BIRTHDAY SOLIDARITY MESSAGES [FROM
FEBRUARY 14 AND BEYOND] -- HUNTER GRAY / HUNTER BEAR -- FEBRUARY
A few days before my birthday, Steve
Rutledge sent a kind greeting. Steve was a student at Tougaloo, very active
in our Jackson Movement, and now is a long time human rights activist in
West Virginia. H.
Time to wish Hunter a Happy Birthday!
yes!!! its all good Hunter.....
Well, actually, Edward, I am 74. [That why I
recall the Western saying, "Hoover Beef" so well. And I was born during
a solar eclipse.] But, assuming you have me in mind, I am deeply
appreciative and grateful for your complimentary sentiments and for the
good thoughts from a throng of Friends and Fellow Workers.
All of my offspring and Eldri remembered this
day, Probably doing better on those things than I.
Our very best to you -- and All -- from this
snowy scene in Idaho. [But the Sun is finally shining today -- and we
see that as a Great Good Sign.]
In Solidarity, Hunter
74...... now that's a better notch!!!!
Valentine's Day ten years from now
I'll get it right. Edward
Well Happy Birthday Hunter!!
It's a double day for an Arizona boy for sure. That must have been quite
special to share the same birthday as your state.
Thanks much for your upbeat comments regarding my birthday --
and that of our Great and Sovereign State.
I imagine that, as you and I have grown older, we really haven't
changed greatly. As Arizona has grown older, it's gotten a hell of a
lot bigger -- at least in certain areas. For all of its problematic
dimensions, growing up at and around Flagstaff helped me much as I've
gone further and further in Life. [Learned to be tough and resilient!]
It is, of course, much bigger than the 5,000 plus it was when I was
a kid -- and it got to 7,000 around the time I graduated from high
school in '51. I gather that it's about ten times that now.
I'm sure Tucson, big as its gotten, remains a good place. We in
the North never liked Phoenix. Last time I saw that, it reminded me of
But whatever Humanity has done, for better or worse, to the
Great Grand Canyon State, the wilderness regions remain pleasantly
intact. "Nothing lives long," sings the Cheyenne death song, "Only the
Earth and the Mountains."
However, I have a strong optimistic feeling about my medical
situation and also about yours. We are fighters and we have good things
for which to fight. [I am, I should add, rather psychic.]
Our old Jackson Movement motto -- still given as the sign-off in
letters from my students who were so much the shock troops in that
extremely hard-fought campaign -- has always been, WWW.
And that -- which I tender to you and myself -- is We Will Win.
All best and all our good thoughts and prayers to you, Norla!
Thanks very much indeed, Sam. I'll try at least to make the century
mark. I have always appreciated that fine poem -- Hunter -- you did during
that very grim period a little more than four years ago. It's always on our
hope you are having a great birthday. All the various aggravations in
re lists should not interfere with that.
By the way, what animals are living with you now? I noticed you did not
refer to any when listing your blessings on another post.
At this point: Two dogs -- the older Shelty and the
young-middle-aged Australian cattle dog; three aging cats; one rabbit;
the eternal turtle. One kitty, Wooly, small and black, was a rival [for
my attention] with the always remembered [many times each day],
Cloudy. But they also were empathetic with one another. She was
devastated at Cloudy's passing but, early on, assumed Cloudy's
ministerial duties re me. Two of the cats, Wooly and her brother, were
at different times recently in precarious shape. We ourselves nursed
them back to a pretty full measure of good health.
My birthday is March 26, but I expect something more than
Steven F. McNichols
Agreed, Steven -- although in my case, I have about everything I need.
Plenty of firearms, lots of Western clothes from the LDS big thrift shop
[Deseret Industries], three tobacco pipes etc.[The latter did not, of
course, come from the Mormon shop.] Our family here does feel I need one
more gift. I've been tempted to ask for a half gallon of Johnny Walker
Red -- but this probably isn't the best time for that -- for what would be a
quite affectionate reunion. [I did insist that the jacket cover of the
first edition of my book, Jackson Mississippi, reflect the deep red color of
the Johnny Walker Red label and I sent a tear piece from a bottle.] So I've
settled for simply some more of my whiskey-flavored smoking tobacco.
March 26 is one of my now many significant anniversaries -- but too long a
tale for the moment.
Happy birthday, Hunter -- though I trust that, however bloody our
into the world always are, yours was not as bloody as the entrance of
Arizona, preceded as it was by the massacres of Mexicans and Apaches.
