Thanks very much indeed to Ernest Stevens, Jr. and NIGA (National Indian Gaming Association) for honoring Dr King and the four Native civil rights activists and leaders. I'm greatly pleased to be included in this group, some of whom I've met and with whom I've worked at various points.  Hunter Gray (John R Salter, Jr)


1968:  Left to Right -- John R Salter, Jr [Hunter Gray],  John Salter III,  John  R Salter [Frank Gray]



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.]

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



Dear Hunter,
The Awards Committee of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Story Tellers, recognizing your commitment to the vision of Wordcraft Circle, as well as your own personal accomplishments, has chosen you as ELDER RECOGNITION AWARD  for your commitment to the Wordcraft Circle vision.
The awards ceremony was held at the Returning the Gift XIII:  Celebrating Our Words at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada on Friday, May 13, 2005.  We are aware that many of you were unable to attend the gathering, but we know you were there in spirit and we certainly tried to honor your work in a way fitting of your achievement.  We hope you will accept this small gesture of our appreciation for all the spirit, mind, heart and body that went into your creative process.  As Dr. Lee Francis, a founder, was fond of saying, "You Done Good!"
Wordcraft Honors and Awards recipients are selected through a process of nomination by Wordcraft members in good standing followed by voting by the Wordcraft National Caucus.  Again, congratulations on your award on behalf of the entire Wordcraft Circle family!
Lee Francis IV
National Director
Albuquerque, New Mexico



Alice Azure  4/27/05

Again, good news on being recognized as an elder, in the truest sense of the
word, not a self-proclaimed font of wisdom or a publicity hound, but someone
who has, through deeds and words, earned the title.  I've never heard you
describe yourself as an elder and it calls to mind the old saying, "If you
meet the Buddha on the path, kill him."  Meaning, of course, that the true
Buddha would never identify himself as such.  [John Salter, 4/28/05]

I am very well pleased by this.  You clearly deserve it.  It is gratifying when others recognize the worth of someone who deserves it!
best  --  sam [friedman]  4/28/05

Congratulations on your award well deserved.  Gwen Patton 4/28/05
Congratulations on the writing award.  To be honored by friends like these is wonderful.
Ed King  4/28/05
Congratulations, Hunter. You should be very proud. Steve [McNichols]  4/28/05
Congratulations! David [McReynolds]  4/28/05
Congratulations, Hunter.  Recognition to one who fights for all lifts us all.  Dale [Jacobson] 4/28/05
Congratulations on winning your award!  Dawn Mitchell Lough  4/29/05

Dear Hunter,

     Congratulations!  It is wonderful to hear that your work is being acknowledged for its excellence.
     I hope that you are well.

Best wishes,  Kathy Marden


I'm greatly enjoying your on-line diary. It's sort like
having another very perceptive pair of eyes.

Best,   Barry Cohen


Congratulations!! I can't think of anyone more worthy. It looks like you may have found Emory, how appropriate; keep in touch, glad to hear you are fine. You and the family
are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Alta Bruce  5/02/05
Injury Control Specialist
Indian Health Service
Box 160, #1 Hospital Road
Belcourt, ND 58316


Note the many tributes to Hunter Gray for a lifetime of organizing.
Duane Campbell [DSA Anti-Racism Commission]  5/02/05


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 -


Awww, that's sweet.  We knew that.  Sheila Michaels  5/03/05

Regardless of what your son says, I think you are as gentle as a pussy cat (e.g., Cloudy of the piercing claws). Best,  Sam Friedman   5/03/05

It's late here, around  7:30 pm.  I returned from
Sudan two days ago and catching up on events has
been a bear. 
E.  5/03/05


On that damned lupus thing, I can only say that,
like everyone else you know, I admire your hanging in there
and hope for a miracle. 

Bill Mandel  5/05/05


Hunter, [from Scott Jones   5/19/05]

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 friend.

From Bob Gately:

Your words are indeed a blessing, Hunter Bear..and if the salt of the earth
loses it savor, wherefore goes it for its savor ? To those who know where
we're coming from and bless our endevors, I imagine. You are my blessing, to
be sure.

While we pray for your continued good health, we pray also that all the
ideals that you have championed for over all these years, as well as my ole
mans, will endure and that peace and harmony with one another will prevail
\in the future ever being born. . . [Robert Gately, 5/28/05]


Congratulations on the elder recognition award! It seems like just yesterday you were nominated. Nice short bio as well.   Robert C., Solidarity Organizer  5/30/05


Hello Folks,  [From Scott Colborn]  5/31/05

There are occasionally people that you meet that you will remember for the
rest of your life.  I'm privileged to know Hunter Gray and to call him a
friend.  You can read below about a recent award that Hunter received, that
will take it's place among many others.

