The man in the black Stetson looked hard at the kid for a long time.  Then
he reached into his coat and took out a huge revolver.
Cocking and pointing it at the young Easterner, he said, "That is none of
your Goddamned business."

There is a straight line from the Magic of these long ago settings and its
special interaction right into and through every single social justice
campaign in which I've ever been involved -- to our present [and very
strange] moment in Idaho.

I wrote this almost a year ago -- an autobiographical piece and a radical
one.  I have no apologies for running it again: in large measure as a
tribute to a great person and Westerner and social justice fighter who
entered my developing  life at a critical juncture -- and whose memory,
always as sharp and clear in my mind as our Rocky Mountain air, is a very
solid antidote always to the red-baiters and garbage collectors and
knifesmen one too often encounters in the witchy world of cyber discussion.
Don't get me wrong:  most of the folks I come across in the computer world
of the New Faith, with whom I may or may not agree on little or much, are
just fine.

But there are some others -- pathetic and marginal and treacherous cowards.
It would be downright interesting to see, face to face, what they actually
do look like -- outside of their shadows and murk and spidery webs.

On the other hand, I still do hold to my basic conviction that most people
are good -- at least almost all the time -- and some are very good indeed.

And here is one of those who'll always be on the high mountain top, close to
the Sun. It is always good to think of him.



His old Stetson pulled hard down just above the eyes in his weather-lined
face, Frank took a stick and drew three circles in the sandy soil on the
edge of our greasewood campfire -- its low, dancing flames keeping at bay
the chilly winter cold of that semi-desert Arizona night.

"Lenin saw it this way," he told me.  "These are the things that strangle
the people.  Capitalism. Government.  Church."  And he then drew a complex
of intricate, interactive lines between and around the Circles.

And, just a few yards to the west of us, we could hear in its little gorge
the rushing water of the Verde River, just joined by Sycamore Creek which
came down from the north out of that massive, splendid and vasty wilderness
area called Sycamore Canyon -- my own great traditional hunting region.

And only a few miles to our west loomed Mingus Mountain on which blinked the
lights of the old copper camp of Jerome. Now -- with the ore just played
out -- it was headed toward ghost and artist town status. But it was once
the hell-blasting scene of legendary Wobbly and then other class war
struggles -- some of which went well into my own Teen years.

I was a young Native -- 18 -- when that campfire burned on the Verde that winter night.  And I got a very thorough lesson in class struggle ideology -- not from a college
prof-type in a suit -- but from a Levi-clad cowpuncher turned artist because
of a back broken from a horse throw.

He was, of course, a great deal more than that.  Born in 1913 in upstate New
York, his father a construction engineer who later did contract work in the
developing USSR, Frank Dolphin had briefly attended Syracuse University and
then went with his parents to live in a small town in Southern Arizona.
While his father worked abroad in the Red East, Frank drifted into
California, labored in the "Factories in the Fields,"  became a militant and
Left farm workers' organizer during the great waves of  Red strikes in the
Imperial Valley and the San Joaquin.  Framed up on a murder charge, he left
California, went into the Teton Basin country of Wyoming, established a
small ranch, married and had a couple of kids -- boys.

Sometimes things -- even things in as beautiful a setting as the Tetons --
just don't work out.  The War was coming on fast. Pearl Harbor was still to
occur but  Canada was now fully embroiled. Frank joined the RCAF, rose to the
rank of First Lieutenant, serving in the New Hebrides.  After the War, he
drifted back into Arizona, working for various cow outfits in the northern
part of the state.

And then he was thrown by a spooky horse.  And he broke his back.

He never rode again.  For awhile he worked as a cow camp cook -- a major and
very important vocation.  But even that was tough.  Horses and wagon, rough
country, long hours, heavy weather.

In time, he came to my home town of Flagstaff.  There he became an  art
student of my father -- who was the first Native hired as a professor at
Arizona State College.  And Frank was, even then, a damn good artist.

That's when we joined forces.

For my part, I was entering a Critical Transition.  I was very much -- as a
friendly and complimentary reference on my behalf later given the Army by a
top U.S. Forest Service official said -- "a nature boy."  I spent a lot of
time in the woods -- as much as I could -- and had ever since I could button
my Levis and pull on my engineer's boots.  My parents were permissive but
grade school and high school were, to me, prisons -- and some teachers and
all administrators seemed to see me  as one of the guys for whom God had
especially designed punishment.

My best high school memories were not classes.  They were our match-winning,
champion rifle club  -- of which I served as president -- and our very
wide-ranging hiking club. In each case, the faculty sponsor was an effective
teacher -- and eminently kind -- and a friend.

In the woods -- and as the years passed I went into ever more rugged and
remote areas -- I could be my own person.  I was always hunting, sometimes
trapping.  Claiming to be the legal Federal work age of 18, even as I was
actually some years younger, I worked very capably indeed over several
consecutive seasons  for the Coconino National Forest as a firefighter and
as a  remote fire lookout/radio man.

Early on in forest fire fighting, I saw, first-hand, virulent anti-Black
hate and violence in a fire camp  -- and years later I wrote an
award-winning short story about that, "The Destroyers."  But in other such
camp settings, coming in from the fire lines to eat and drink coffee and
catch some sleep, I heard talk -- very interesting talk -- about the work
situations in the nearby metal mines and lumber camps.  Favorable talk about
militant unions, like the old Wobblies, and some of the newer radical ones.

Things -- Big Things for me -- were happening.  Flagstaff, a rough and
racist mountain town bordering Indian Country, was being challenged on

the human rights front by my parents and others of
conscience in a very tough crusade. And that effective and long-enduring
struggle included people from all Native tribes of the general region and
other ethnicities as well.

There was a new War -- and a Red Scare.

There was a lot of talk about "Communism."  In the final semester of my
final year of high school, our English teacher, essentially a nice guy,
brought men from the American Legion to our class to warn us about That.  We
were told It was in the unions -- and that It was also, through something
called the American Friends Service Committee, trying to agitate the
Navajos in our very own setting.

I grinned on that one.  The young AFSC couple, Quakers starting work in the
vast and very adjacent Navajoland, were living temporarily -- at that precise
moment --  in our house on the far edge of Flagstaff.  There, they were
meeting  many Navajo leaders. They also met other activists such as Chicano
leaders -- and, too, Wilson Riles,  principal of the small Black
elementary school, whose graduates then went into the fully integrated
Flagstaff junior high and high school complex.

I was at virtually the end of high school when I read a copy of The
Communist Manifesto that an older academic friend of our family lent me at my request
from his own vast library.   I was surprised at how it stirred my blood,
planting seeds for sure.

So too and very much did Granville Hicks' excellent biography of Jack Reed
stir and plant, that next fall when I started in as a freshman at my
hometown Arizona State. [John Reed:  The Making of a Revolutionary,
Macmillan, 1936.] Mother had suggested I hunt up and read that one.  The old
Anglo Mississippi-born lady who was college librarian  looked suspiciously
at the book and  then at me.  But I was an Indian and so was Dad who, of
course, was a  professor as well -- and she said nothing, at least not to
any of us. The book had not been checked out since 1938.

And then, in due course, Frank came into the picture as an older student of
Dad's.  And he arrived just before I completed my young life-long Mission:

to kill a very, very large bear.

That was mandated from almost the Hatch onward.  It didn't come easily. It
took a super long time indeed to accomplish.  And then, one warm October
mid-day, well off-any-road and far, far down into the huge and remote and
heavily forested eastern slope of the Sycamore Canyon wilderness,  I came to
a rare wonderful  spring of pure water emanating from the rocks in an aspen
grove. Flowing in a small stream two hundred yards down a leisurely slope
through the yellow pines and scrub oak and even some red maples, it
culminated in a kind of level clearing  -- a "park" as we call it in the
Southwest -- which was about 20 yards across. There the water gathered,
surrounded by and mixed with  green grass.

And there in the mud I saw the many fresh tracks of a huge black bear.

And so, under a scrub oak tree, surrounded by its fallen acorns mixing with
old needles from the pines, I waited.  Hour after hour  deeply into the late
afternoon.  My 30/30 Winchester lever action with the long octagon barrel
and the curved metal buttplate leaned against a low oak limb, right handy.

And then, looking once again at my Hamilton wrist watch -- the high school
graduation gift from my folks -- I saw that it said 5:10 p.m.  And I looked
up, across the clearing.

And there It was.

It was a huge black bear,  a male, walking smoothly on its fours just inside the timber along
the edge of the clearing, its massively long arms reaching full out and moving
back and then forward again in easy, flowing  graceful coordination with its huge back

Still seated, I cocked my 30/30 rifle, aimed and fired.  The bear, not
mortally hit, turned and ran directly away from me.  Standing tall, I now
fired by pure instinct -- one of my best shots ever -- hitting It in the
back area.  It turned, snarling and pawing, and I fired five more shots into

I had killed it. A huge bear.  I was now a Full Man.

The sun was dipping far down toward the western rim of the Great Canyon as I
cut the throat of the bear and drained the blood, then gutted him.  Propping
the body cavity open with sticks in order to quickly cool the meat, I also
covered the area with my sweat-stained and human-odorous shirt in order to
discourage any scavenging critters from getting too close.

Then, literally covered with the Red Blood of the Bear, I climbed out of the
Canyon in the darkness and, eventually reaching my vehicle, made it back to
Flagstaff on the remote woods roads.  It was very late. But my parents were fully
as pleased as I.

My father and I and one of my two younger brothers -- and Frank -- left
very early the next morning with bedrolls and three day's rations for
Sycamore and the Bear.  It took Dad and I several trips and every bit of those three
days for us to get all of the bear meat -- in several huge hunks -- out of
the super steep Canyon.  Green blow flies laid maggot eggs in the bloody
hide and we had to abandon that -- save for several furry strips which I cut
off.  During this back-breaking struggle  -- hundreds of pounds of meat from
the huge bear whose live weight was estimated as being at least 650
pounds -- Frank cooked for us, assisted by my little brother. 

And that's where I got to know Frank Dolphin well.
And he certainly came to know me.

After that, a lot happened fast in my life.  Frank told me many things --
radical and militant organizing accounts and sagas and organizations and
movements. On things like Wobblies and Communists he had some pithy advice.
"You ride one horse," he told me,  "and, when it goes down, you find another
and  ride it.  Keep going always, full ahead."

It wasn't all Revolution and such.  One hilarious account involved his
spending six weeks in a brothel at Elko, Nevada painting appropriate murals
on every wall.  During that extensive, strenuous period, in which all his
needs were attended to much more than adequately, he never "saw the light of
outside day -- neither the sun nor moon."

Even at the time of the campfire on the Verde, the Army loomed in my future.
Still 18, I finally volunteered. Before I left, Frank carefully painted an
excellent oil portrait of me -- seated and wearing my Levi jacket -- and
caught so very well the stubborn Native nuances in my still-searching face.
"This is for your family," he said, " Especially for your mother."  Pausing,
he then he went on, "in case something  should ever happen."  Again he
momentarily hesitated, "If or whenever."

He was a realist but I've been lucky.

When I came out of the Army, an epoch later, with an honorable release from
a full stint of active duty, much indeed had flowed together in an
irreversibly committed River of No Return.  I was a Red. And I've been one
ever since.

I went on to many, many radical social justice activist things all around
the Land. And I saw Frank, who kept on painting fine stuff, over the many
years to come.  In various news media, he sometimes saw me in all sorts of
colorful and strenuously challenging situations -- and he also heard all
sorts of accounts from my family. And he had no hesitation
about telegraphing me once  from a Montana jail for funds to pay a large
fine for whatever Sin -- and I sent it all and more by return wire.

Frank died in early 1973 at a wide place in the road called Dolan Springs --
far out yonder in extreme Northwestern Arizona and close to the Nevada

The oil painting he did of the earnest 18 year old Native who was struggling so
hard to find his bearings in the high winds turbulence of the very early
'50s hangs now from the wall of our Idaho living room. And it's on our very
large social justice website, Lair of Hunterbear

All of the bear meat -- rich and strong -- every single bite of it, was
eaten by my family and close friends over several years.  When I returned
from the Army, I resumed my eating.  It lasted for a very long time.

And His skull, with feathers attached and the salvaged strips of furry hide
dangling, hangs always wherever I am. It looks down from my wall, right here
in Idaho.  It looks at Frank Little, Cherokee Indian, and  Wobbly martyr
lynched at Butte  by the copper boss thugs in 1917. It gazes at a photo of
Jack Reed at his typewriter.  It looks at a sketch my father gave me in my
baby crib of the Mohawk leader, Joseph Brant [ Thayendanegea] burning out
the Anglo settlers in up-state New York in the 1770s.

And the Skull sees several splendid books from my special Saint, Ignatius of Loyola -- founder of the Jesuits.   It sees my own book, Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism.

They all look at the Essence of the Bear -- the Skull.

And They all go together.  All of Them.

Now and then, I can close my eyes and  smell the greasewood fire and  hear
the Verde in its gorge. For a moment, I see the creased and friendly face
under the old Stetson.

And then, as I Fight On, I draw three circles in the dust and sand.

Hunter Gray  [Hunter Bear] (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´




I'm an Organizer, a damn good one.  I get and keep people together for social justice action.  I've been an organizer for virtually half a century -- all over much of what's called the United States. [I've also been, among other things, a fur trapper, forest fire fighter, soldier, prospector, metal [development] miner, minority hiring and training consultant, college/university professor, writer.]


But my vocation is organizer. I've done it full time for many years indeed.  And then,  in conjunction with other jobs, I've  always continued to organize, somewhere and somehow.


What follows here is my essentially outline conception of the characteristics and qualities of a good and effective organizer who is genuinely on the grassroots job.  That can be a union local; a temporary single-issue effort; permanent single-issue; permanent multi-issue; coalition. It can sometimes be a specialized service center -- which itself some way grows out of a community organization. A Movement is a transcendent widespread feeling, visionary, fueled by many local organizational efforts -- and it, in turn, inspires many local efforts.


Assembling my scattered notes on the matter a few days ago, I spent some very early morning hours today [I rise about 3:30 am] sketching this out on one of my traditional yellow tablets.




1]  The organizer should be at least bright -- alert and sparky.  And hopefully, be intelligent in a depthy and lofty sense -- which characterizes most organizers who really stick with it over the long pull.


2]  The organizer should be relatively "pure" in the moral sense. But not too pure -- because no one, anywhere, wants a sanctimonious conscience hovering about.  Set a good personal example.  Do your recreational thing away from the project.  Wherever you are, avoid all drugs and go easy on alcohol [if you are even into that sensitivity-dulling stuff.]  Remember the old labor adage:  "You can't fight booze and the boss at the same time."  Always a special target, the organizer has to be aware of the consistent danger of frame-ups.


3]  The organizer has to be a person who is thoroughly ethical and honorable.  Among other things, this means fiscal honesty [as soon as possible and whenever feasible, a local committee made up of grassroots people should handle the financial end of things].  And it also means avoiding any  hint of co-optation by the  Adversary.  The organizer should always have at least a representative group of the grassroots people present when meeting with the Other Side -- unless local people clearly approve a unilateral approach.


4]  Formal academic training in the higher ed sense can certainly be useful to any organizer [or, as far as that goes, for anyone]  -- but it isn't absolutely critical.  The organizer, among other attributes, should be fully literate [including computer literate], with finely tuned sensitivities, with one hell of a lot of good sense.  And almost anyone can do much self-teaching.


     Race and social class factors are not usually critical for a good organizer. [I'm a Native American who has worked comfortably with Indians of many tribes, Chicanos, Southern and Northern Blacks, Puerto Ricans, low-income Anglos.  I've also never pretended to have proletarian origins.]


