MORE THAN A FIGHTING CHANCE: PERSONAL STRUGGLES IN IDAHO [HUNTER BEAR JANUARY 22 2006] NATIVE AMERICANS, GOOD AND EVIL FORCES, LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL -- THE DESERT AND COYOTES -- AND MORE [HUNTER BEAR 2/01/06]
For the most part, I am less inclined these
days to deal publicly -- and I
say, publicly -- with my personal health problems. Things are depressing
enough for any sensitive folk anywhere. On the other hand, I have gotten
several very reasonable personal inquiries -- so I will say a few words in a
But first --
When we initially moved here to Pocatello in late summer, '97, we did
encounter a great deal of official, usually covert hostility from every
"lawman" level save that of the Bannock County sheriff's department:
Surveilled, followed, phone problems, first class mail and Priority stuff
blatantly interfered with and many packages deliberately opened in crude
fashion. [ Some things were damaged, often substantially, and at least a few
things were lost.] All of this went on for several years -- occasionally
laced with obviously racist stuff. We fought back via formal verbal and
written complaints -- and, six years ago, launched our now massive
Hunterbear website. Most fundamentally, we did not even consider leaving.
Our reasons for initially coming here are explained in my long piece,
From the beginning, almost all of our neighbors were very friendly -- and
certainly remain so. Many, I should add, are Mormon. Thomas [grandson/son]
is a top basketball player and was almost immediately received happily into
one of the leading LDS student-age teams; and, in due course, also became a
mainstay of a major team on the nearby Fort Hall [Shoshone/Bannock]
reservation. We made connections with Natives and Chicanos [and the small
groups of "Others"] as well as Anglos [labor and clergy especially] --
although some academics at Idaho State University remain fearful of
association with us [me.] Thomas and Josie are both, however, grads of
Idaho State -- as well as Poky High. We have done our best to make
ourselves useful in advocate and related capacities.
And Eldri and the whole family are certainly reassuring folks.
All of this is a long story -- that's gotten steadily and substantially
better. In addition to a new and much better police chief [brought in from
afar and a sometime fellow hiker in the hills], there have been an
increasing number of speaking things for me and accompanying media
interviews and coverage. We liked, btw, last week's feature story and
photos which I posted here and there.
http://www.hunterbear.org/hunter_gray_in_the_gem_state.htm I should add
that the photographer, young enough to be a grandson, explained to me
beforehand that he liked to spend some time getting to know a subject before
he photoed. I have dealt with many new photographers in my life but never
before one who did that -- and he did it very well. He spent an hour with
good questions and proved a fine listener. His photo of me is now much on
So this piece of things is working through very nicely.
The Lupus thing, frankly, is more problematic than it's been for a long
time. Although substantial blood tests and periodic eye exams indicate
nothing relatively alarming at this point, I am weak -- weaker -- and
consistently have to sit at a mike when I give a talk. Feet and legs can be
uncooperative. There are weird rashes and unpleasant skin breakouts that
last a long time. I sleep badly for the most part and, lately, that very
faithful and psychic bell-wether, Cloudy the Bobcat mix, now sleeps
immediately adjacent to me -- as does another cat, Wooly II. Docs continue
to say there is no cure and hoped-for new medicines seem as mirage-like as
Cool Water in the Furnace Mountains of Death Valley.
A good lady friend, whose SLE is as bad as mine, had hoped for more of a
medicinally-effective experience but is now gearing up for Johns Hopkins [at
Baltimore] since signs of CNS [Central Nervous System] disorder have become
apparent -- a not uncommon result of Lupus. [Others in our very small Lupus
circle have been hospitalized.] SLE is, of course, genetic -- and our
Maryland-bound friend and her husband watch their children as we watch our
kids and grandchildren. I could joke her husband sardonically by telling him
that his chances of contracting SLE Lupus, as a Caucasian male, are about
one in ten thousand -- whereas with Us [minorities and women], though still
a rather rare thing, it's much, much more likely. But I did point out that I
am certain Caucasian males have as many medical crosses to bear in their own
right. It's now clear that I have carried my SLE for at least forty
years -- a mild upsurge 'way back which I fought off without docs; then,
some odd things along the way; and the big explosion in the summer of 2003.
Dad, very Native, did not have it -- we never even heard of it -- but it's
obviously from his line and, in the Older Time, was probably interpreted as
witch-craft which may be as reasonable an explanation as any.
But my mind is very clear and, even when my hands become cramped, I can type
well enough to post letters and list-messages. For someone who, until
December '98, knew nothing of computers, this advance into Tech has been a
Godsend. And so are our many good friends from afar -- some old, many new.