This is a man who has worked his entire life to help bring people together
and to help us realize our oneness with each other.

Congratulations, Hunter, from one of your many friends.  Keep up your good
work and may your days be long and joy-filled.

All the best.
Walk in Beauty, Peace.  Scott  [Colborn]


Congrats Hunter!

I haven't read all of your writing (you're very prolific!), but I've
learned a lot from what I have read. If anyone deserves the award it's
Your courage is inspiring.

Dan Murray  6/1/05
Congratulations, Hunter Bear!

A little recognition never hurt anyone, and your
contributions to the Rad-Green List have been beyond
measure! Many, many thanks.
Dale Wharton  M O N T R E A L   6/1/05


Congratulations, Hunter Gray!
A most well-deserved recognition of your work.
=Eric Bagai

" I have been reading your website -- and am continually moved by remembrance
and by your amazing accomplishments  . . ."
Chuck Levenstein   6/17/05

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    6/20/05


Dear Hunter,

Congratulations on your Wordcraft award!! 

Celine Nally   10/20/05


News stories on my Award/Honor are now appearing in  various newspapers.  This, from our Idaho State Journal [Pocatello region], Sunday, June 5 2005, was featured very prominently [bigger than this Web version.]  In addition, the paper even had a conspicuous inset once again providing my quoted comments in full.

Gray honored by Native writers group


Hunter Gray, Pocatello, (formerly John R. Salter Jr.) of 2000 Sandy Lane has received the  2005 Elder Recognition Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

This large organization, which also includes filmmakers and journalists, was founded in 1992-1993, primarily to stimulate high quality creativity in Native circles in the United States and Canada.

In association with the University of Lethbridge, it recently sponsored the First Nations Writing and Literary Festival at Lethbridge, Alberta, on May 11 - 14 at which the Honors and Awards Banquet was held.

When notified of the award, he commented: "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."

Gray, who is 71 years of age, was born John Randall Salter Jr. and grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona, - in a family with very close ties to the Navajo Nation and Laguna Pueblo. His native father, born Frank Gray, had been adopted and partially raised by a non-Indian couple named Salter who changed his name. Years ago, Hunter Gray returned legally to the Gray name.

Gray has been a social justice organizer in many parts of the U.S. since his early adulthood. Trained as a sociologist, he has taught extensively in colleges and universities - including Tougaloo College in Mississippi and Navajo Community College [now Dine' College] at Navajo Nation. In 1994, he retired as a full professor and former departmental chairman [and former chairman of Honors] at the American Indian Studies Department, University of North Dakota. He and his wife, Eldri, and their family have lived at Pocatello since 1997.

For two years Gray has been battling a virulent version of systemic lupus [SLE], a potentially lethal genetic disease for which there is now no cure.

His writings have reflected his varied and often colorful experiences. Although he has done prize-winning fiction, most of his written work involves Native rights, labor, civil rights and civil liberties issues: in dozens of publications as well as portions of various books.

His own book is "Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle & Schism" (1979 and Krieger, 1987); and he has written short monographs on various social justice and related topics.

He is presently at work on his autobiography as well as a study of Iroquois activists in the Rocky Mountain fur trade of the early 19th century. He also maintains a large Web site, Lair of Hunterbear at



Things went well last night at Idaho Falls [a good ways to the north of
Pocatello and on the edge of the Teton Basin] where I was the keynote
speaker at the well attended Truman Day Banquet sponsored by the Bonneville
County Democrats and drawing from a broad area.  Between 250 and 300 people
paid $35 and $40 per plate [depending on just when they bought the ticket]
for a rather sparse but tasty banquet plate. The affair was held at the Red
Lion hotel.

Eldri and I sat at the lead table, with Josie and Cameron [who drove us up
to Idaho Falls in a heavy rain] and with the capable master of ceremonies
and his wife -- and, very pleasantly indeed, with Cameron's grandparents, Mr
and Mrs Lin Whitworth of Inkom.  Lin, a crusty Western populist almost
exactly my age, is Idaho's veteran senior union labor person and a hard
fighter.  An old-time railroad man who spent years in the state senate, he
did well as Congressional candidate last fall despite very little money.
Among others, we were pleased to meet and visit with Jerry Brady, who has
been publisher of the Idaho Falls newspaper and, last fall, did very well as
gubernatorial candidate. [He plans to run again.]  Mr Brady worked with the
late Senator Frank Church in substantially assisting the formation of the
1963 Civil Rights Bill which became, of course, the key '64 Act -- and his
wife, with whom we also visited, had worked in DC in the old days with
Marion Berry and other SNCCers.