     In a word, be sensitive -- but be yourself.


5]  The organizer absolutely has to be a person who can communicate clearly and well.  Often, this can mean teaching -- without necessarily appearing to do so [many people really don't like a teacher.]

And communication, of course, involves one - to - one on a face - to - face basis, e-mail, phone calls, news announcements and press conferences, mass meetings -- and much more indeed.  It can also involve an organizer helping people with their own unique individual/family problems. And that can help not only the person but will strengthen the overall effort.


6]   The good organizer will have some sort of altruistic ideology:  couched as an integrated, cogent set of beliefs embodying goals and tactics.  After that, there are several choices:


        A]  The organizer can be passive; and the grassroots people can be the ones who make the goals and the tactics. Not so hot.


        B]    The organizer can impose a specific ideology -- including goals and tactics.  Not so hot, either.


        C]    The organizer  can convey a general ideological perspective which the grassroots people can take or not take.  They are not going to want to feel pushed  or hammered into things, but they'll usually take it -- especially if it's sensibly and sensitively "sold".  They certainly may want some time -- and should have it -- to think it all over.  And, soon enough, together the organizer and the people can develop solid goals and effective tactics.  Remember, the organizer brings gifts and élan -- and the grassroots provides at least most of the reality.


7]  The organizer must have a genuinely powerful and enduring commitment.  This has to involve a deep  belief -- a very real belief -- in the People and the Cause.  The organizer has to be able to recognize potential leaders -- and to involve all of the people.  Virtually everyone has something of substantial significance to contribute.  The organizer gives ideas -- but it's ultimately up to the people whom the organizer should never manipulate.  Bona fide organizing [not service center stuff] is about the hardest work there is.  A good organizer is literally wedded to the campaign all the way through.


8]  The organizer has to have a healthy but controllable ego -- with a strong sense of destiny. 


9]  And any really healthy grassroots organizing campaign has to have a Vision -- one that is two dimensional:  Over The Mountain Yonder, and the Day - To - Day needs.  As I have indicated, a movement  which, among other things, is characterized by an idea whose time has come, is a broad-based cause growing out of local community organizational efforts -- in turn inspiring and stimulating new community-based thrusts. To become a bona fide movement, there absolutely has to be the two-dimensional  ethos and active life.  But the purely local effort has to have the same two dimensional ingredients, whether it's part of a movement or by itself.


    [Something with vision only can easily wind up a small, in-grown sect; and something that's only day - to -day can become a tired service program.  And when an organization  has lost its way, factionalism is a sure thing along with the withdrawal of the local people.]


      A good organizer's role in all of this vision-building is extremely critical -- especially at the outset.  But it's also critical  all the way through in conjunction with the growing awareness of the grassroots people. The two-dimensional vision -- Over The Mountain and Day - To -Day -- is the shiny idea that makes people part of a crusade and sometimes a truly great one.  It all gives meaning to life.  And sometimes, if necessary, one will die for it.  Each of these two dimensions stimulates and feeds the other.  A good and truly effective organizer absolutely has to show this interconnection.


 10]  An organizer definitely has to be a person with a tough hide -- not deterred by cruel name-calling, physical beatings, or forced out of the game by injuring bullets or other bloody efforts.  The organizer has to be a person of physical courage.  And an organizer also has to have the courage to take unpopular stands within the developing grassroots effort.


11]  And an organizer cannot live materially in the pretentious sense.  Solidarity --  and also sacrifice!


Semper Fi -


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

In the mountains of southeastern Idaho


It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.


Ned A. Hatathli of Navajo Nation:  Visionary, Trail-Blazer, Mentor
of Mine

Note by Hunter Bear:

I wrote this to the son of Ned Hatathli on March 19  2005.  Beba, who [like all
members of our family] knows very well the setting -- the land and
its people -- commented:  "Very moving, very nicely stated.  No
coincidences here."

Among the many signal contributions of Ned was the founding of Navajo
Community College [now Dine' College] -- the very first of the tribally-
controlled colleges of which there are now about three dozen.



It is very good to hear from you.  Interestingly, just yesterday afternoon I
took down one of my large scrapbook/notebooks, opened it, and saw the front
page and several other pages from the Navajo Times which, with a large photo
of your father on the front page, announced his tragic passing.

Like all really great people, your father did not aspire to "greatness" --
but he was very much a truly great person.  Thus he was, and I say this in a
positive and complimentary way, a very complex person.  I knew some of these
dimensions, as did my father. Of course we did not know them all. If I can
add to your knowledge and that of your sister, then our website and the
whole computer thing [which to me is still very mysterious] will have served
a highly important purpose.

Ned is mentioned a number of times in my writings on our large Lair of
Hunterbear website.  If you need a guide in that vast array of articles,
etc., please call on me -- although, frankly, I have been known to get lost
down in there. [If, in addition to this letter, I can be of any further
help, do not hesitate to contact me.]

My father was the first Native person to be hired as a professor at Arizona
State College, Flagstaff. [And for many, many years he was the only Indian
faculty member there.] His field was fine art.  He had several
college/university degrees although he had never had a day of high school.
He was a fine father and a great artist and a wonderful teacher -- none of
which seemed affected by his slowly increasing drinking.  He was not well
treated by the ASC administration [and Flagstaff itself was hardly a
pervasively friendly town to Indians] and, as the years passed, Dad's basic
circle of close friends included mainly the growing number of Indian
students at ASC and their families.  He helped the students organize a very
active Indian students' association. [In addition to your father, there was
[and these are just a few names], Rebecca Dotson [Navajo] who was later
Rebecca Martgan and is now, I believe, Rebecca Lynch; Calvin Chavez
[Laguna]; Lester Oliver [White Mountain Apache.]

Raymond Nakai, a good friend, was active in the Flagstaff setting at that
point.  I don't believe any of us -- certainly not me -- had ever heard of
Peter MacDonald.

Your father was a highly creative and excellent artist.   He and my father
naturally gravitated toward each other and Dad spent much time with Ned.  At
the same time, your father became an important friend of our family.  We
lived in pretty hostile Sunnyside -- now called East Flagstaff -- but moved
to the far north end of Flagstaff itself.  Many of the Native students and
very much Ned spent a good deal of time there.  My mother, an Anglo, was
working on her Master's degree at ASC, with a focus on multi-cultural
education and very much on what the regional state colleges and universities
should be doing on behalf of Indian education. Her thesis, which broke new
ground, reflected that and our considerable travels in Navajoland. [I can
remember the road to Chinle as a rough road with ours one of the very few
motor vehicles on it.]

Your father was always a good friend of mine.  Even though I was ten or
eleven years younger than he -- I was just starting my Teen years -- he took
me seriously, listened to what I had to say.  At the same time, I -- not
always especially noted for listening carefully -- listened carefully to
him.  My father bought me an old used 44/40 Winchester [Model 1892 lever
action] at Babbitt's hardware.  It had been formerly owned by a sheep herder
and was my prized possession.  He planned to take me deer hunting, but
something interfered on that first day of the Arizona deer season.  I was
quietly devastated. Learning of this, Ned came immediately to our home and
took me himself -- out into the Cinder Hills east and northeast of
Flagstaff.  Although on that one -- we hunted several times together
thereafter -- we got no game, we had a great time.  As we went along that
morning, we encountered and skirted many of the numerous Anasazi ruins, and
he told me what he knew about those old-time people.  As the next few years
passed, he gave me some important insights into Dine' culture which I have
always remembered with much appreciation.

In May, 1951, your father got his degree from ASC and so did my mother.
 I -- and a friend who sometimes lived with us in Flagstaff, Lee Taylor
Benally from the Shiprock area -- both escaped from Flagstaff High School
via our own graduation.  There was a celebration of all of this at our home.
When Lee was killed on 666 in 1955, while home on leave from the Navy, it
was Ned and also Raymond Nakai who called our home and reported this very
sad news.

I remember very clearly your father and Rebecca [then Dotson], and others
sitting in our family living room and sharing some very visionary dreams.
Your father talked often of the need for a genuinely Navajo-controlled
college and Rebecca talked of the need for Navajo-controlled elementary and
high school education.  From your father's vision, of course, came NCC and
from Rebecca's, Rough Rock.

I went on to various things, but always remembered your father with an
especial warmth and great appreciation.  Occasionally, we exchanged letters
and I believe the last time I heard from him was in October, 1970.

My father and Ned kept in very close touch all the way through, and Dad kept
me posted on your father's mounting accomplishments:  work with Navajo
resources and then with Navajo Arts and Crafts [your father asked mine
several times to serve as one of the art judges and Dad was always highly
pleased and honored to do so] -- and then, the highly significant emergence
of Navajo Community College:  materialization of Ned's Great Vision.

When my father called in October 1972 to me [we then lived at Chicago] and
told me of your father's passing, I felt, of course, a tremendous sadness.
A Great Mountain had lifted, high into the sky.  I have always missed your
father very much indeed.

In the spring of 1979,  during a College crisis, a good friend, Peter
Deswood, Jr., then Councilman for Tsaile/Wheatfields, asked me to speak at
length at the Lukachukai Chapter House on my recollections of your father.
His father was Councilman at Round Rock and his sister, Virginia Ami, taught
with me.  Attendance at that Lukachukai meeting was extremely heavy.  I
spoke for well over an hour on the great contributions of your father.

Across from me on the wall was the portrait of Raymond Nakai.

I am now 71 years of age.  In my own life, there have been -- in addition to
my own father -- only two or three adults who played highly significant
roles in my development as a [hopefully] committed and productive human

And one of those was Ned.

Yours, Hunter Gray [John R Salter, Jr]  Pocatello, Idaho

Explanatory Notes:  Arizona State at Flagstaff eventually became Northern
Arizona University. Raymond Nakai was Chairman of Navajo Nation for two
involving 1963 - 1970  and was followed by Peter MacDonald.  I listened to
the two
debate outdoors in 1978 at the edge of Window Rock.  The name Benally is
pronounced Benaali.

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

As I often say, It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to
always remember that, if one lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to
die with grace.


Grassroots organizing is Genesis.  Pure and simple.  It's absolutely
critical in building the bona fide human solidarity required for effective
security, enhancement of one's life and that of the group [large or small]
in the immediate and relatively near future senses [on-going], and in
creating a myriad of currents which ultimately and inevitably flow together
at various levels and with varying breadth -- first as Movement and then as
a conscious part of Many Movements and then into a Mighty Movement, for
genuinely fundamental and radical systemic change.  From my little catechism
on community organizing and related dimensions:
This extensive discussion has now, I'm pleased to say with no false modesty,
been very widely reprinted and both the United States and Canada.

"And any really healthy grassroots organizing campaign has to have a
Vision -- one that is two dimensional: Over The Mountain Yonder, and the
Day - To - Day needs. As I have indicated, a movement which, among other
things, is characterized by an idea whose time has come, is a broad-based
cause growing out of local community organizational efforts -- in turn
inspiring and stimulating new community-based thrusts. To become a bona fide
movement, there absolutely has to be the two-dimensional ethos and active
life. But the purely local effort has to have the same two dimensional
ingredients, whether it's part of a movement or by itself.

[Something with vision only can easily wind up a small, in-grown sect;
and something that's only day - to -day can become a tired service program.
And when an organization has lost its way, factionalism is a sure thing
along with the withdrawal of the local people.]

A good Organizer's role in all of this vision-building is extremely
critical -- especially at the outset. But it's also critical all the way
through in conjunction with the growing awareness of the grassroots people.
The two-dimensional vision -- Over The Mountain and Day - To -Day -- is the
shiny idea that makes people part of a crusade and sometimes a truly great
one. It all gives meaning to life. And sometimes, if necessary, one will die
for it. Each of these two dimensions stimulates and feeds the other. A good
and truly effective Organizer absolutely has to show this interconnection."

My oldest son, John [Beba] made this post last night 9/13/05 -- and it's
quite on
target.  Nothing has much changed for us material possessions-wise -- to
this very point -- but we are incredibly rich in family [including animal
companions] and friends.  Our current house on the far-up edge of Pocatello
[Idaho] has proven to be a wise investment from many perspectives.  And we
do take pride in our extensive collection of Native arts and crafts
[including paintings] sprinkled judiciously and often inconspicuously around
our house as well as an extensive library.

This from Beba and then a bit more from me:

"Speaking as the son of a lifelong organizer, I can say this.  We never
owned a new stick of furniture.  We weren't always allowed to answer the
phone as children because men would be on the other end saying they were
coming to kill us.  It was not uncommon to come home from school and learn
that we'd be moving across the country in a couple weeks.  My point being
that we need to separate different kinds of organizers--the light load trail
rider Shane vs. those comfortably ensconced in their settings.  Great topic,
though!"  -- John Salter

>From Hunter Bear, again:

>From the historic and still very much alive Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers
film of 1953-54, SALT OF THE EARTH, based on the 1950-52 strike against
Empire Zinc in Grant County, New Mexico: Ruth Barnes [Virginia Jencks] on
the life of she and her organizer husband, Frank Barnes [Clinton Jencks]:

"Me, I'm a camp follower -- following this organizer from one mining camp to
another -- Montana, Colorado, Idaho . . ."

I can say I've been a working organizer virtually all of my life -- long
before I married Eldri in 1961.  But since even then, we have lived in 16
different settings all over the 'States. [In a number of those places, I
worked in several different specific areas in the region.]  A good
organizer, sooner or later, works himself/herself out of a job.
Presumptuous as this sounds, see my little catechism:

 "The Organizers, who at the outset may well play a very key role in the
function and affairs of the community organization, must, on a step-by-step
and essentially pragmatic basis, shift increasing responsibility to the
leaders and membership of the group, to eventually:

A] First, insure that the community organization can function effectively
with only occasional involvement by Organizers.

B] And then, that the community organization can function effectively
with no involvement by Organizers to the point that, in addition to
conducting its regular affairs, the group can "organize on its
own" --bringing in new constituents and/or assisting other grassroots people
in adjoining areas in setting up and conducting their own community

For four years, 1969-73, I directed a large-scale grassroots community
organizing project on the turbulent and sanguinary South/Southwest side of
Chicago -- working primarily with Black, Puerto Rican, Chicano people "of
the fewest alternatives".  We had a wide range of enemies: e.g., white
racists -- organized and otherwise, the Daley Machine, Republicans, many
[not all] police.  We were also vigorously opposed by the Back of the Yards
Council, the first of the Saul Alinsky organizing projects.  That dinosaur
richly exemplified two major organizing flaws: [1] top down organizing and
[2] the fact that some organizers stayed on and refused to relinquish the

For a discussion of all of this, see my: Chicago Organizing:  Tough,
Cat-Clawing and Bloody

And, one final time lest it's gotten lost in my verbiage:
The Internet can help -- help -- mobilize.  But it can never accomplish
fundamentally real organizing.

Real organizing -- the grassroots stuff -- is tough and usually tedious and
always the hardest work there is.

Keeps the Real Organizer usually thin and always happy.

In Solidarity -

Hunter [Hunter Bear]

Hi John:  [from Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark]  9/14/05

Thank you for this beautiful piece on the role and function of the
organizer.  We do ever need to be reminded that hard work brings forth great

The flood tides are rising and its high time that the organizers get busy
bringing the community the information and tools needed to get to high
ground . We can and must do it, if we are to score a victory against
imperial capitalism world wide.