Thanks, John, for the B-Day greeting. And yes, you are quite
right -- Arizona has been, to cite the title of a library book from my
school days, Arizona's Dark and Bloody Ground. That involves a famous
sheep/cattle feud that spread over three generations or so [to the edge
of the 20th Century] in the Territorial days -- but the title
exemplifies a good part of the ethos, and not just the founding period.
The sanguinary list is long and still growing.
I was fortunate in growing up to a large extent with much
involvement in wilderness areas in the northern part of the state and
also with much family involvement in the Navajo Nation -- always very
much sovereign turf in very depthy, vital ways.
About the time I was born, Apache descendants of Geronimo's
band, whose kin had been able to escape into the Sierra Madre
Occidental in Mexico, returned briefly and burned three small Arizona
border towns. The governors of Arizona, California, and New Mexico
mobilized National Guard units.
Glad that we survived our entrance, John. I trust the world has
profited from our presence.
Take care and all best -
[Added Note By Hunter Bear Following Several Apt
While a few Mexicans -- in Mexico itself -- were scalp
hunters for bounty paid by the Mexican government, they were very rare.
After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, they didn't function within the
new U.S. territories. While Mexicans in the American Southwest -- e.g.,
Arizona and New Mexico -- were not murdered en masse, they were
frequently murdered by Anglos seeking their land and water. And later,
of course, they were victimized by the copper bosses -- e.g., the Jerome
and Bisbee deportations of striking miners in the summer of 1917 and in
many sorry events thereafter.
I might add that scalp hunting was introduced by the English in the
latter 1600s in what is now Maine. The practice is still known by the
Natives there -- the Wabanaki nations -- as "kinjamus" [after King
James.] Minnesota briefly paid bounty on Native scalps at the beginning
of the 1860s -- but broad public opinion ended it quickly.
Yes, Happy Birthday, Happy Valentine's, Happy and Productive Life, and
just a bunch of Happys.
It's getting ready to do a big snow around here, a good bit less,
though, than the 10 feet or so that buried houses in Chama a couple of
Obama's still got big hills to climb to get the nomination--Ohio and
especially Texas with all its Latino voters who are still being trained,
by the Clintons at this point, to think black people are the enemy (what
a gift the powerful got with the addition of a second large bloc of
minority voters to pit against the other bloc).
- Reber Boult
Great to hear from you, Reber -- down there in the Land of
Enchantment [which, snow-wise, is beginning to sound like Flagstaff when
I was a kid and had to shovel out a long driveway each early morning
when we lived in Sunnyside, now East Flagstaff, along with all sorts of
"marginal" people.] We've had four or five waves of snow right here. A
big one yesterday. The road up to our area was blocked and chaos
reigned generally in the Snake country. Josie had an unneverving trip
back from Blackfoot -- even in her Jeep with 4WD and snow tires. The
Sun shown today, finally. Temps haven't been bad.
I've never really understood Texas. We used to say that the rich
Anglo Texans would drive into New Mexico and Arizona and look down on
our home folks like we were,at best, poor relations. Beba may recall
our driving in my pickup from Tsaile [Navajo Nation, of course] to
Jackson. We had an Indian rights sticker on our back bumper, New Mexico
plates [McKinley County], and a 45/70 rifle in our gunrack. We were
followed for at least fifty miles by a Texas state cop -- but, in the
end, were never stopped.
But it felt good to get into the freedom state of Louisiana.
Take care and all our best, H
And Reber Writes:
"I've never really understood Texas."
As you know, Hunter, New Mexicans have occasion to know a good bit about
white Texans, what with Catron (actually from Missouri but surrounded by
Texans), Santa Fe Ring, burning the Chicanos' land records, a few cattle
barons, and those thugs pillaging under the banner of being Confederate
soldiers. "Involuntary research," I call it. The present day summary
is "If God had intended Texans to ski he'd've made bullshit white." Or
as the ski area employee told me as he turned the traffic away from
going to the overflowing ski area, "Texas is empty and the ski area is
Shortly after the U.S. took Texas from Mexico, some functionary went
there and looked around. What he saw was too many Mexicans. So the
government hired some bounty hunters to go to Europe and bring back some
white people. That's why Texas has a lot of people descended from
Germans and Czechs.
And all the more welcome considering Hunter's health crisis from a
few years ago. The spirit is stronger than the flesh!