We continue to hope that my old immunity, traditionally very powerful, can
rise up and force this thing into really long term remission -- as happened
'way back in my much younger days. And there are mornings especially where
things -- however temporarily -- seem more OK. Early this morning, I
watched once again, now via DVD, the HBO film, In Pursuit of Honor. In this
essentially true story from about the time I was born, a handful of
commendably maverick U.S. Army cavalrymen defy "authority" [including the
Ultimate: General Douglas MacArthur], and take 400 horses -- who are facing
literal genocide from an Army moving into full-scale mechanization -- from
the Mexican border [probably at Ft Huachuca] to Canada and very receptive
safety. [I continue to hope that Canada, in which I have far more relatives
on both sides of my family than in the 'States, will once again be fully
receptive to all U.S. refugees.]
But we ourselves do intend to remain right here, "In the Mountains of
Eastern Idaho," and we shall certainly continue to try to make ourselves
useful. When I see the rare fog outside, as today, I remember the Old
Wobblies of my youth in Seattle -- and I know our momentarily clouded
mountains right here are still there.
And when I watched our fine "Horse movie" early this morning, I recalled
how it played frequently on HBO more than two years ago and was always seen
faithfully by me when, in various quickly sequential time periods, I was
undergoing all sorts of medically diagnostic tests -- lots of blood,
colonoscopy, bone marrow, cat scans, X-Rays, Whatever. Then, the obvious
medical presumption was that I suffered from some sort of profound and
exotic blood cancer. To be frank about it, none of those physicians seemed
then to know anything about Lupus [nor did we] but, when it was finally
diagnosed, again and yet again and again, and That was truly It, they have
learned much quickly and well from me!
So when I see In Pursuit of Honor -- bright and uplifting in the midst of
great drama -- I always remember those days when "In X hours, we have to see
Dr so-and-so for the results of the Latest Expedition into me." If It had
been one of the expected blood cancers, there would be more of a specific
time-line. But I'll take this SLE -- acute as mine is -- and an almost
literal Clock Without Hands. The uncertainty of it all gives me at least
the sense of a Fighting Chance. And, with those things all around us in
which we believe, however Unseen they may be, I have more -- much more --
than simply that.
"Nothing lives long," goes a time-honored Native death song, "Only the Earth
and the Mountains." We have to do our very best in the time space allotted
us. We will.
It's good to hear from you, Hunter Bear! I
heard from Nigel that Al Maund
was rescued from New Orleans and is now in Cleveland. The old warriors
Note by H: Al Maund is author of The Big Boxcar and The International. Chuck is a leading authority on worker safety. Nigel Hampton is a writer and a retired English professor. We all knew one another ages ago via the International Chemical Workers Union.
From Ed Pickersgill -- who has posted my piece, along with others of mine, in my section of his My Town website:
More than a fighting chance
by Hunter Gray
22 January 2006
Thank you for this e-mail.
I was thinking of you earlier today as I looked at- ever new- the Sun on the water,
the Genesee river in this case.
Yes to your implacable forbearance, Yes to the inevitable, organic sighs.
You need to know that your inspirational energy comes through; however you're feeling, whatever you write , and whether you intend to be so or not.
What phenomenal gift of a person you are my friend.
I will increase my 'holding you in the Light' as the Society of Friends put it, inclusive of blue sky, fog and it all.
Tim [McGowan] Note: Tim and Theresa McGowan are Godparents of our youngest daughter, Josie,
GOOD AND EVIL FORCES, LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL, AND MORE [HUNTER BEAR
NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:
One of the more perceptive questions that I've been asked in the relatively
recent past came in trenchant fashion from my newspaper reporter/key editor
son, Pete [Mack], when he asked, "If you had to choose 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.
He asked that in the late Fall of 2003, when I had at least one foot into
the Fog of Immortality.
So far, so good as far as my mind, thinking, writing and speaking are
concerned. But, perhaps because of the natural uncertainty, I never pass up
a speaking request [if it is physically possible] and I always answer the
many Hunterbear-website questions sent to me each week. I have always had a
good response record on honest questions and, as a professor, kept very
broad and quite flexible office hours -- always open as well to student
calls and visits to my home. A fine older friend, Jim Dombrowski, originally
from Florida, and in later life the New Orleans-based executive director of
the Southern Conference Educational Fund, for which I was privileged to work
for a good spell as Field Organizer, was a man who answered almost all mail
he received. Another in this welcome genre was venerable Elmer Keith,
Salmon Idaho, and a nationally known outdoor writer [Sports Afield] for many
decades. One of Beba's prize possessions was a painstakingly written
response from Mr Keith, following a carefully written very youthful hunting
Yesterday, I received a very serious and complex long query from a
non-Indian. My impression is that he is young. Here, minus his name, is my
response -- now posted simply in the interests of stimulating thought and
maybe broadening a few horizons -- even though I suspect many will disagree
with a point or two. His questions are pretty clearly indicated by my
Dear J. [from Hunter Bear, 1/24/06] [Native Americans, Good and Evil
Forces, Lost Tribes of Israel, and More]
You have asked several questions and I'll give you my opinion -- but you
should recognize, of course, that it is just that. And in the Western
Hemisphere there are as many tribal cultures as there are the thousands of
Native tribal/national societies. There are, certainly, many common
components and values.