>From Colia to her list of colleagues:  9/14/05

Hi Everyone:
I received this note from Hunter Gray Bear (John Salter). Hunter Bear was my
professor at Tougaloo College and one of the sharpest organizers in both the
southern civil rights movement and labor movement in the USA. He agreed to
serve as advisor to a the newly organized Jackson, Ms NAACP North Jackson
Youth Council in 1961. This was no small decision. Under his tutorledge and
guidance and with the oversight of Medgar Wylie Evers, the North Jackson
NAACP Youth Council would produce a mass movement and the most successful
boycott of a downtown district in the deep south. Only, Ida B Wells boycott
of Memphis in the 19th century can compare. Jackson. Ms' downtown folded and
has never reopened with its string of shops and department stores. This was
no easy work and like Medgar and so many others Hunter Bear was targeted for
death. He was seriously wounded by the southern racists in a freak car
accident (point of death), beaten a number of times in demonstrations but
refused to yield even from pressure within the struggle. Those years are
detailed in a book by Hunter Bear (John R Salter) entitled: Jackson,
Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism. The book is out
of print, but should be in most college libraries. Today, Hunter Bear has
returned to his native land in the West and to his native roots to continue
organizing and building grass roots struggle and a new generation of
youthful organizers.

Hear him for he worthy to be heard.

Colia L. Clark





This trip has often been tough.  Sometimes there've been resting places and easy slopes.  More often than not, however, it's been thick brush and rough country generally and sometimes long lonesome desert stretches.  The mountains -- the Great Challenges -- have been with skill and shrewdness and hard work -- surmountable.  Sometimes fun, at least in retrospect.  Family and friends are absolutely indispensable at every point in the trail -- but one must always be prepared to function effectively as a Lone Bear. The greatest dangers have been the swamps, especially the subtle ones with their Machiavellianism and downright malevolence pooling and trickling and flowing -- frequently camouflaged by the grasses and cattails and weeds of hypocrisy; and their sloughs of soft mud providing permanent miring, their bogs of quicksand delivering a cordial fall into oblivion.  Thank God I've avoided the swamps, save for the peripheries; and thank God indeed that I have always kept my eyes on the Mountains and Far Beyond.  [Hunter Bear]

It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one
lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.  [Hunter Bear]


Messages Continued


Please add my name to the list of folks wishing Hunter the Best-

Steve Rossignol



Hunter Bear is a friend, comrade and inspiration to us in the socialist group SOLIDARITY and our journal AGAINST THE CURRENT.

To ATC in particular, he has contributed stimulating essays on such topics as reparations for slavery; his encounters with "a rattlesnake friend;" and the handling of racist speech on campus, to which his trenchant response was "Don't Censor Anything." In each case his thinking reflects a deep synthesis of his Native American heritage and Civil Rights organizing experience. To every question and encounter he brings a profoundly libertarian, revolutionary and socialist perspective, in the very best sense of each of these often-abused terms.

The indomitable spirit, courage and above all dignity with which he has confronted his present illness is no surprise to anyone who knows of his life and work. He continues to inspire and educate all of us, and always will. Venceremos!

-David Finkel and Dianne Feeley, for Solidarity and Against the Current




Wow! A couple of years ago when Ed Hamlett said he was putting me in touch with somebody with "grit" (he used the quotation marks), I had no idea what that meant. Well, here we are; must be "grit." Actually it's great. Tremendously so to get to know you, even in the less than entirely adequate medium which is, though, entirely better than not having met at all. If Susana and I weren't leaving to drive to Chiapas in a day or two, I think we'd be leaving to drive to Pocatello.

Your amigo,


The historic first picketing in the history of downtown Jackson:  December 12  1962.  We were immediately arrested by almost 100 Jackson police officers.  This launched the extremely effective boycott of downtown Jackson which grew, in time, into the massive Jackson Movement.  In addition to Eldri and me, the arrested pickets were Ms. Bette Anne Poole, Mr. Walter Mitchell, Mr. Ronald Mitchell, and Mr. Rupert Crawford -- all Tougaloo students of mine.  In that, and subsequent cases, we were very capably represented by Jess Brown of Jackson and Bill Kunstler of New York City.  [From Lair of Hunterbear.]


1111 W. St. Mary's Rd., #720
Tucson, AZ 85745-2480
18 February 2004

Dear Hunter Gray,

Is it proper for one to write a fan letter to a friend? Proper or not, that's what I'm doing. My admiration for you and your worthy life is immense, and I cherish our friendship that has spanned more than forty years.

I remember the day we met. It was in about 1960; maybe 1959. You and your friends and fellow ASU students Tony and Bill knocked on the door of the house I shared with Barbara and Vern Elfbrandt. You were in Tucson to picket William R. Matthews, publisher (editor?) of the ARIZONA DAILY STAR and on the Board of Trustees of the Arizona University system. My memory is faulty, but I think the issue may have been compulsory ROTC. And we have been comrades and friends-and in frequent or not-so-frequent contact- from that day 'til the present one.

I went off to teach at Shaw University in North Carolina, and you and Eldri went off to Tougaloo College in Mississippi. We were in contact by mail during those times when we both were active participants in the civil rights struggles of that era. Your experiences (and Eldri's) in Jackson are chronicled in your wonder-full book about the Jackson Movement.

Badly Beaten/Bloodied John Salter/Hunter Gray

Then you and Eldri moved to Raleigh where you worked for SCEF and labored in the challenging vineyards of eastern North Carolina. I was still teaching at Shaw. You and Eldri and Maria lived in Rochester Heights, and I enjoyed many an excellent meal at your table and many hours of memorable conversation. Those conversations often included two young SNCC workers, Doug and _______, who led a voter registration drive in Raleigh during the academic year 1963-1964.

And I well remember the conference (in Rocky Mount, I think) that you organized in about 1966. My role at the conference was to lead the singing. The principal speaker was Ella Baker who delivered a stirring speech to the conference participants who were also her "homefolks." Without using a single cliched phrase, she condemned the capitalist economic system, affirmed all the immediate demands of the movement, but told the assembled crowd-many of them sharecroppers-that real freedom wouldn't come until THEY were in charge of their economic and political lives. I wonder if that speech was recorded.

You and Eldri moved on to many other locations and many other struggles. So did I. We kept in touch through letters and phone calls. Did you ever take a breather? I doubt that you did. You kept your hands on the plow, always in the thick of things, always with total dedication to the cause of human freedom and equality and to peace with justice. I raise my glass TO you, and I raise my fist WITH you. Yours has been a life to celebrate and to emulate.

Tu amigo,

Clyde Appleton



I am writing this the old-fashioned way - on my manual typewriter- remembering how reluctant you were to switch over to the computer world.

Whichever way you choose to communicate, we all know you've never been at a loss for words (backed by rather considerable knowledge, I admit.)

But the two bits of conversation I cherish the most are of a different sort. You expound, you exhort, you teach- but not those times.

You'll recall that afternoon in Jackson back in '63, just after the final exams. Annie and I were trying to get a bite to eat when you happened by, and joined me at the counter. There seemed to be some sort of general disturbance going on around us, and your conversational gambit was along the lines: "Well, what do you think of the exam I gave you?" Yes, ANYTHING to take our minds off being the object of a riot!

The other fine choice of words came in the mid '90s in Grand Forks. I was headed south from two weeks on a river in Manitoba. The two local Dene in our small rafting party had been (at the risk of serious understatement) wary and circumspect in their dealings with us. You greeted me with: "Well, Joan, what brings you here?"

I replied: "I needed to be around some friendly Indians"

You came back with: "What was the matter? Did they think you were an anthropologist?" (Glad to report friendships replaced suspicions as you predicted.)

You're always right on the mark. And you and Eldri- all the family, really- have always been there for all of us. Thank you.

Peace, Joan (T or M)



Dear Brother,

I love you directly and enormously, and celebrate you as a person. I greatly admire your extraordinary, life long and still very much on-going work on behalf of people "with the least options".

In the deepest personal and fraternal solidarity through time,

-Tim McGowan
Rochester, N.Y.



All I have to say is what I always say: Hang in there, Hunter. We need you. Love, Steve

Steven F. McNichols
268 Bush Street, #3602
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503
Fax/Voicemail: 415-651-9999



I've been keeping track via John. I miss our occasional encounters between Merrifield and Twamley. Too bad we're so far apart now-apart geographically but not psychologically or politically, which is what counts, of course.

Best wishes.

Bill Borden

'A cucumber is bitter.' Throw it away. 'There are briars in the road.' Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, 'And why were such things made in the world?'

Marcus Aurelius
William Borden
(Until April 15, 2004:)
7996 S. FM 548
Royse City, TX 75189
(April 16, 2004 - September 30, 2004:)
10514 Turtle River Lake Rd NE
Bemidji, MN 56601


I met Hunter Gray in 1987. I was a new graduate student in the creative writing program at the University of North Dakota, way far from home (Pennsylvania Dutch country), returning to school after 6 years away from formal study, and had noticed in the catalogue a bit of a brag about how good the Indian Studies program was there. I was a hopeless liberal white-chick feminist at the time, with a lingering, hippie-era fascination with "Native Americans." I thought it might be cool to study something other than "just" literature, including such anti-native lit as Twain's Roughing It, so I enrolled as an auditor in Professor Salter's Introduction to Indian Studies. The following semester I would audit his course, Federal Indian Policy.

I'm now a university instructor myself, and have been for these 17 years. And I want to tell you that I learned something incredibly important from being the student of Hunter Gray. I didn't learn it from his lectures; I didn't learn it from sitting in his office for over an hour per stretch, as he gave generously of his time and wisdom to this white-chick; I didn't learn it from reading his book "Jackson, Mississippi"; and I didn't learn it from reading his many electronic postings on current events. All of these things were important, but these things were not the most instructional elements of his many contributions. The most instructional element of his being is...his being.

I was stunned by his patience with students. Stunned. You wouldn't believe the shit coming out of the mouths of some of those undergraduates. (Well, maybe you would.) "Indians" were lazy, took government handouts while blaming the government for their problems, trashed their own reservations, would walk 20 miles off the reservation for a drink but wouldn't walk a mile for a job - you get the drift. It sickened me. So there I'd be sitting, sickened, and there Hunter would be at the head of the class. Arms across his chest, rocked back on his heels, nodding his head. Nodding. Then, very quietly, he would ask a question, a carefully framed question that would in and of itself destroy the rhetoric of the racist. Or, red-faced and sickened, I would raise my hand (or another sickened student would), and he would just as quietly call on me. And I would express my rage at what I heard. And he would rock back on heels. Nodding. Just nodding. No differently at me. In no way did he encourage me to believe that we were allies, even though I knew, from sitting in his office and reading his work, that we tended to think similarly (though my thinking was much less developed than his was then - and now).

I still have trouble with anger in the classroom. Students still say (I'm sorry, it's true) horrific things. Some days I still feel the rage rising. But on my better days, I think of Hunter. Nodding. In his writing as well, he is never less than cordial, even when he has been attacked ad hominem, viciously at times. He can be outraged occasionally, yes, but always (I think) his preference is to treat the ideas with respect. Ideas are dangerous things. Like the guns I know Hunter enjoys (he and I differ on that issue, as well, and have done so in friendly terms), ideas are things to handle carefully. You can't just pop off a few rounds and make an idea go away. Most ideas don't just pop miraculously and uniquely into the heads of their expressors. Most of them are planted there. So you work the ideas, with care and respect. Nodding. Questioning (digging) quietly. And they go.

I owe Hunter another debt, and that is his encouragement of my own writing, which stretched further and further left as the years went on. The further left it got, the more encouragement it required, as resistance among publishers and editors grew stronger. He was always ready with a pep talk. He believed the work would come out, and now it is coming out, with his blurb on the back cover. He's taught me that positive thinking - and that endless patience - is a better way to go.

I'll end with this: Hunter's real legacy is his family. I regret that I've never met his (doubtless sainted) wife, but his oldest son, John, was my closest peer in graduate school, a brilliant and intuitive writer then and now.

There was one odd semester when I was taking a class with Hunter, was enrolled in a class with John, and was "teaching" John's brother Peter in a creative writing class (I say "teaching" because I led a dreadful class that semester - Peter was far wiser than I, and I'm sure I taught him nothing). For a moment I felt like I was part of a family, 2000 miles from my own family. Not embraced - I would never claim any of them as friends. I never earned that. But I was accepted. Nodded at.

Few people have taught me more just by being who they are. I want my teacher to know that he has effected change, that change is happening, and that with patience it will continue to happen. Not least because of his having been. His being.

Kass Fleisher
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4240
Normal IL 61790-4240
309/438-3728 (office voicemail)

Author of The Bear River Massacre and the Making of History (SUNY Press, 2004).

Explores how a pivotal event in U.S. history-the killing of nearly 300 Shoshoni men, women, and children in 1863-has been contested, forgotten, and remembered.



John Salter




A Little Bolstering


Except for his refusal to be walked on by any boss, my father was never like Abner Snopes, but like that peculiar family in Faulkner's "Barn Burning," we were always loading up the wagon with our battered furniture and moving, moving, moving. We lived in North Carolina, we lived in Vermont; we lived in Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Seattle, and Rochester, New York. We lived on the Navajo Nation, we lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Our houses were never too grand, never too squalid. Not much survived the moves but our family, and, of course, the steady parade of visitors, people in rags and suits, people coming to see Hunter, people in need-in need of money, advice, food, sanctuary from the feds, respite from self-destruction; people with plans, problems, with energy that could benefit from focus.

Sometimes they needed gifts. Hunter was, still is, notorious for his lifelong giveaway ceremony. It was not uncommon to watch him rise from his chair, excuse himself from some sad visitor, and come back a few moments later to hand over an item he himself might have just received, (from us! for Christmas!) a hunting knife, or perhaps a gleaming briar pipe, because the guy needed, as Hunter would say, "a little bolstering." They always left with something -- a plan, a full stomach, sobriety, a few dollars, a ride, a bandaged bullet wound, a brighter tomorrow.

No doubt that when Hunter is on his deathbed, waiting for a cosmic breeze to carry him to Sycamore Canyon, a few stragglers will appear in the doorway, good people in need of some help. And he will help them. He will, even if only to use his last earthly breath to wish them well.

John Salter
Glyndon, Minnesota

John Salter: "Letter on Hunter" to the Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi -- Posted July 16  2005

Some time ago I sent the following letter about my father to the Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi's premier newspaper.  Haven't heard a peep from them, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Mississippi, I’m sorry to report that you have been forsaking one of your champions.


You may or may not remember my father.  In Jackson in the early 1960s he was known variously as John Salter, agitator, the “mustard man” at the Woolworth’s sit-in, friend and colleague of Medgar Evers, Tougaloo professor, target for police clubs (successful), target for Klan bullets (unsuccessful), organizer of the Jackson boycott, race traitor, firebrand, rabble-rouser, hero. 


My father went on from Jackson to fight the good fight in North Carolina, Chicago, New York, Arizona, Iowa, Washington state, North Dakota, and elsewhere.  Now it isn’t the Klan out to get him, but Systemic Lupus.  Aptly taking the Latin name for wolf, Lupus is a chronic, usually fatal disease in which the body’s organs wage war against each other.  My father is a warrior but this is a tough one to win.  Some days his feet are planks.  Some days his hands are rendered useless claws.  But his soul and mind are strong and even in this state he’s doing what he can to leave the world in better shape than when he arrived. 


I was with my father in 1979 when he spoke at a Civil Rights retrospective at Millsaps.  I was sitting in the audience next to Professor Jim Silver who, along with hundreds of others, gave my father a standing ovation.  Silver needed a cane to get to his feet but that didn’t stop him from paying homage to this man.  Unfortunately, for a quarter of a century we haven’t heard much from your neck of the woods. 


A few years ago, my father changed his last name to Gray, the name his father was born with but held for only a short time before being adopted by the Salters. Mississippians, perhaps more than people in other parts, will understand the importance of honoring one’s ancestry.  And, I hope, you will understand the importance of paying tribute to those who helped make your history.