Now that is indeed a kind and timely note of encouragement, Louis. [We
always remember that fine box of New York City candy you sent me right after
one of those miserable hospital incarcerations. That could well have been
the spark that played a signal role in keeping my body and soul more or less
linked -- as I began the long and tough upward climb to a semblance of
living normalcy. We have always appreciated that mightily. [Being a
communalist, I did share some of that with our family -- not a lot
[sometimes I'm not a pure communalist.]
It's very good to hear from you, Louis. We always wish you very well
indeed. Yours was the first discussion list I ever saw, brought to my
attention by the intrepid Maria. That was in the early Fall of 2000 --
another time for sure. But it's still the same struggle.
And indeed, from one who is your senior in years, but your junior in
wisdom and courage, a joyous birthday.
Thanks so very much, David -- but you are for sure no slouch with
respect to wisdom and courage. We got started in this Save the World
Business at close to the same time, have known many of the same people,
tangled with the same issues. We both seem to keep going but you do
have two or three years seniority on me. I look to you for Example --
and always remember your adage: "A man who hates cats can't be all
good." [I know our good colleague Sam Friedman joins us in that!]
All best, H
And A Cat Comment By Hunter Bear -- responding to fine
comments from David McReynolds and Sam Friedman:
Apt comments from yourself, David, and from Sam.
Yes, they do know who is master and servant. The
late Frank Dolphin, cowboy and artist and a thousand other things
from a thousand places across the Real West, always said, "Cats
always know who owns who."
Ours have this whole family very well trained.
They've accomplished with me what no K-12 teacher or administrator
May they always be with us. Best to Shaman -- and
to Sam's kitties [whose names I may not know but who I know are
Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago
and Dorothy Lockhart
are happy you are one of us.
[ON A WONDERFULLY LARGE, GREAT AND COLORFUL
And it's very good for us to be part of the Ethical Humanist Family.
Eldri and I recall so fondly our great Jeep Cherokee trip to Chicago,
now almost five years ago, when I gave the Founder's Day address and a
Native Challenges workshop as well. A super high point was meeting all
of you -- and it's been a consistently warm, encouraging, and always
up-lifting experience and relationship for us ever since.
And I am glad that our family was able to finally come to positive
terms with the memory of William Mackintire Salter. Coming to Chicago
completed the final bridging of that historic breach in our family.
We shall always be with you -- as we know you are with us.
I've long admired you, learned from you and shared some of your
struggles through this list.
I surely wish you a happy birthday with the love of family and
friends and enjoyment of the revitalizing sense of possibility (and
maybe even movement) developing in this country.
Here is a poem by Seamus Heaney (which you probably know) that I hope
Happy birthday, remarkable organizer and inspiration to so many.
Human beings suffer,
torture one another, they
get hurt and get hard. No
poem or play or song can
fully right a wrong
inflicted and endured.
The innocent in gaols
on their bars together. A
stands in the graveyard dumb. The
police widow in veils
faints at the funeral home
History says, Don't hope on
this side of the grave. But
then, once in a lifetime the
longed for tidal wave of
justice can rise up, and
hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great
the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore is
reachable from here.
Believe in miracles and
cures and healing wells.
Call the miracle
double-take of feeling. if
there's fire on the mountain or
lightning and storm and a
god speaks from the sky.
That means someone is
outcry and the birth-cry of
new life at its term.
Our admiration is mutual.
Yours are good and kind words indeed -- an especially pleasant and
encouraging way to close yet another day. And it's been a very good day,
through and through.
Good -- very good -- to hear from good friends.
I like that piece of poetry -- and am glad to become acquainted with
Seamus Heaney's work. He very obviously knows that of which he writes so
movingly. I'm taking the liberty of sending this message of yours, with
his, to the several lists in our little "system." It will all be well
A packet with a letter and much more came the other day from Joan
Mulholland [Joan Trumpauer.] Among all of the very nice pieces was a
photo of yourself and Claire O'Connor. You all look just fine! Joan has
always been the wide-ranging scout who keeps track of so many of us.
When I think of bona fide community organizing -- and Chicago -- I think
of your good work. And that, of course, always continues on your part,
wherever you may be. Always will.
Once again, many thanks, Heather. We will certainly keep in touch.
Yes, Hunter, let me
chime too, happy birthday to you,
as I am happy to know you as a neighbor, near or far.
You're always a welcome voice, Dale, from the truly Frozen North!
And you are indeed a fine and loyal old friend.