Among the parapsychological [ESP] dimensions that have been pretty well
proven via observation of spontaneous phenomena and also through scientific
inquiry in labs -- telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition etc -- is
telekinesis which is sometimes known as psychokinesis: simply stated, mind
over matter. Whether these and/or other paraspych qualities are universal
or limited to unique individuals is speculative. Personally I think all
humans have some of these qualities -- though with some they are closer to
the surface; and, too, there are some cultures [tribal] that nourish them
and others [ much of the Anglo urban industrial world] that seek to repress
I personally have no problem seeing positive, good, healing and helping
and protective qualities stemming and being stimulated by the Creator-force.
Many scientists would disagree with me on the matter of Creator. But I
think bona fide [well trained] tribal Medicine Men [or, in some cases,
women] have, comparatively speaking, much more "ready" telekinetic abilities
which, stimulated and shaped by time-honored religious ritual in the context
of traditional religious ceremony, can effect healing ["great and small"]
and protection and many other desirable things.
For those who play the role of Witches, I also see the "relatively more
"ready" telekinetic abilities" "gone bad" and I see the Skinwalkers, whether
or not they have any open psychic abilities, as deviants: dupes and pawns of
the Witch. In the case of Witches and Skinwalkers, I firmly believe the
basic motive is just plain larceny in the most crass sense: planting
"spells" for money and/or frightening people out of their usually very rural
homes and just plain robbing them.
An authentic Medicine Man does not seek material wealth -- though it is
usually considered proper to bring some sort of gift [e.g.,perhaps tobacco,
or a good blanket.] A Witch always demands its fee in advance.
Personally, I don't see Supernatural Evil as a reality -- but I do see
Supernatural Good as very real. Of course, I recognize that, however anyone
sees the Supernatural or even whether one recognizes any of it as Real,
there are many good people and good actions and there are people whose lives
and actions are evil by the mores of their society -- and in many cases
those of Humanity in general.
Of course, there are many good and thoughtful people who do indeed feel
there is Supernatural Evil.
I think Good always transcends Evil -- sooner or later.
On the Lost Tribes of Israel, I would not attribute too much. There are
many rivers that have mixed with the Anglo Europeans and produced those of
the present day. Some of those contributing streams come from Asia and some
from sections of Africa and some from the Middle East. There is certainly
no question about Semitic [Jewish] admixture in Europe -- especially eastern
Europe but there are many questions about just how "old" that is.
I am familiar, friendly, and respectful regarding the LDS [Mormon] faith,
which does hold [among its other teachings], the migration of lost Israeli
tribes into the Americas. I do feel that the overwhelming weight of
evidence re the "origin" of Native Americans lies almost completely in the
broad realm of northeastern Asia -- with a very long period of Bering
Straits land-bridge crossover into the "New World." [This doesn't rule out
occasional visitors from other regions -- such as the Vikings for which a
fair amount of evidence re Nova Scotia now exists.] And, in the broad realm
of Native American ethnicity, there have always been many physical
variations. But the basic stock is certainly Mongoloid -- although many
scientists now classify Native Americans as a "separate stock" -- although
with far-off origins in present day Siberia and Mongolia and environs.
Native people are divided on this. Many hold to the traditional Creation
explanations held by the culture of each tribal nation -- and the
presumption there is that Native people originated in this hemisphere.
Others see Northeastern Asia origin as the explanation. And many of us see
the traditional tribal Creation explanations in symbolic terms -- I,
personally, certainly do. Everyone agrees that Native American people have
been on these shores for many, many, many thousands of years.
However, I see no reason why an Israeli tribe or tribes could not have, at
some very, very archaic point, moved into the Northeastern Asia setting and
crossed into the New World. People migrate and people "mix."
There are many fine books on Native Americans [and, sadly, many that are not
so good.] On the Navajo, I recommend -- as fairly easily secured in any
good college or university library -- the works of Clyde Kluckhohn and
Dorthea Leighton. There are several very solid works by these scholars and,
although they were done in the mid-20th century, have much continuing value.
A quite good and recent book on the Navajo -- should not be hard to find,
is, Dine' -- A History of the Navajos, by Peter Iverson [Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press, 2002.] A big book, it is replete, among
other things, with solid references. Monty Roessel, himself Navajo, has
many fine photos therein.
Although it is not always easy to find -- I have a copy -- Ancient America
and the Book of Mormon, by Milton Hunter and Thomas Stuart Ferguson
[Oakland, California: Kolub Book Company, 1950] does a fine job of
presenting the Lost Tribes in the context of Mormon scholarship.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any further queries, I will try to
answer them -- but I may not be able to write back quickly. Take care and
all the best.
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
THE DESERT AND COYOTES [HUNTER BEAR 2/01/06]