You can learn much more about my father and his role in Mississippi by visiting his extensive website,, or by reading his book, Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism.





John R. Salter III

Glyndon, Minnesota





Your father's contribution to changing the history of segregation in the
South is like so many others apparently regarded as a postscript, while
others are routinely honored for the more publicised efforts. That you
treasure and acknowledge his role, and that he has continued to contribute
on behalf of marginalized peoples in this nation is not something that can
be taken away. A generation, who has no idea of the sacrifices involved, has
replaced that of our own. I remember hearing from a family friend back in
the sixties, Norman Walsh, of the efforts in the South for freedom and

The eagle continues to fly above your household and will continue to bring
with it the source of insight and strength needed to keep your family strong
and keep Hunter a vital contributor to the human experience. The bear
nurtures her relatives and provides the womb of the Mother Earth for
comfort. Hunter's journey has brought those who have touched it in any small
way a demonstration that human beings can demonstrate their ability to live
with the other animal nations in a manner that honors the understandings of
the elders and the ancestors. There is no other greater possible
understanding that any one individual can make in his journey on this Earth.
In the spirit of Tashunka Witco, Hunter's spirit continues to sing the songs
in all inipis and traditional cermonies. His  work among those similarly
afflicted demonstrates the compassion and strength of his journey and his
unalterable connection with all his relatives. No one can ask for a clearer
demonstration of the spirit that lives within the heart of Hunter.

I do not speak for others, nor do I attempt to present a balanced overview
of your father's life journey. I say simply that the world is a better place
because of his boldness, his integrity and his inner strength. Hunter, keep
up the work that you have devoted so much of your life. And keep within you
the resolve to speak your truth that others might understand the experience
of your journey. You have experienced the view from many levels and its
reward lies in the satisfaction of your own integrity and the honor which
you bring to the ancestors.

Mitukuye Oyasin.

Mato Ska



    Pete on the Tribute and its people -- to Hunter

    Christ, there's a lot here. I tried to make my computer do a word count --
    just so I could have some indication of the volume; at work, we're always
    gauging column inches -- but my Idaho-built Micron was overwhelmed. Too many
    words to count, apparently. So many kind words.

    And this only scratches the surface. If everybody you touched directly were
    to send just a few sentences, the site would never load. And if everybody
    you touched indirectly stopped what they were doing, even for a moment, to
    give thanks, the earth would wobble on its axis from the sudden shift.

    Anyway, it's truly touching.


    Note by Hunter Bear: 5/03/05
    My editor son strips away my Saintliness and Venerableness with the hot wind and fire of journalistic ruthlessness.  [Actually and privately, I kind of like his assessment. Of course, Clint's politics are not mine -- but, aside from that . . .]
    From Peter [Mack]:
    This is coming out of nowhere, but I've decided you're the toughest son of a bitch I know.
    I rented "The Outlaw Josey Wales" tonight, and I can't watch Clint Eastwood without seeing you. There's a physical resemblance -- the coolness, the speaking through gritted teeth (especially when he's pissed), the unwavering gaze. But there's something mental, too. His characters have resolve. They're unflappable. . .
    I could say the same thing about you. I'm glad I've never had to stand on the other side of the negotiating table from you.
    New topic: The Wordcraft honor is great -- but news of your elderliness is greatly exaggerated.
    Later -



    One of the truly precious gifts in the world is to have a great teacher.

    Thank you Hunter for all that you have taught us.

    We make our road by walking on it.

    May the road rise to meet you on your journey,

    And may the wind always be at your back.

    ¡Si, se puede !

    Duane Campbell,

    Sacramento, California




    Most people do not have such vivid memories of a family friend he only knew when he was barely five years old. But you certainly were worth remembering, not just for your important role in the freedom struggle going on in Mississippi at that time, but simply for who you were.

    I was so pleased to have gotten to reconnect with you in Idaho last year after so long and to learn of your ongoing work for peace and justice, your recognition of the contributions from those in the past and your faith in a better future. In so many ways, you have always epitomized the slogan, "Love life enough to struggle!"

    Stephen Zunes
    Santa Cruz, CA





    Hunter Gray is going through a time that I suppose we will all have to go through, and what he is experiencing is an intensely personal thing - even as the rest of us talk about the burning issues that affect the rest of society. I know that Hunter would have it no other way.

    But most of all I am struck by the way Hunter talks about his disease - it is "our" lupus, "our" battle. Hunter is keenly aware that his family is as much a part of the battle as he is, as are his doctors, caregivers, and all of the people he has drawn sustenance from in the course of life's many struggles - hopefully including those of us he has met only "virtually" in the last few years. Never does Hunter waver from the conviction that he does not face what very well could be his final fight alone. Everything about the man is about collective struggle, and the hope and sustenance drawn from other people. How ironic it is that at that most personal moment, when he is staring Death itself in the face, that he gives us some of the best illustration of what fine human beings were produced by that Beloved Community which he helped to shape and which also shaped him.




    Just my hands can't build a better world,


    Just your hands can't build a better world,


    But if two and two and fifty make a million,


    We'll see that day come 'round,


    We'll see that day come 'round.

    John Lacny


    Dear Hunter,

    I'm very sorry it's taken so unforgivably long for me to write this. 
    Although you and I have, on occasion, electronically butted heads, I've
    never ceased to appreciate and admire the work you've done and the
    sacrifices you've made in the struggle for social justice-- and for
    socialism. You're an inspiring human being and I am glad to know you,
    even if only from afar.

    In solidarity,
    Jason Schulman
    Brooklyn, NY



    Dear Hunter, perhaps only living with grace allows one to prepare to die with grace. And the hope that the good we do continues.

    Your Jackson, Mississippi colleague - Steve Rutledge - of Tougaloo and NAACP Youth Council - is being honored this week by induction into the (West Virginia) Governor's second Civil Rights Day Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

    He's continued a life of social justice activism here in West Virginia. His nomination quoted extensively from your book about Jackson: John R. Salter,Jr. "Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism.",Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, 1987.

    Stay brave, John/Hunter.


    Joan C. Browning
    P.O. Box 1147
    Lewisburg WV 24901-1147



    Let me say first that I am glad you were born. There have been many rewards for me since I caved and got on the Internet in 1999. Meeting you has been one of those rewards. Your voice on the wind is not empty, simply because it is a voice that comes from a life that has had a remarkable consistency. I salute your life and I take value from your voice. I know you directly from your Redbadbear discussion group and from your Lair on the net. And that gives me enough to add to the life that is my contribution, as best I can.

    And I salute the family gathered around you in this time as well as all the friends, comrades, fellow travelers, supporters, and yes even the opponents who respect your strength and resiliency in the struggle to build and be true to the movement for peace, justice and equality.

    A life lived with grace indeed. Solidarity!

    Edward Pickersgill
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada



    I've never met Hunter except on line. A curmudgeon. Not predictable. Radical. Full of himself. With good reason.

    A man who understands cats.

    A man of courage.

    A breaker of orthodox lines, which is terribly refreshing and desperately needed in a movement so often more concerned with what is politically correct than with what is true. A man who sought his own roots and returned to them.

    A man who has left a record, is still leaving it, charting his own path, and still charting it. I expect he will be hiking the mountain trails when spring comes. I hope for many springs.

    I'm sorry our paths have not crossed except in this most impersonal way. May he live long and prosper in the way he has prospered over the years - by having chosen the right side in the struggle and staying with it.


    David McReynolds



    I have known John for many years. We would have long enjoyable conversations in his office at the University of North Dakota. His office was always dark. But streaks of sunshine would come through the large windows in his office. I enjoyed sitting around with John ripping the established order at the university.

    I also enjoyed times with John at his home. That is when I met the other members of his clan. I especially formed a friendship with his son John. I must say I enjoy the company of both gentlemen. John the professor gave me a lot of support through my college years and I will never forget it! I can remember discussing my trip to Russia with John. We sat on the front porch of his house discussing the history of the Soviet Union which is now dissolved.

    But my friendship with John and his family will never dissolve. You will always be in my thoughts and in my heart.

    Remember the bear hunt and the special bond we share from the hunt. You know the feeling while you hunt the bear. I guess I share that moment with you. Take care and fight on. Remember, the saving of the world business is a long and hard business!

    See Ya, JER

    Grand Forks, North Dakota



     My repeated urging of Hunter, long before the lupus, that he put his remarkable life, and very considerable writing ability, into the form of an autobiography to inform and fascinate the widest possible public, and to inspire youth of all ethnicities, is the clearest expression of my personal respect and admiration for him.

    The extraordinarily large, for me, donation I made last week to the Hardship Fund for the 70,000 Los Angeles supermarket workers on strike for five months, money taken from my own potential nursing-care needs, makes anything but a token contribution to the fund for him insulting. Much as Hunter rightfully values his own life and that of others, his life story is proof beyond question that he values the mass of suffering humanity, particularly workers, above that of any individual.

    William Mandel




    Though we have not met personally, I feel we have been friends a long time. As a Marxist and Quaker who works with indigenous peoples and who traverses the materialist/ spiritual fault lines all the time, I feel a kinship to you for your approach to seeking the truth, in whatever wondrous form it comes.

    I welcome your activism broadened by history and experience, all of which you share with us. I am looking forward to visiting you in Idaho with conversations about indigenous rights, unions, the civil rights movement, the Wobblies, and Lord knows what else.

    Take care.

    Ed Nakawatase


    1501 Cherry Street

    Philadelphia, PA 19102


    29.  THERESA ALT

     Greetings from still-snow-covered Ithaca, NY, where we're trying to raise the state minimum wage.

    Theresa Alt


    30.  VIVIAN E. BERG

     My friendship with HunterBear goes back to when my son Andrew Braunberger was a student, and Mr. Salter a teacher, at UND. What a remarkable, caring human being! I have appreciated (read: treasured) him in both the personal sense for my family and in his wider endeavors.

    Best wishes, HunterBear! Vivian E. Berg, Mandan, ND



    I first came across Hunter Bear in the course of scanning in old issues of The American Socialist, a magazine that ran from 1954 to 1959 and that was edited by Bert Cochran and Harry Braverman. They had left the Trotskyist movement for many of the same reasons I had. They thought that a more inclusive and less sectarian approach was needed. The magazine went out of its way to publish a wide range of opinion, from W.E.B DuBois to Isaac Deutscher.

    (Archives of the American Socialist can be read at:

    One of the articles dates from September 1957 and is titled "Navaho Indians: Oil and Mining Buzzards Hover Overhead". It was written by John Salter Jr., known as Hunter Bear today. Since I had also become very involved with indigenous struggles around the same time I had discovered The American Socialist, it was all the more satisfying to see the two strands coming together.

    Just around the time that I had completed the scanning project, John Salter Jr. showed up the Marxism mailing list I moderate. He would soon adopt the Hunter Bear name we are all familiar with. I can say that his presence on the list has been one that has made an indelible mark. Not only does he have a keen awareness of indigenous issues, he can tie them to the larger fabric of American radicalism in a unique fashion.

    I think I speak for the 500 subscribers of Marxmail when I say that we regard him as a treasure of our movement. - Louis Proyect




    We met on the Internet, on a raggedy listserv where you growled at your interlocutor for the sin of being too something, or not enough of something else, or for being spine-challenged or for just being wrong. I called you Hunter Bugbear, thinking how clever am I. You wrote back that I was hardly the first to use the gag, that you'd been called Hunter Chipmunk and much worse, and would I please not do it again. Given a medium in which flaming, raging and over-the-top pinheadedness are common methods for communicating, your reply was comradely and refreshing-charming, even. This was a guy worth knowing.

    Thus began an exchange-on the big and little things, from thoughts on Jackson, Miss. and Big Bill Haywood to photos of half-bobcats and city felines-that my kids and I cherish. On your Website, you write with a sense of place and connection that city folk like me can only approximate. As close as I feel to the rhythms of New York, it doesn't match your rendering of a perfectly still summer night in your hills. Now, please get better so you can follow through on your offer to me, and to how many hundreds of others, to host a visit to you and yours.

    Yours for the revolution

    Michael Hirsch

    655 East 14 Street

    NYC 10009


    `And these words shall then become
    Like oppression's thundered doom
    Ringing through each heart and brain,
    Heard again - again - again-
    `Rise like Lions after slumber
    In unvanquishable number-
    Shake your chains to earth like dew
    Which in sleep had fallen on you-
    Ye are many - they are few.'
    -Shelley, "The Mask of Anarchy:

    Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester" [1819]655 East 14 Street

    NYC 10009


    33.  ED KING

     Hello to the Mustard Man, my comrade, brother, and guide. Way back in 1963 the white racist newspaper here in Mississippi attempted to mock you with this reference to the mustard marks added to the ketchup smears and blood stains that covered you and the other freedom fighters at the Woolworth's lunch counter. But your friends all know this as a title of honor.

    The newspaper tried to damn you further by saying you were moving on to North Carolina to work on black voter registration with some of the most dangerous persons the press ever heard of- Carl Braden and Mrs. Ella Baker. Of course there was red baiting. But you were not retreating; you never retreat. You were moving on to the next battlefield. You are always ready to fight the good fight and to work hand in hand with those who join the cause.

    As well as inspiring and training new recruits you have always worked with older veterans of earlier campaigns like Ella Baker who link our struggles to the long line of those in the change the world business.

    Today I talked with Ms Myrlie Evers who is in Jackson for a Tougaloo College board meeting. She, of course, asked where you were and how you were doing. I told her of the battle with lupus. She was shocked but said to tell you how concerned she is and how much she remembers and appreciates your friendship with Medgar Evers and your courage, compassion, and common sense.

    A few days ago I talked with Ben and Doris Allison, more old Jackson Movement veterans, to whom I report the Internet news from Idaho. As you know, they love you almost as if you were their son. What a wonderful extended family you have!

    God bless and preserve you all.

    Rev. Edwin King
    Assoc. Prof., Physical Therapy
    School of Health Related Professions
    University of Mississippi Medical Center


    Jackson lunch counter.  The three sit-ins are covered with sugar and salt -- and JRS/HG is also covered with ketchup and much blood.


    (Notes: Written on back: "Left to right: John Salter, Jr. (who donated photo); Joan Trumpauer and Anne Moody. Tougaloo students. Moody authored Coming of Age in Mississippi. Salter was dubbed by the Jackson press as "The mustard man" after the incident because the crowd had dumped mustard and ketchup on him.")



    I don't remember that we met, back in the day. But your lyrical prose, on line, has enriched these latter days. Thank you. And thank you for keeping the faith: Your Way.

    Sheila B. Michaels

    5510 Waterman Blvd., #102

    St. Louis, Missouri 63112




     I started to write this several times, sometimes with Paeans to the life he has lived, others mimicking his unmimickable style of anecdotal stories, and many others. But the truth is, finding words for Hunter Gray are nearly impossible.

    Hunter came onto the Internet as a cyber newbie, and I confess having never heard of him. One of the first email lists he joined was one of the lists I ran (and continue to run), a list called Leninist International. The fact that this life-long wobbly saw no contradiction in making common cause with Leninists, in hindsight, states as many volumes about the man as the volumes of Lenin's works he owns (near his computer and his half-bobcat, if memory serves me correctly).

    Hunter, of course, did then what he has always done no doubt: He told stories. I was, as a young man in mid-twenties, impressed by the names of his peers: Medgar Evers being the first that caught my eye. But none of the stories made him to be much more than a great valuable resource, I knew little about his own character. That is, until two events changed that.

    L-I, to which Hunter was subscribed, was having difficulties. I broadcast this on the list, looking for volunteer help. But what I received was something else entirely. Hunter quietly sent me a message off list "Macdonald, I can pledge one hundred dollars". Of course, Hunter must have since learned that such monetary kindness is not needed on email lists, but the sheer willingness to do so in order to keep communication between activists and workers advocates is vintage Hunterbear.