Lisa calls at least once a week, passes on the news about Grand
Forks, North Dakota in general, and what she can gather about the
merry-go-round at your bastion [or penal institution], University of
You may have gathered from an earlier post of mine that UND
president, Charles Kupchella, sent me the [genuinely high grade]
special UND 2008 Calendar -- along with a quasi-personal letter. I
found this a little surprising given the many years feud we've been
having with the place. But it's on my wall -- and I can look at the
April page [the earlier ones have too much snow] and see that old
battleground, Merrifield. My memories of That involve, of course,
countless fine students, and a few faculty companeros such as
Take care, old friend, and always remember that our door is
always open here in Idaho. I miss our long conversations in
our living room on 49th Street -- as does Eldri -- and the rich
discussions we used to have via lunch at Hardee's.
And, here, I done did fergit and neglected to send the Prof. a
of chowcklits. This'll reflect badly on m'grades, Ah jist KNOW it.
But yer only 74?!? Shee-YOOT! An' here Ah wuz, thanking you wuz an
old feller. Y'had me fooled, Prof., y'did.
-Michael C. Marino
(Legend has it he really talks like that.)
(And has before been cited by a Federal Judge for "Tawlkin' lahk one
o' them there fellers frum the Sowth! $50 n' time served!")
Thanks much indeed, Michael. You sound in genuinely fine
form, yourself. My maternal grandfather made it to 98 -- ever
the capitalist to almost the very end -- probably toughened by
his growing-up in Dakota Territory capped off by his stint as a
mining engineer in the Idaho Coeur d'Alenes. Mother was 95 when
she left for the Beyond -- though in the latter stages her .38
revolver had to be surreptitiously slipped away from her.
Eldri's father hit 95, a consistently gentle person.
I intend to be around for a long time -- and you sound just
like you always have: sparky as Hell.
Hunter – Just want to chime in with all the others in hoping
that you had a great 74th birthday/Valentine’s
Day. I enjoy hearing about your life and keep hoping that I
can get out to see you when I’m in the West. I hope that
you got our annual Christmas letter, so that you know that
things are going well for us. As for birthdays, I remember
well my 35th birthday – April 18, 1978 – because
you had come to my class at the seminary and then you bought
me a birthday scotch at Grumpy’s tavern! All the best - Joe
I do indeed recall your birthday at Grumpy's. Lots
of Scotch and related things that day! Great times in
Rochester! [I hear occasionally from Tim and they, as
you most likely know, are doing well. I am sure they
will survive the winter.]
We did indeed receive your, as always, fine full
Christmas letter -- to which we always look forward.
Fine Christmas letters are an Art and you all mastered
that long, long ago.
I suspect that, as always, we all agree pretty much
on the contemporary political dimensions in this country
-- and on global matters as well.
I have always remembered the time we polled your St
Bernard's Seminary class [social theology] on certain
aspects of our quite successful campaign on behalf of
the hundred or so [plus their families] genuinely
imprisoned Algonquin mink workers at Lester Bennett's
feudal ranch in 1977 into 1978. A key question, as you
well recall I'm sure, was the matter of "pragmatic
ethics" re Elliott's feigned love affair with Bennett's
"apple" Algonquin control person, Mary Jane Smith -- and
our subsequent gathering of much valuable intelligence
data on the Bennett operation, capped off by our slick
maneuver, via the duped Mary Jane [who was maneuvered
away by Elliott early on for a "night on the town"], in
order to get all of the Algonquins and their families
into Rochester to St Francis Xavier for the Great Strike
Rally. As I recall, two thirds of the potential priests
felt our maneuver, under the dire circumstances, was
quite justified. The other one-third dissented on
somewhat narrower ethical grounds.
Too damn bad that Elliott is now gone. [Elliott
Ricehill, Ho-Chunk [Winnebago] passed away in 2006 in
Wisconsin. See, for his background and an outline
of the Algonquin struggle at Bennett's ranch [with some
love to you, Hunter.
Glad you are here for another year, let's make it 20.
Thanks very much,
Macdonald -- and you are certainly doing great grassroots
work for sure on several key social justice fronts. We are surviving our
Idaho winter and trust you are handling yours in the Canadian prairie in
fine form. Can't say I miss the North Dakota blizzards and 35 below, with
100 below wind-chills. But, as they say there, "It's a dry cold and keeps
the riff-raff out." I have never quite understood what they meant by the
I am planning to make at least the century mark. Have to out-do some of my
long-lived forebears who made it deep into their 90s.
And we will both keep fighting -- all the way!
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
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