    The second story is far more to me. I was on another list, debating the merits of direct action in the so-called 'anti-globalization' movement. The discussion had as much heat as the movement in general did, as it took place in the wake of the Italian police murdering young Carlo Giuliani. The debate took place between myself and people who I had previously been very cyber-comradely and friendly with. The rancour reached very near deafening levels. As politics began to take a back seat, bridges started burning and comrades were fact becoming bitter enemies, Hunter (who has seen it all many times before, we can all be so assured) intervened with the following:

    It's Deep Breath Time on this List. We're all on the same side and we all need to stick together.


    Obviously, I was not at Genoa. I'm certainly not going to attack or even criticize any sincere and bona fide protester in that or in comparable situations. And I sure as hell condemn the police and the para-militarists and the capitalists.

    Like all discussion lists, this one can sometimes get a little too agreeable and laid-back. But right now it's obviously forest fire time - and 'way past the time to cool things down. I'll make the same suggestion that I made the other day on another list: come to Butte and I'll buy everyone the first three rounds of drinks.

    Solidarity - Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

    This was coming from the man who had more experience than most of us ever will. His words about sticking to what really mattered were among many more examples of what makes Hunter Gray an indisputable institution.

    That, and how much he loves his one-half bobcat.

    Hunter, having never met you to your face, you are still a great comrade, friend, fighter and human being. We all need you badly, and are so thankful to see you getting better and writing about the mountains, the working class and the struggle. Because Lupus will always run a second place finish, in your blood the struggle comes first.

    All due respect.

    And that's a lot,

    Macdonald John Enoch Stainsby.


    36.  DAN HITTNER

     hunterbear: aloha. although i have not known you long, and only via the net, your generosity of spirit and infectious call to engagement are both irresistible and compelling. Indeed, you have been one of the key motivators for me to narrow my focus and take more action.

    In turn, may our mother's beloved wooded paths, and the ongoing dramas of our two-legged brothers and sisters continue to give you strength and keep you much, much longer upon this plane. You are a hunter with a great heart.

    As always, in solidarity, peace and best wishes, d

    dan hittner

    brooklyn, ny



    Love is the answer.


    Peace is the power.


    Enjoy the chaos.


    Forgive and live.


    Peace....Love....Live long and prosper. Aho!



    I know Hunter Gray through the Internet and have enjoyed corresponding with him, exchanging Native American stories and suchlike, but the last time I saw him face to face was in MS during the Freedom Summer in 1964.

    He was REV John Salter then, a minister of the Lutheran persuasion, standing there defying cops and Klan because he could do no otherwise, God help him, amen. He and his fellow Tougaloo chaplain Ed King were two of the bravest Christian ministers this unbeliever ever met. He is a credit to the human race and has done more than most of us to deserve the tremendous outpouring of friendship that he is getting now. I hope his pipe stays lit for a long time.

    In comradeship,

    Quinn Brisben

    Editor's note: Hunter was a faculty member at Tougaloo, not a Chaplain, and was never a member of the clergy; this error should not diminish from Brisben's warm tribute.

    Quinn replies: Anyhow, he was a "minister" of some kind, and I knew him in the company of Ed King on the Tougaloo campus. He spent a lot more time in MS than I did in those days, which made him fairly brave.


    38.  BARRY COHEN

    It's not easy to cast a long shadow in the virtual world.

    But from the first moment I encountered Hunter's writings, I've been more than a little awed at how he does it - as he seems to have done pretty much everything in his life - in such an original, inimitable, way. Sometimes scrappy and irascible, often generous and comradely.

    Everything grounded in hard struggles - biographical and historical -- but woven into almost transcendental musings.

    Who else could have created the Lair, embedded securely in this new and universal space, decorated it in rich historical color, and so imbued it with the spirit of "full, unyielding and enduring commitment to our Native American people and to the cause of genuine social justice for all Humanity"?

    I've enjoyed every bit of Hunter lore, taken strength and inspiration from it on many occasions, and passed along some gems from it to others, through Portside and other strands in our social justice web.

    Keep struggling, friend. Keep writing and inciting. The world needs your brave spirit.

    Barry Cohen



    Here's a classic civil rights photograph for posting at Hunter's tribute site with the caption below.

    This photograph of three Houston Freedom Riders and their two attorneys was taken at the emergency room of Roosevelt Hospital in Houston, Texas, just before midnight on August 11, 1961. From left to right: Steven McNichols, Joseph Stevenson, Robert Kaufman, Hamah R. King, and George Washington, Jr. Another badly beaten Freedom Rider, Steve Sanfield, was being examined in a room next door.

    Eleven young people from Los Angeles were joined by seven members of the Progressive Youth Association at Texas Southern University in the Union Station Coffee Shop where they were arrested for unlawful assembly on August 9, 1961.

    Four were placed in the white male misdemeanor tank with 107 prisoners run by a small group of hardened criminals with homosexual, sado-masochistic bonds led by a man named Garland called "the Commander." His assistant, Overstreet, was called "the Lieutenant Commander." Deputies ordered them to beat the Freedom Riders.

    Two days later, the tank erupted when attorney Washington visited it. McNichols sustained a herniated disk in his back which still troubles him today.

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the Freedom Riders' conviction for unlawful assembly on April 4, 1962--the first tribunal to do so. It was considered a landmark decision at the time, but is hardly remembered now.

    - Steven F. McNichols





    The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: August 28, 1963


    by Martha E. Ture
    NAV Feature Writer

    I am reading a letter from Hunter Gray, who's Micmac, St. Francis Abenaki, and St. Regis Mohawk. Forty years ago, he was known as Professor John R. Salter, Jr.

    "About two years ago," Hunter wrote, "the right side of my face began to hurt significantly and intermittently, swell slightly, then recede. Then in May of this year [2003], during the marathon speaking trip Eldri and I took -- 3700 miles and nine states in eleven days -- I suddenly felt something very strange 'way up in the upper right inside of my mouth.

    "We stopped hurriedly at an Interstate rest stop, and I looked at my open mouth in the bathroom mirror. Something was protruding from the roof of my mouth. I fished it out. It was a large, thin, molded piece of bone-gray plastic, incised with blood-vessel and bone indentations. It was very old, crumbled when I broke it.


    I pledge allegiance……


    "No Beer Sold To Indians" is the sign in the background.


    "We knew just what it was. Since then, more pieces have come. The pain and the swelling are gone. Something is now healed; something else is no longer needed. Memories remain, cut into the inside of my skull.

    "At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 1963 on Hanging Moss Road on the north end of Jackson, Mississippi, the Reverend Ed King, and I were heading back to Tougaloo College following a meeting with one of our lawyers, Jack Young. He had told us matter-of-factly that we were both being indicted by the Hinds County Grand Jury on 'inciting to riot' charges. I was driving my little blue '61 Rambler and we were passing through the white area in fairly steady both ways traffic. Police had been following us as we headed north but now, suddenly and inexplicably, they disappeared.

    "Suddenly, from a side street on my left came a car driven by a young white. He drove right through the stop sign at and forced a large, heavy oncoming third car directly into our path.

    "We hit head on. When I regained consciousness, my car was destroyed. The windshield was smashed and part of Ed King's face clung to it. We were both blood-drenched and Ed was still unconscious. Standing all around us was a growing crowd of grinning and laughing whites. The white police were standing with them.

    "The quite innocent driver of the third car that had been forced into us head-on was uninjured.

    "After fifteen minutes, the police came over. One asked, to which of the hospitals did we wish to go? I said St Dominic's, the Catholic hospital.

    "They took us instead to the Southern Baptist hospital but not inside -- not right away. For a bit, we lay out in the yard in front of the hospital, while drought-breaking rain sprinkled down on us, and a brief discussion occurred inside about the propriety of receiving us. Then, we were finally taken inside. Ed was carried somewhere but I was placed on a cot in a public aisle -- while two dozen or more Jackson police walked grinning around my ostensible bier."


    "my country 'tis of thee….."



    Reading Hunter's letter, I remember that summer of 1963. I was in Washington, D.C., working for the organizing committee of the March on Washington. After work, with other members of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, and SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), we sat in at restaurants and swimming pools, we marched and picketed, we made a commotion because in the capital of the free world, the public drinking fountains had signs over them reading "White" and "Colored". The restaurants would not let black people in, the public restrooms and public swimming pools would not let black people in, black people rode in the back of the bus, black people could not vote, black people could not go to the same schools and get the same education as white people, black people could not be assured of getting treatment in public hospitals. Most black people could not get better than menial jobs, and most black people lived in substandard housing, in fear of lynching. The 'separate but equal' doctrine the US Supreme Court foisted on black people in its 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson still stood in practice, if not in law.

    Charles Hamilton Houston, dean of DC's Howard University Law School, had begun to fight Plessy in 1934, knowing that it would be a long, incremental battle to overturn the Court's decision. Twenty years later, in 1954, the Court finally acceded to reality in Brown v. Board of Education, The nation's public schools were separate but not equal, and must integrate "with all due deliberate speed." Houston had died in 1950, and the schools in 1963 were still not integrated. For these reasons, 100 years after the Civil War, and 9 years after Brown v. Board of Education, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., and Asa Philip Randolph announced that we were tired of shuffling, and so we intended to march on Washington for jobs and freedom. I include myself in this company as a white ally, knowing that politically and economically, we all have to shuffle in one another's chains.

    June, 1963

    On June 12, 1963, in Jackson Mississippi, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was shot and killed. The next day the black people of Jackson and their allies demonstrated, and the police beat some people into bloody unconsciousness, including Professor John Salter Jr. Two days later, June 15, Martin Luther King Jr. came to Jackson and spoke at Medgar's funeral at the Negro Masonic Temple on Lynch Street, and then six thousand people marched two miles in 102 degree heat from the Masonic Temple to the Collins Funeral Home on North Farish Street -- the first "legal" civil rights march in the history of Mississippi. A huge spontaneous demonstration followed, and Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett called the National Guard into Jackson to supplement the hundreds of white Mississippi lawmen of all kinds. And the mobs of white vigilantes.

    On June 18, about six p.m., pavement reflecting glitter and heat, some of us marched in front of the Justice Department, maybe 35 to 50 limp folks in that DC heat. The sidewalk felt like the striker paper on a matchbook. Out the front door came a thin, wilted man in rumpled slacks and wrinkled white shirt. It was the U.S. Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy.

    He had no tie or jacket on, and his hair was uncombed. He hadn't slept well in a while, by the look of him. And he began to talk to us, without a microphone. A crowd gathered, and soon there were a hundred people around the steps of the Justice Department.

    He told us in a tired voice that he was aware of the fact that civil rights workers were being beaten, run down, harassed, arrested, in Jackson, Mississippi where Medgar Evers had been killed. He had FBI agents gathering information and he intended to find and arrest the perpetrators. He knew about the crimes against black citizens, students, and teachers. How someone had run a car into a teacher's car, trying to kill the teacher, a civil rights worker and Tougaloo  College professor named John Salter, and the Reverend Ed King. (He did not know about the madness of J. Edgar Hoover and the unreliability of the FBI, I suppose.) He said he had personally phoned the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, and he informed the mayor that the US Attorney General intended to protect the lives, civil rights, and peace of the community from violence by anyone, including white vigilantes, or from anyone who violated the law, even those in uniform. And then the tired US Attorney General took questions, one by one, from the crowd, and answered each one extemporaneously, including that of a very drunken old black man who hung from an elegant DC lamp post and tried three times to enunciate his question.

    Hunter's letter said:

    "Finally, we were in a hospital room. I was able to call a brother of mine in Arizona before someone rushed in and took the phone away. I wanted my brothers and our rifles from Flagstaff. Heavily armed Mississippi lawmen were stationed outside our door, and it had little to do with protecting us.

    "Ed slept consistently -- but I only intermittently. Then Ed's wife, Jeannette, came into the room. She had a copy of the afternoon paper, the Jackson Daily News. It had a big headline, 'Integration Leaders Hurt Here: Salter and King Hurt in Wreck.' And a banner headline told us, 'President Calls Jackson Mayor.' President John Kennedy and his brother, Robert, the Attorney General, had been busy on their phones to Jackson officials. There was a picture of Jackson Mayor Allen Thompson holding a telephone. "Said the caption, 'Peace Will Return.' Under it was a sentence, 'Mayor Thompson says Jackson will again be peaceful for both races when the outside agitators are defeated. . .'

    "Surgery for both Ed and me took many hours. I was first, then Ed. Ed's face was badly, hideously cut, and in my case many bones were smashed and broken, from the right side of my face all the way down through my ribs. My right eye-lid had been intricately sliced, almost off, but miraculously the eye was unhurt.

    "Later, when an attorney of ours, the hard-fighting and super courageous Jess Brown [an interesting mix of African, Native American, and Scottish] came to see us, he grabbed a janitor's broom and, shuffling and scraping, pushed it down the corridor and around the corner right to our locked door. The heavily armed Mississippi lawmen let him in. Once in there, he whipped out a yellow pad and took testimony.

    "As it turned out, the Jackson Movement -- Mississippi's largest grassroots upheaval -- had shaken the very foundations of Jackson and the sovereign State of Mississippi. And its bloody ramifications reached across Dixie and the nation -- and out into the whole wide world."


    All the people


    While Hunter was recovering from his wounds, the organizing for the March on Washington came under fire from the very people in power who had encouraged us. The White House and Justice Department, the foundations and church councils were afraid that because of the violence in Mississippi all those black people descending on Washington would riot and there would be hell in the streets on international television. They proposed stopping the march, they proposed martial law, and they proposed blocking trains and busses entering the nation's capitol. Repeatedly, city police and the White House met with the March organizers, and were assured that the March leaders intended that we would all be nonviolent, and that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference intended that we be nonviolent. We expected 150,000 people.

    On August 28, 1963, the day of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 225,000 people filled the city streets, marched to the lawn between the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial. At the base of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, our leaders prayed and led us in singing We Shall Overcome. Old black men and women, children, union people, teachers, school groups, farmers, church groups, students, filled the green. It was glorious. I had never seen such a sea of people, and I had never seen so many black people. My heart sang. Remembering it now, tears come out of my heart and wet my eyes.

    My work that day included getting speakers from their hotels to the organizer tents at the Reflecting Pool. I ordered the limousine and rode in it with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Joan Baez. I still remember that very plush ride and the awe I felt in that company. I remember the ocean of American people and the signs, and the most compelling speech, I thought, was not made by Dr. King, but by a brave, big, black Mississippi Freedom organizer, now Georgia Congressman John Lewis. He said, "I want to know, which side is the federal government on? What political leader here can stand up and say, 'My party is the party of principles'? The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party?"

    That day is a milestone in the history of the United States of America. After that day, and because of it, Congress finally passed a Fair Housing Act, and a Voting Rights Act. The war for racial equality was not and is not over, but the day caused a sea change in our national mentality. On the morning of that day, black people drank from separate water fountains, rode in the back of the bus, could not use public restaurants or recreational facilities that whites used, lived in fear of lynching, could not vote or get good health care, education, or employment. On the morning of this day, August 17, 2003, black people drink from the same water, ride the same bus seats, use the same public facilities, mostly do not fear lynching, can vote, and can get no worse health, education or employment than most white people. The playing field is not level but it has had much of the tilt taken out. Black people are no longer required to bend double when they look at a white man or woman. There has been a lot of change in the laws, if not the men, that ruled the South.

    So what?

    And what has this to do with the condition of American Indians today, forty years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom?

    According to Indiana University professor Steve Russell, Cherokee, Indians have nowhere near the rights blacks had before the March in 1963.

    "We haven't even arrived in the 1930s, when Charles Hamilton Houston formulated the legal strategy that would eventually destroy the 'separate but equal' doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson," Professor Russell says.

    "Other Indian lawyers have disagreed with this and maybe the floor should be opened for nominations, but I believe our Plessy -- the case that stands between Indians and everything we have a right to expect and most of what we want -- is Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, the treaty abrogation case.

    (In Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock Congress can abrogate a treaty or any part of a treaty unilaterally, without the consent of the representatives of the other parties to the treaty. Plenary authority over tribal relations has always been exercised by Congress. Tribes' land bases are vested by treaty. Applying the treaty would limit and qualify the controlling authority of Congress. Plenary authority over tribal relations has always been deemed to be a political one, not subject to control by the judicial department. Power to abrogate from treaty does rest with Congress. The Court must presume Congress acted in good faith in the dealings with the Indians and that it exercised its best judgment. If injury was occasioned relief must be sought by an appeal to that body for redress and not the courts.)

    "Given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, it might take more than a 20 year strategy to overturn Lone Wolf, but I would point out that Houston's plans were laid before the 'switch in time that saved nine,' before FDR began to remake the Court.

    "But we have no unified legal strategy and no obvious possibility of formulating one. We suffer from the Tecumseh problem. Everyone can see that Tecumseh was right but nobody is willing to put short term self-interest aside to speak in one voice. We have no Tecumseh and, if we did, it's not clear that tribal governments would listen to him."

    What, then, should be done? We know that many tribal governments are problems, not solutions. We know that animosity toward Indians has been exacerbated by Indians exercising fishing rights, whaling rights, sovereignty rights, building casinos, and the manipulations of venal politicians who rabble rouse and stir up the same kind of race-based outraged entitlement we saw 40 years ago in the south. We know that the same kind of resentments that fueled the racists of Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama fuel the anti-Indian hatreds in South Dakota, New York, Texas, Washington. We know what we do with our great religious and social leaders, Tecumseh, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. We murder them. It's hardly an attractive career path.

    What, then, should we do, knowing that politically and economically, we all have to shuffle in one another's chains?

    (Martha photo)

    Martha E. Ture is a Legislative Affairs Editor, Native News Online and founder of the San Quentin Writers' Circle. Her writing has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Health Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Sierra Magazine, and other national publications. She is a member of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers and a mentor with the Literary Arts for Incarcerated Youth program of South Dakota. is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.

    ©2003 IMDiversity Inc. All rights reserved.


    Our appreciation to Hunter Gray:

    Here in Thailand doing human rights work with the Akha people and being heavily dependent on the web for the survival of our work, we sought people with skill and wisdom in the area of activism. It was by this means that we met Hunter Gray and wrote him on numerous occasions about how we could best progress the work on the behalf of the Akha people.We deeply appreciate his generosity, his grasp of human situations and his numerous skills at helping people organize their communities.

    We wish all the best for Hunter Gray and his family.

    We are glad we met him.

    Matthew McDaniel

    The Akha Heritage Foundation





    I am a Ho-Chunk (formerly called Winnebago) Nation elder, a fullblood now living within the tribe's ancestral Wisconsin homelands, and was the "inside man" John described during the good fight on behalf of Algonquin Indian furworkers in Ontario County, New York.

    Although many of the people involved have gone their separate ways since those heady times, Muriel and I maintain a heart-and-hearth relationship with the Algonquins. We were even adopted among the Rapid Lake people and given the rare privilege of sharing their treasures-viewing pristine sanctuaries undisturbed for millennia, a glimpse of our own people's Eden. We may never see them again but we know they are there. Our history with John, Eldri and the children extends beyond Rochester, from Iowa earlier to North Dakota, and like those pristine treasures we know that they are always there.

    Among the Ho-Chunk people there is a special, and spiritual, friendship bond called Cha-ko-do, where in former times one would adopt a younger man and provide him with the lore and tools to make his way in the world. In just this way, I view John as an elder brother and mentor. When asked to speak at ceremonies-one of my duties as an Eagle Clan elder-I try to pass on the hard-won knowledge that the solutions to social justice issues are contained within each of us, and that any truly committed person can make a difference. These are the gifts Muriel and I brought away from those Rochester days. As cultural practitioners and knowing that our true essence, visible as a breath on a snowy morning and continuing way beyond our brief sojourn here, my wife and I celebrate John's legacy of a life well spent. We owe him our wish that he will continue to consternate his enemies for many years to come.

    Elliott & Muriel Ricehill



    Hunter Bear is a good example of what the upper end of human beings can be. More than that I cannot say of any person. He is a national treasure. Long may he wave! And long may we remember and emulate his contributions to humanity. If they gave out Nobel prizes for what he does, he'd have gotten a dozen or so by now.

    Sandra Thompson


    Dear Hunter, 
    My name is Zonnie Gorman and I am the youngest daughter of Carl and Mary Gorman.  My parents always spoke very highly of you.  Your name was a part of my family's fond memories. I don't know if we ever met, but hearing my parents speak of you so often, it is as if we have.  Thank you so much for your words of tribute to my father.  I cried as I read it all. . . . .

    Zonnie Gorman,  Navajo Nation and Gallup, N.M.

    Note: Carl Gorman [Navajo] -- 1907-1998 -- was an internationally known  artist and a long time close friend of Hunter and his family.  Carl Gorman had been a Code Talker in the USMC during World War II and, for years until his death at Gallup, was the principal leader of the surviving Code Talkers.




    It was two years ago in March of 2002 when I first learned of you and your life’s
    work. Little did I realize what a unique and dedicated man I had found.

    While researching the history of the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago, modern
    technology brought you onto my computer when I entered William Mackintire Salter, your
    grandfather by adoption into the Google search engine.
    Among the listings, there was one of your many web writings where you shared
    your "accidental" genealogy. Your site included how you were related to the Ethical
    Culture Movement and your "adopted" grandfather, William Mackintire Salter, the first
    Leader of the Chicago Ethical Society. The site included your father Frank Gray/John
    Randall Salter’s adoption papers, your activities in the Civil Rights movement, meeting
    other people of the Ethical movement and union and social justice confrontations across
    this county. And I, knowing some of the life of William Mackintire Salter (and his father
    before him) am astonished how your efforts, your ethics, your skills and, indeed, your soul,
    complemented his social justice ideals and work he did in Chicago.
    You were so kind last May when you and Eldri drove to Chicago and visited with
    us at the Ethical Humanist Society in the Chicago area, a humanist fellowship working
    toward the "good life" for all. Your words and persona linger on here. And what a family
    the two of you have raised while fighting humanity’s causes.
    When telling of your life’s work to friends and membership of the Ethical Society,
    we were in awe that one man could stand tall, strong, and long, facing so many anti-social
    justice forces, fighting the "good fight."
    I have shared your story with the American Ethical Union, and our own Society. In
    the future my hope is to share some of your life’s stories with the Philadelphia Ethical
    Society, where your "grandfather" worked for about seven years before returning to the
    platform in Chicago, and also with the research library at Knox College of Galesburg,
    Illinois, where your "grandfather" entered at the age of 14. As I continue to work on his
    life’s story you will remain in our thoughts as an example of an ETHICAL human being.
    I am honored to know you.
    Dorothy L. Lockhart
    Member of the American Ethical Union
    7574 N. Lincoln Avenue • Skokie, IL 60077-3335 •Phone: 847-677-3334 • Fax: 847-677-3335
    Web page:
     • E-mail:



    Here's a tribute to "Professor Salter" from some of his Tougaloo College students.  Would you please see
    that it gets added to the website. 

    Thanks, Joan Mulholland

                                         May 14, 2004

    The Tougaloo Class of '64, meeting for our 40th Reunion, sends heartfelt greetings to Professor and Eldri Salter and their family.  We remember their time
    with us (and we with them)--their encouragement, guidance and welcoming home.  Above all, we remember
    their commitment to the Civil Rights Movement and their faith in us.  For all of these gifts we say, "Thank you, thank you."  We are saddened to learn of
    Professor Salter's infliction with lupus.  We want him and his family to know that our hearts and prayers are
    with them as they face this life's challenge.  His support and inspiration are living legacies for all who were fortunate to know him, especially the Class
    of 1964.  For this we are ever grateful.

    Robert Calhoun

    Lavern Johnson Holly

    Annie Belle Calhoun ('65)

    Carrie Lapsky Davis

    Doris Browne

    Memphis A. Norman

    Shirley Barnes Laird

    Jerrodean Davis Ashby

    Rita Huddleston Parker

    James C. McQuirter

    Sylvia Davis Thompson

    Deloris G. Daniels

    Albert E. Lassiter

    Gwendolyn R. Ross

    Emma J. Campbell

    Charles E. Quinn

    Norma Jean Lathan

    D. Camille (Wilburn) McKey

    Ruth M.(Moody) Byrdsong

    Norweida (Rayford) Roberts

    Joan (Trumpauer) Mulholland

    Bennie Cohran

    Shirley (Wells) Green

    Joyce Ladner


    Steve Rutledge



    Dear Hunter:

    I once read somewhere -- if a man is interested in himself alone, he is very small.  If he is interested in his family, he is large.  If he cares about the community, he is larger still.  From what I have read about your life and work -- you are very large indeed.  Accept this small donation from my housemate and myself.  Hope to send more in the future.  You really make the world a better place.


    Best Wishes,

    Celine [Stanley, New Mexico]


    69. GORDON H. HENRY [One of the finest people with whom I have ever been privileged to work.]





    I have carried at least one Union Card, and sometimes two or even three, since I began working back in the mid-1950s.  I still do --United Auto Workers. 

    Here is one, in the old-time I.W.W. -- a great outfit that epitomized the best in this country's home grown democratic radicalism.

    I owe the old-time Wobblies a hell of a big personal debt.  They taught me  a lot about Vision and Courage  and Grassroots Democracy and Long, Long-Term Commitment.  And "good sense" things:    Better To Be Called Red Than Be Called Yellow; You Can't Fight Booze And The Boss At The Same Time;  Watch The Man Who Advocates Violence.

    Those old-time Wobblies -- to paraphrase that great Southwesterner and extraordinarily fine writer, the late J. Frank Dobie  -- had "seen the elephant and heard the owl" in places the so-termed respectables never knew existed.

    Fred Thompson, the great I.W.W.  editor (and very good friend always) gave me this solid advice when I, a hot-eyed kid, was starting my radical writing in earnest:  "To  be really radical, you don't have to rant and rave.  You have only to accurately describe the massive injustice all around you and sensibly discuss basic curative approaches and solutions."

    I've always remembered  and held to that -- and   all of the other lessons as well.  And I always will.

    Through those early years, I worked at many jobs: forest fire fighting, agricultural laborer, trapper, development miner. 

    I joined the  I.W.W. in the mid-1950s and remained a member consistently  through  1960.  I had several  Red Cards.  Here is an early one.














    by Sam Friedman
    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.




    by Dale Jacobson
    All these voices, all these lives, the world.
    Jay Gould, who wanted Fridays black,
    said "labor is a commodity,"
    no news to Marx. But another kind
    of work that shapes the world round
    made the banker shudder!-
    and though the nation still rushes
    toward those nuggets of '49
    one minute to the intersection
    of dream and despair, blissfully
    oblivious how late it is
    into the senile century just born- who,
    asks the miner deep among mineral,
    mines the sky not for gold but its light?
    America is a myth but something is older.
    In those wild lands west where space
    is ancient and terrain is free though
    land be owned, shale rings with time
    when rock talks to rock, and a long
    catechism of echoes ricochets through
    ravines indifferent if anyone hears
    and no mountain will move for word or will.
    >From that place came Hunter the Bad Bear
    who stalks the hunters who hunt the poor.
    >From Arizona to Mississippi to Chicago
    and places between, even Grand Forks
    on the far northern plains, he came
    to call in the way the world calls itself
    down the canyons of cities where
    the faces of the poor are locked
    in their prisons of deep stone silence-
    his voice echoes into tomorrow where
    those same ancient and wild expanses of light
    cannot be fenced but wait
    for the free word to pronounce the day.





    Dear Hunter,


    Your long email about lupus came this evening. I don't know where to begin with an adequate response. What I want to do is to express to you the powerful influence you have had upon my life. There isn't nor the space to piece everything together in a coherent way. The best I can do tonight is to start with an early poem I wrote in 1974, shortly after leaving the University of Iowa's graduate school of urban & regional planning:


    The harvest sky
    Wild geese by instinct fly
    Away to places where I
    Can't be.

    Another poem, HORICON II, expresses an entirely different frame of mind:



    Interstate Eighty-eight
    meanders a northerly way
    along the Rock River. I flow
    point by point from Patti's
    Geneseo Home
    to exit ninety-nine
    at Rochelle's Iron Skillet.
    Fueled and fed
    I head true north.
    With forty cents
    at South Beloit
    I change to Interstate Forty-three,
    pushing time to Milwaukee
    where that sign says,
    north Green Bay,"
    and others say
    in rapid succession,
    At seventy-five
    in the right-hand lane,
    the policeman lets me go-
    flying north, going home.

    The second poem was written in 1998-thirty-four years after the first. My long, hard but transformative journey between the two was made possible in large part to your teaching, inspiration and friendship. It's a journey nowhere as radical as what you described in your email, my friend. What was radical, however, was the way your influence turned me upside down. Happily, I haven't been the same. In the process, I have found myself, most importantly my Native American identity. You did what the best of teachers do-give their students keys that unlock the doors of mind, heart and-perhaps-even one's soul. I am grateful and blessed to have had my life shaped by your great vision of social justice.





    Alice Hatfield Azure


    57 Quaker Farm Road


    Mystic, CT 06355


    December 21, 2003




    His Courage is a Beacon

    (For Hunter)
    by Norla M. Antinoro, 2-23-2004
    His true courage is a beacon
    Pure gold and shining in the night
    >From the shadows he awakens
    Our hearts to join him in the fight.
    His voice calls to faint hearts aloud
    And to courageous souls alike
    "Come stand with me or stand aside!"
    He calls us all to join the strike.



    (Although a newbee to Hunters universe, I am moved to send along this mornings thoughts on his condition and his contributions to our collective conscious.)



    by Robert Whalen Gately
    Restless Bear in hibernation,
    outside your den, a celebration,
    Winters howling winds are dying,
    Snows melting, soon to the North, geese flying.
    Restless Bear in relaxation,
    stretch your paws, feel the action,
    Scratch your mark on pulp & bark,
    roaring orders to the Cardinal, Doves, Larks &
    Restless Bear in reflection,
    remember Spring's eternal promise,
    Summer's hope and Fall's harvest,
    Around your fire gathered, Family, Friends, all
    Restless Bear in remission,
    Great Spirit returns, recognition,
    From mesa to mesa, village to village news is shared ;
    He comes again to bless us, Great Hunter Bear !
    With Great Respect & Appreciation,
    Robert Whalen Gately


    Samantha Salter

    The Bear

    by Samantha Salter (granddaughter)
    The bear I know is nice and brave
    He is like no one else
    He hangs on through the toughest of fights
    He hangs on through the hardest of nights
    He helps everyone stay together
    He is a bear that will last in everybody's hearts forever.



    Ecological musings by an AIDS researcher

    by Sam Friedman

    From the overlook, Tasmania stretched vast
    with flame-spurts scattered
    where gum trees enacted
    annual rites of aromatic self-immolation
    unhelped by human hands.
    Any humans were wee small,
    too tiny to be seen&emdash;
    or gone forever through the gentle ministrations
    of English invaders who saw them as wild game
    like the foxes they had left behind
    in their imperious Isle.
    Hunter traipsed weeks in his youth
    in beloved Arizona gorges
    chatting with bears, mountain lions,

    Hunter's coyote - Good.

    who rarely had seen
    the spoor of human feet.
    In January, I spend Martin'sDay weekend
    doing poems at Cape May.
    The waves don't notice me,
    don't hear my poems though
    I shout them to their spume.
    They send their everyday
    roaring rhythms to themselves
    while timeless birds pick over
    their repetitive left debris.
    I remember my first interviews
    with men with AIDS,
    their timeless sturdy bodies shrunken
    by the gnawing depredations of viruses
    too tiny to be seen.


    Sam Friedman
    National Development and Research Institutes
    71 West 23d Street, 8th floor
    New York, NY 10010
    1 212 845 4467
    Fax 1 917 438 0894




    Micmac Man
    A 1978 painting of Hunter by his brother, Richard Salter.

    " an all-out imposing, absolutely self-confident Native American man who just happened to be my graduate advisor at the University of Iowa's graduate school of Urban & Regional Planning."


    You asked if anyone had a story to go with the wonderful oil painting of Hunter Gray by his brother, Richard. I do. I purchased the painting from Richard in 1980 at his home near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

    The image is 32" by 40" and is absolutely one of the best Native American contemporary images I have seen executed by a painter. I think my husband went white in the face when I told Richard that I wanted to purchase that painting. After all, "Micmac Man," as the painting was called, represented an all-out imposing, absolutely self-confident Native American man who just happened to be my graduate advisor at the University of Iowa's graduate school of Urban & Regional Planning.

    After my husband & I divorced, "Micmac Man" stayed with me throughout several different homes-hanging on my living room wall in his own imposing way, glaring out at everyone who came though the doors of my home. Is it any reason that I remained single for nine years?

    Anyway, I stray. One man, however, was not intimidated by Hunter's image. Alec Azure knew John, and had participated in visits organized by John and by the Quad Cities Intertribal League (Davenport, Iowa) down to the Ft. Madison penitentiary to visit Native American prisoners, including Alec's own relatives.

    Three years after Alec's wife passed on in 1987, he came calling on me in Virginia. Under the glare of "Micmac Man," he courted me. His jealousy was obvious. Blithely, I hung onto the painting after we were married and we moved across the country to establish residency in Evanston, Illinois. I had taken on the position of vice president of administration for NAES College (Native American Educational Services). A horrible fire destroyed the entire interior of the college in December of 1990. We lost everything except our library. All the paintings of Chicago Native American elders, such as Willard LaMere, were gone. Between the emergence of a new college with very bare walls, and my new husband's jealousy, I opted for some peace and thus donated "Micmac Man" to the college, along with Richard's other painting called "Cinder Hills."

    I left the college in October of 1993-nine months after my husband's passing in February of 1993. Whether the paintings are still there I don't know. But I hung on to another of Richard Salter's paintings, "Hawks & Cliffs," a hawk's eye's view of canyons and a river bed somewhere in Arizona, I presume. I will never part with that one!

    Alice Hatfield Azure


    I am very pleased and honored that Alice Hatfield Azure and her fine Chicago colleagues arranged for Micmac Man to be sent to us in early March [2005.]  It now hangs proudly on our wall, here in Idaho.


    Hunter at his toughest! Mid-1990s, Grand Forks, North Dakota.


    "I Consider Myself a Real Red:"

    The Social Thought of American Civil Rights Organizer John R. (Salter) Hunter Gray

    (An excerpt.)

    by Roy T. Wortman
    Department of History
    Kenyon College
    Gambier, Ohio 43022 USA

    The eclectic libertarianism and communitarianism of the IWW connects to Hunter Gray's life - long quest, not only for civil rights, but for lawful self-defense within the American republican and libertarian tradition of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. His own self- defense weapons of choice, he once told a Kenyon College audience, included a Ruger .357 single action revolver and a Marlin .444 lever action rifle. This was, perhaps, the first time brand name firearms were given an endorsement in the civil rights struggle. He owned his first rifle at the age of seven. Hunting and firearms were a part of his boyhood environment and his coming of age even as they are now a part of his persona. "When I was seven I wanted a Red Ryder BB gun. Dad was all for it; Mother-who had nothing at all against guns... dragged her feet as mothers do with the first child. There was a three-way hassle: me and my two parents, Dad on my side. An older cousin settled the whole issue by giving me as a gift, when I was still age seven, a very nicely kept .22 Wincherster 1890 pump, 24" octagon barrel.... I never thought about a BB gun again (Hunter Gray, letter to the author, 29 March 2000)." The culture of hunting and of safe, responsible use of firearms was simply a normal part of Hunter Gray's growing up. As a rite of passage in his own maturation and personal growth, Hunter Gray, as a boy, killed his first Black Bear (estimated at 650 pounds live weight by educated adult guesses), "fulfilling a very important coming of age River to Cross. I used an old 30/30 Model 94, "24 octagon barrel, curved butt plate.... We ate every bit of his meat and his skull hangs from the wall over our bed, right here, right now. The Tooth has always been extremely important to us from the perspective of protection / self-defense: blocking malevolence and sending it right back into the perpetrator(s)-all of this perfectly consistent...with principled self-defense." (Hunter Gray to the author, 29 March 2000.) He qualified as an expert marksman while in the Army. At a broader level he understands that both American and Canadian "grassroots people " are knowledgeable about firearms and their safe use, but that media, "tied often to self-serving and frequently demagogic political agendas...continue to push the anti-gun campaign with no regard for truth and reality." Hunter Gray served as a volunteer National Rifle Association civil liberties and media organizer in North Dakota, and continues in these capacities in his retirement in Idaho.

    Hunter Gray criticizes the mainstream media for failing to realize the importance of self- defense and civil rights in such situations as labor and civil rights, as well as in men's resistance to violence. What concerns Hunter Gray for the United States is that the mainstream media deny that the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, is "a statement of natural rights [emphasis supplied]." Moreover, in their attempt to restrict if not prohibit firearms, politicians and media bypass the basic cause of crime: "economic deprivation, racism and ethnocentrism, and urban congestion-and, in that context, interpersonal and value alienation."

    Yet the existence of crime must not deter the law - abiding from lawful self - defense:

    "In the end, Roy, we are many, and there are lots of guns and will continue to be. I just hope that, in a generation or two, there are still many of us: the gun people. I think there will be." (Hunter Gray, letter to the author, 29 March 2000.)

    The point here is that Hunter Gray views lawful possession as a natural right, compatible with the democratic heritage and historical origin of the American Republic, which trusted its people to take to arms for defense of self and commonwealth. Added to this in Hunter Gray's mind are the complex issues in a modern bureaucratic and regulatory society, which impinge on individual freedom. This makes for a draconian police state in the name of "gun control," which Hunter Gray fully understands to mean firearms prohibition and intimidation by government of the law-abiding. Predatory, violent criminals, as individuals or as paramilitary organized groups have been and will continue to be exempt from administrative and legislative measures to restrict the use of firearms. Hunter Gray's concern is that only the non-criminal element in the United States will suffer and be denied the right to self-defense and resistance against tyranny. In this view he is in the company of the founders of the American Republic. Hunter Gray's amplification of the right to keep and bear arms is also colored by the twentieth century experience of minority groups in Europe, North America, and elsewhere in suffering at the hands of armed racist state or paramilitary aggressors. Such minority groups must have the right, the sacred right and duty of resistance.

    For Hunter Gray, it once again comes down to a principled matter of freedom with justice: not anarchy, and not chaos, but freedom for the law - abiding to resist violent dominators and intruders in their lives, and freedom from the bureaucratic heavy hand of the all-powerful regulatory state which, in this instance, rather than maximizing human freedom, constricts it with restrictive legislation and sanctions against self-defense. Once again, things come full circle for Hunter Gray, and once again, to him, without contradiction.

    - Roy Wortman


    by Hunter Gray

    I have always held firmly to the right to defend one's self and one's family. And that, for me, certainly includes principled, armed self-defense.

    The ancient and time-honored principle of "tribal responsibility" - i.e., the group has an obligation to the individual and the individual has one to the group - with the accompanying dimensions of solidarity and sacrifice - is a critically essential complex in any fundamentally healthy and vigorous social system.

    Included in that traditionally tribal context has always been the working ideal of a full measure of material (physical) and libertarian well-being: food, and freedom too. And that goal, certainly, has to be the functional ethos of any decent social system, small or large.

    I've always been a very strong and full supporter of both material and libertarian well-being.

    And there are times, believe me - many times indeed - when these must be firmly and effectively protected - by the individual and his/her grassroots colleagues.

    I was seven years old when I had my first .22 rifle. I've had many, many - conventional - firearms since then. I was president of our Flagstaff High School NRA club - Northern Arizona small-bore champs. I was Expert Marksman in the U.S. Army. I presently have six Western lever action big-bore rifles and one single-barrel ten gauge magnum shotgun [all of these stemming from pre-1900 patents.] These continue to be quite useful from a self-defense perspective.

    A gun is no better or worse than the person who uses it.


    Eldri and Hunter have been married for 43 very good years. Eldri is Finnish/Saami-Lapp, Norwegian, and Swedish.


    Thomas, grandson/son in his Idaho State medical student garb.  Thomas is Iroquois/Wabanaki/       Choctaw.


    Josie, the youngest daughter of Hunter and Eldri, now a social worker [LSW] -- and her very special friend, Cameron Evans, an IBEW member.  Josie is Iroquois/Wabanaki.






    Lived with us at various points while attending Flagstaff High School. We graduated together.  Lee, on leave from the Navy, died in a car wreck on Highway 666 near his family home at Shiprock, New Mexico.  This photo taken in the patio by our house with our dog, Tippy.   Ca. May, 1951.

    [From Hunter Gray/John Salter, Jr.]



    Dear Hunter, perhaps only living with grace allows one to prepare to die with grace. And the hope that the good we do continues.




    Your Jackson, Mississippi colleague -- Steve Rutledge of Tougaloo and NAACP Youth Council -- is being honored this week by induction into the (West Virginia) Governor's second Civil Rights Day Civil Rights Hall of Fame. He's continued a life of social justice activism here in West Virginia. His nomination quoted extensively from your book about Jackson: John R. Salter, Jr. Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism.


    Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, 1987.




    Stay brave, John/Hunter.





    Joan C. Browning


    P.O. Box 1147


    Lewisburg WV 24901-1147




    Send any photos, art, graphics to: Maria Salter




    Hunter's father, John Salter (Frank Gray) in his Flagstaff studio.


    Hunter's father, John Salter [Frank Gray] at family cabin at Lower Oak Creek, Verde Valley.  This is a 1978 painting by Richard Salter.

    Micmac Man
    A 1978 painting of Hunter by his brother, Richard Salter.


    Teddybear! Teddybear!
    trying to look tough...
    or is he a grizzly
    just resting?
    for now
    - Sam Friedman, New Jersey

    Micmac Man--the Great Marriage Spoiler

    I purchased the painting from Richard around 1980 at his home near Lake Geneva. Wisconsin. The image is an imposing oil, 40" x 46." It's one of the best portraits I've ever seen executed by a contemporary Native American artist.



    Hunter Gray (AKA John Salter) was my graduate advisor at the University of Iowa's graduate program in Urban & Regional Planning. It is simply not mere coincidence that a Mi'kmaq student gets to have a graduate advisor who is also of Mi'kmaq descent. Something was going on!




    At any rate, after I graduated, my family and John's continued to visit. In a sense, John (Hunter) opened up dimensions of awareness that I couldn't ever have expected in the normal realm of being. A great path of social justice was laid out before all of us--his students. Among other things, he challenged me to re-claim my Native American identity. He challenged the university itself--in every sense of the word. Comfort certainly wasn't one of Hunter Gray's goals! To this day I am grateful to the Invisibles for giving the type of teacher who led me to myself.




    Anyway--I stray. I purchased the wonderful painting because first and foremost it was a quintessential work of art. Secondly, it represented an elemental essence of my life--a challenge--to go forth and be all that you can be. I think my first husband went white in the face when I told Richard I wanted to purchase the painting. It wasn't cheap! My husband was a lover of art, but not necessarily of the radical concepts represented by his wife's graduate advisor!




    The painting stayed with me after we divorced. In six or seven different homes, "Micmac Man" hung on the wall of my various living rooms--imposing, challenging and stern! Is it any wonder that I lived alone for nearly 9 years?




    One man--Alec Azure-- was not intimidated by this great artistic depiction of "Micmac Man"! After all, he had known John through his Davenport, Iowa days, when groups of Native Americans from the Quad Cities went down to Ft. Madison, Iowa to visit prisoners--including Alec's relatives.




    Three years after Alec's wife died in 1987, he came calling in Springfield, Virginia. Under the GLARE of "Micmac Man," Alec courted me. He didn't like the painting much, but that didn't stop him. There was only one thing worse--he was jealous! After we married, I took on the job of vice president of administration at NAES College (Native American Education Services) in Chicago, Illinois. Our home was in Evanston, and Alec continued to snort at "Micmac Man," hanging there in all his glory and wisdom! Meanwhile, the college had sustained a horrible fire in December of 1990, and everything was destroyed except the library. As I was in charge of the renovation, it was natural that I bemoaned the loss of all the previous art work, depicting former community elders and leaders such as Willard LaMere. Between the bare walls of the newly renovated college and my new husband's jealousy of "Micmac Man" in our home, I decided to opt for some peace and so donated Richard Salter's wondrous painting to NAES College. I also donated Richard's "Cinder Hills."


    I left NAES in October of 1993, nine months after my husband's passing. I do not know what became of Richard's paintings, including "Micmac Man." However, I did hang on to one stupendous work by Richard--not quite as great as "Micmac Man" but nearly so--called "Hawks & Cliffs." It's a hawk's eye's view of canyons and a river gorge somewhere in Arizona, I imagine. I will never part with this painting!



    - Alice Hatfield Azure, Mystic, CT



    Help needed - The photos below are to be placed with an appropriate article, poem, message, well wishing. Suggests are welcome - first come first served.


    Looking north from the eastern rim of Sycamore Canyon, about one-third of the way down into it, in the lower [southerly] portion of the Canyon as it widens into Sycamore Basin. Sycamore Creek is quite visible at this point.
    And check this out: The massive Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area as the most special place of mine -- always. This very recent post details much of my almost life-long personal history with the Canyon in the
    context of my strange, unique Near Death Experience of several weeks ago.

    Where ever they lived, we were always welcome. - Joan Mullholland

    Tsaile, AZ 1981


    Grand Forks, ND 1990

    Some of the grand kids

    August 2001

    Pocatello, ID


    Hunter (John) with the legendary "Cloudy"


    Cloudy - Bobcat Mix - Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

    December 1995


    Grand Forks, ND

    At home with some art,

    the art Hunter tells us about.



    Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
    Organizer Idaho -- Spring 2004

    I bought this fine Stetson very soon after I got out of the U.S. Army at the beginning of 1955. It has been with me in a million fascinating places and situations: e.g., the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, hunting and trapping expeditions, prospecting trips, organizing campaigns, demonstrations and picket lines and jails. And even college/university teaching.

    I was born from the Four Directions -- as John Randall Salter, Jr. I grew up in wild and rugged mountains and canyons at and around Flagstaff, [Coconino County] Arizona. It was a quasi-frontier atmosphere where you learned early on how to fight -- and fight effectively. You also learned and appreciated the sensible use of firearms.

    My father, a full-blooded American Indian originally from the Northeast (Micmac/St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk), was born Frank Gray but, as a child, was adopted and partially raised by William Mackintire Salter and Mary Gibbens Salter, very prominent New England liberals, who changed his name to John Randall Salter. My mother, an Anglo, was from an old Western "frontier" family. [More]



    by Hunter Gray

    I was born 1934 and grew up in vast Coconino County, Arizona. My parents were John Randall Salter [born Frank Gray], an artist and professor; and Josephine Heath Salter, a journalist and teacher. My father was an Indian full-blood and my mother Scottish with some Swiss. I graduated from Flagstaff High in 1951, briefly attended Arizona State College [now Northern Arizona University].

    Long before the "legal" age of 18, I fought forest fires and served as fire lookout for USFS.

    When 18, I killed a huge bear in my coming-of-age ritual in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area.

    When I was still 18, I volunteered for the United States Army. I was honorably discharged from the Army after a full hitch at the beginning of 1955. I subsequently attended University of Arizona and Arizona State University [and eventually - years later - University of Washington]. My principal academic field is sociology. At various points, in addition to forest fire control work, I have also worked as a prospector, fur and predator trapper, development metal miner, minority hiring and training consultant, college and university professor.

    I have always been an Organizer - always - ever since I arrived via the Hatch to Save the World.

    My wife, Eldri [Finnish, Saami/Lapp, Norwegian and Swedish who I married in June, 1961] and I were in the Southern Movement from the Summer of 1961 into the Summer of 1967: six years. A Micmac/St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk Indian, I grew up in the Navajo and Laguna country of Northern Arizona and Western New Mexico.

    Beginning in the mid-1950s - after my full Army hitch - I was active in Native American rights; was a radical activist in what remained of the old-time Industrial Workers of the World; was a radical activist in the militant and democratic left-wing International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers [Mine-Mill - formerly the Western Federation of Miners]. I learned much that was valuable as a labor organizer. And for my entire adult life, I have been a left socialist.

    continued below photos


    Frank H. Little

    This photo was taken at Butte on July 31 1917 -
    - a day before he was lynched at Butte
    [early in the morning of August 1 1917.]

    "Don't worry, fellow worker, all we're going to need from now on is guts."

    Frank H. Little, Cherokee Indian, hard-rock metal miner, IWW organizer -- lynched at Butte by copper boss thugs, August 1, 1917

    Indian, white man, Wobbly true,
    Valiant soldier of the great Red Army,
    We'll remember you!"
    (Phillips Russell)

    Big Bill Haywood [Secretary Treasurer of IWW]

    This photo was taken in Chicago about 1918.

    .... an enduring Red socialist and Wobbly -- always with guts -- who was frequently attacked by the Yellows but who Kept Fighting all the way through.


    I came - with Eldri - to Mississippi in 1961 and taught sociology, political science, and labor unionism at Tougaloo College, just north of Jackson. I was Advisor to the Jackson Youth Council of the NAACP, a member of the executive committee of the Jackson NAACP, a member of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi State Conference of NAACP Branches, and a primary organizer of the Jackson Movement of 1962-1963.

    I worked closely with SNCC, CORE, and later also with SCLC and Highlander. [I also conducted some of the first poverty/racism surveys in several Mississippi rural counties and testified to my grim findings before hearings conducted by the Mississippi Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights].

    I served as the Strategy Committee Chair of the developing and ultimately very large-scale and blood-dimmed Jackson Movement which reached its climax in the Spring and Summer of 1963.

    I participated in the most direct sense in many of the bloodily-suppressed and increasingly massive demonstrations. Along with many others, I was beaten and arrested on a number of occasions; was targeted in the sweeping anti-Movement injunction, City of Jackson v. John R. Salter, Jr. et al. [which, of course, we defied]; and was seriously injured [along with a colleague, Rev. Ed King] and my car destroyed, in a rigged auto wreck.

    Following the sanguinary Jackson Movement epoch, I became, at the end of the Summer of 1963, Field Organizer for the radical Southern Conference Educational Fund, which was then headed by Jim Dombrowski [with Miss Ella J. Baker and Carl and Anne Braden and Rev. Howard Melish as staff colleagues].

    I worked across the hard-core South. I was the primary organizer of an ultimately quite successful large-scale, multi-county, civil rights grassroots organizing project in the isolated, poverty-stricken, Klan-infested Northeastern North Carolina Black Belt. In 1966 and 1967, I organized militant grassroots anti-poverty movements - i.e., Peoples' Program on Poverty - in the Northeastern North Carolina Black Belt. In those hard-fought Southern years, my wife and I learned much, much indeed from the grassroots about courage and commitment and vision - and we have carried all of that with us for all of these decades.

    We left the South in the Summer of 1967, went to the Pacific Northwest where I was active in many social justice endeavours. In 1969-1973, we were on the bloody South/Southwest Side of Chicago - where I directed the large-scale grassroots organization of multi-issue block clubs. We worked with African American, Puerto Rican, Chicano, and some Native American people and we fought the police and the Daley Machine - and organized more than 300 block clubs and related organizations.

    Concurrently, on the North Side of Chicago, I was a key organizer of the regional all-Indian Native American Community Organizational Training Center, and served for many years as its Chair.

    I was active in the Plains in Native rights campaigns.

    And I served as the controversial social justice director for the 12 county Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, New York [1976-1978], where Native rights and union labor and anti-racism were among the key thrusts that I and others initiated and carried through successfully.

    Then we were back in the Southwest for several years - in the Navajo country - the vast Navajo Nation-teaching and holding other posts as well at Navajo Community College [now Dine' College], and involved in anti-uranium campaigns and related endeavours. For most of the 1980s deep into the 1990s, I was an active organizer of many effective Native rights campaigns in the Northern Plains - e.g., Grand Forks, ND and the utterly racist reservation border town of Devils Lake, ND.

    In 1994, I retired as a full professor and former departmental chair [and former chair of Honors] from the American Indian Studies Department at University of North Dakota. In due course, we returned to the Mountain West - and are presently based at Pocatello, Idaho where we are quite involved in various 'rights campaigns and very much in the worsening situation regarding the extremely negative city and state police.

    I have written and published many articles, some short stories - and also one book: "Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism", 1979; with an expanded Krieger edition in 1987. I am presently completing an autobiographical book of my writings.

    I've been a bona fide working organizer since I was a Teen. [I will be to the day I pass into the Spirit World]. And that kind of organizing involves getting grassroots people together, developing on-going local leadership, dealing effectively with grievances and individual/family concerns, achieving basic organizational goals and developing new ones - and building a sense of the New World Over The Mountains Yonder and how all of that relates to the short-term steps. We learned a hell of a lot about all of those critical dimensions during our great years in the Southern Movement.

    Member of United Auto Workers [AFL-CIO], United Association for Labor Education (UALE) - and Democratic Socialists of America, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, and Socialist Party USA.

    My papers - a vast array - are held in two essentially similar collections: The Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson; the National Social Action Collection of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. They are concurrently listed under John R. Salter, Jr., John Hunter Gray, and Hunter Gray. I've done a number of oral histories which are held in both collections. Each collection also contains all copies of my very voluminous F.B.I. files - 3,000 or so pages - obtained in the 1980s under FOIA/PA. [The F.B.I. put me on several of its high-priority "agitator" lists: Section A of the Reserve Index/Security Index and Rabble Rouser Index.] My F.B.I. files go from the mid-1950s deep into 1979. The

    F.B.I. refuses to give me several hundred other pages on grounds of "national security."

    I've taught in a number of colleges and universities:

    Wisconsin State, Superior; Tougaloo Southern Christian College; Goddard College; Coe College;

    University of Iowa; Navajo Community College [Dine' College]; University of North Dakota - and part-time at University of Washington; Seattle Community College; and Roosevelt University.

    In addition to my book, JACKSON MISSISSIPPI: AN AMERICAN CHRONICLE OF STRUGGLE AND SCHISM, 1979 and Krieger edition, 1987; [and chapters in several other books]; I've written and published for decades on social justice issues: in such publications as Argosy, Industrial Worker, American Socialist, Mainstream, Student Action, Mississippi Free Press, North Jackson Action, Southern Patriot [SCEF], The Carolinian, The Carolina Times, Native American Publication, The Movement (Chicago), The Catholic Courier (Rochester), Integrated Education, Third World Socialists, Sojourners, Klanwatch, Religious Socialism, Freedomways, New Perspectives (World Peace Council), The Grand Forks Herald (North Dakota), Liberty: A Magazine of Religious Freedom, Pacific Historian, Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Labor Notes, North Country, Contact Forum, Against the Current, The Montana Standard (Butte), One Big Union Annual, Northwest Ethnic Voice, Our Struggle/Nuestra Lucha, Democratic Left, The Socialist, Dialogue and Initiative, antithesis, People's Weekly World, Michigan Sociological Review, Independent Politics News, Oregon Socialist, Michigan Citizen, Left Hook, Socialist Viewpoint,  Piikani Sun - [and much more.] Bio essays of mine are carried in The Encyclopedia of the American Left (1990).


    Links to other websites with Hunter's work

    From Duane Campbell


    Several pieces by Hunter here:


    Democratic Socialists of America




    Our Struggle - The Anti-Racism
    Commission of the DSA







    By Hunter Gray [Hunterbear] Micmac / St Francis Abenaki / St Regis Mohawk




    The post mortems on the Florida electoral situation of a year ago have been virtually endless. Calls for "reforms" -- generally statutory and Federal in nature -- have been frequent. All well and good but, to me and to many others, effective grassroots organizing is still the most basic dimension in achieving substantial victories -- whether political or otherwise.

    editorials4.html ]

    "Native American Struggles: One Century to Another."
    editorials. editorials2.html

    And , "American Racism: An Organizers Perspective. 2003"



    From: Edward Pickersqill <>

    In MyTown we are creating two places for Hunter.

    First in Germination where we will gather some of his more literary works and the works of those such as Sam Friedman who have written of him.


    In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance


    in the junipers and sage, on the game trails,


    in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples,


    and on the high windy ridges --




    and they dance from within the very essence


    of our own inner being.




    They do this especially when the bright night


    moon shines down on the clean white snow


    that covers the valley and its surroundings.




    Then it is as bright as day --


    but in an always soft and mysterious and


    remembering way.










    "We cannot run away from the Winds of Challenge and Change. We have to take History and ride with it. Always ahead, always toward the Sun. And always aware that Democracy is natural and, given half a chance, it will always flourish. We have big fish to fry and we're going to have to do it in an American skillet -- over a long-burning fire from the timber of our own forests."


    -- Hunter Bear [Hunter Gray/John R Salter, Jr.]






    Hunter Gray in Politics: The Art and Times


    wind calls his name by Norla M. Antinoro


    For Hunter Gray by Dale Jacobson


    Hunter by Sam Friedman



    Hunter's presence in Germination in growing and I'm happy about that. Sam's Poem is there now along with Hunter's own Ghosts and Dale Jacobson's poem and a "tanka" by Norla Antinoro. Other suggestions will be welcomed. Check in to see


    Second in Politics: the art and
    (pretty much self-explanatory)


    "We cannot run away from the Winds of Challenge and Change. We have to take History and ride with it. Always ahead, always toward the Sun. And always aware that Democracy is natural and, given half a chance, it will always flourish. We have big fish to fry and we're going to have to do it in an American skillet -- over a long-burning fire from the timber of our own forests."

    -- Hunter Bear [Hunter Gray/John R Salter, Jr.]

    "When you cut to the bone and cut away the college degrees, academic and other titles, published books and articles, ours is essentially a working class and Indian family. We consistently join unions -- and we always support them with the greatest vigor. It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace."

    -- Hunter Bear [Hunter Gray/John R Salter, Jr.]







    Edward Pickersqill <>

    Building a Hunter in
    Redbadbear Library

    Norla is working her way through the messages identifying core material....


    feedback always welcome

    In Solidarity - Hunter Gray

    I know him
    ... by the echoes of his deeds
    which were not his
    but those of the movements
    he helped to organize.

    [from Hunter - by Sam Friedman, January 21, 2004


    Gathered from the


    Redbadbear discussion group




    by Norla Antinoro


    of Tucson, Arizona






    Carrying a message from there to here...


    and back.



    A Partial Index



    2002.09.01: Racism, Religion and Radicals


    2002.06.10: Mormons -- a good word from a Red Indian Catholic


    2002.06.06: Civil Rights Act of 1964 etc.


    2002.05.07: Gun Talk


    2002.05.07: Norman Thomas


    2002.05.06: Traveling into Northern Arizona Indian Country


    2002.05.04: Utopia and Movement: Over The Mountains Yonder


    2002.04.27: Speaking as a Catholic



    2002.09.01: Racism, Religion and Radicals


    2002.06.10: Mormons -- a good word from a Red Indian Catholic


    2002.06.06: Civil Rights Act of 1964 etc.


    2002.05.07: Gun Talk


    2002.05.07: Norman Thomas


    2002.05.06: Traveling into Northern Arizona Indian Country


    2002.05.04: Utopia and Movement: Over The Mountains Yonder


    2002.04.27: Speaking as a Catholic


    2002.04.26: ACLU in the West


    2002.04.25: The IWW -- Definitely Not Violent


    2002.04.25: Trying again with Idaho ACLU


    2002.04.24: Norman Thomas and Tough Times and Rough Waters and Vision


    2002.04.05: Genocide


    2002.03.29: Fighting and Priorities


    2002.03.24: Repression and Quakers and FOR and Mine-Mill and Mississippi etc.


    2002.03.17: Firearms and Self-Defense


    2002.03.14: Iroquois Confederacy and related matters


    2002.03.08: Change Can Come -- and Good Change Will: A Southern Tale


    2002.02.28: Natives, Racism, and Deerfield


    2002.02.15: Our Motives Are Truly Pure


    2002.02.12: People-sparse Bush budget ; Native treaty rights and more...


    2002.02.24: Tribalism, Class, Southern Tribes, etc.


    2002.01.31: Generational Canyons -- and Bridges


    2001.12.30: Border Crossings


    2001.12.30: Religion/spirituality -- agnosticism and atheism


    2001.12.29: Indian Matters: Comment on the BIA situation


    2001.12.26: Reed, Lenin, Radicalism and a Bit More


    2001.12.21: Organizing Approaches


    2001.12.02: Hunter, was that you?


    2001.12.18: GI Bill: Minority Vets


    2001.12.03: Organizer's Reflections on Some Organizing Things [SDS and Much More]


    2001.11.26: Cougars [mountain lions, panthers] -- a coyote buddy -- and Ben Lilly


    2001.11.25: The South, Interracial Demonstrations, Unions, Desegregation, Civil Rights


    2001.11.19: Susan Chacin: A Loyal Opposition


    2001.11.18: Fight Back and Fight Ahead


    2001.11.16: Alcohol and Peyote and Native Americans


    2001.11.15: Hate Group Pathology and Related Matters


    2001.11.15: Complex [And Otherwise] Things


    2001.11.11: University of Arizona Slips Student Records To FBI


    2001.11.07: The Iroquois, Mine-Mill, Andy English's Comments


    2001.11.03: Radical/Labor History Notes: Wobblies, Metal Miners, Socialism, Anarcho-Syndicalism, Communism


    2001.11.03: Green Leader's Harassment and "Detention" at Bangor Airport By US Military Raises Extremely Serious, Critical Issues And Questions


    2001.11.02: Jesse Helms and North Carolina [See you never, Jesse!]


    2001.11.01: Jay Lovestone and the Reincarnating Specter


    2001.10.31: Flags


    2004.02.12: Coming of Age into the Red: A Western Native's Memoir


    2001.10.27: The Wobblies Richly Deserve Accuracy


    2001.10.25: The Crisis, Native matters and some other things


    2001.10.18: These Are Crucible Times For Radicals


    2001.10.13: New Open Letter To Radicals


    2001.10.10: Lecturing the Left - Who Needs That?






    Special Features






    and Keyword Columnists







    когда постельное белье привезёшь