I spoke for the better part of an hour on the Civil Rights Movement --
bringing in some contemporary dimensions.  I used the Deep South as an
example where positive social/political change could occur against
tremendous odds -- if committed people fought for it in sensible and
systematic and hard-fighting fashion.  The audience, mostly but not
completely Anglo, was extremely attentive and visibly receptive.  Of course
I brought in my recently received and very welcome honor -- the Elder
Recognition Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and
Storytellers.  And I quoted my
youngest son, Peter [Mack] who, in his congratulatory e-mail, referred to me
as "the toughest son of a bitch" he knows -- thus abruptly ending my
self-perceived venerable saintliness.

Idabo, like any human setting, is complex.  I would caution our Eastern
friends about making quick "pop" judgments and classifications -- e.g.  "red
states," etc. [BTW, that term bothers me in its ambiguity since, as with
many older folk, it connotes other interesting things in the historical
sense.]  The dominance of Republican conservatism is not, in my opinion, all
that deep.  Some of it comes in the wake of the demise of Labor in two out
of three of its traditional Gem State bastions: hard rock  metal mining in
the Coeur d'Alenes  and lumbering in the Clearwater and adjoining districts.
The third citadel of Labor does hold on at Pocatello and environs in the
Union Pacific railroad operations -- although UP has been sporadically
shifting workers out of state -- and there is also  considerable phosphorous
mining and refining in this general area.   Boise, far to our west, is
becoming a major high-tech place and this may carry good potential Labor

Historically, it's worth pointing out that Idaho has had one of the heavier
socialist backgrounds; the Coeur d'Alenes were the primary birthplace of the
Western Federation of Miners which became Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers; an
Idaho jury in 1907 acquitted Bill Haywood and George Pettibone and freed
Charles Moyer in the infamous Steunenberg murder frameup;  and one of the
last really big IWW strikes in the West was the essentially successful
lumber strike in the mid-1930s which saw company gunmen shooting down
pickets with several deaths and many injuries. [Idaho's criminal syndicalism
law, by far and away the most extreme in the Western states, is still
technically on the books.] More recently, the state has had very liberal
Democrat Senator Frank Church [ousted in the Reagan wave of 1980] and, in
the 1990s, Larry Echohawk, Pawnee Indian, a Democrat who served as attorney
general and then almost won the governorship.  At least part of the Idaho
Republican delegation  is currently and openly critical of the Patriot Act
and its various collateral feathers.  And nationally, the  "gun control"
issue is  dead for the time being in national Democratic circles -- which
has very positive ramifications in the Mountain West and adjoining areas
like the Plains.  I picked up evidence of a good deal of support for Howard
Dean last night.

Alone in the entire throng, and in traditional Western fashion [everywhere
but in church], I wore my Stetson -- and my size 16 mountain boots as well.
In any event, I drew a very long, standing ovation.  At the conclusion of
the event, many came up and several, including Lin Whitworth, allowed
heartily that I am a tough s.o.b. "And so are you," said I to Lin.

Josie and Cameron, who had never heard me really speak like this before,
were impressed -- and that means much.

As Ever, Hunter [Hunter Bear]

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

Check out Surprise Tribute:

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]

John, I really rejoiced (can't think of another apt word) when I read about your speech at the Truman Day dinner.  I'm so happy that you are up to participating in such an event -- the traveling, etc.  Well, your son had it right:  you are indeed a tough s.o.b.
Warm regards to Eldri and the others.  Peace Love Justice Struggle, Clyde [Appleton]  5/08/05
Sounds like you're doing a good job of outrunning the Wolf.  Keep moving.
John Salter   5/08/05

Struggle is beautiful.
I am glad you did this in many ways!
sam [friedman]   5/09/05

 I continue to root for you and wish you all best.  I want you to know that I
am retiring from Kenyon in less than two more weeks, after 34 years here, and
40 in university and college teaching. It will be nice to end the "time
famine" which is part of the intense environment.  I've been blessed with a
love for teaching  and  am grateful for a fulfilling and fruitful career. You
know you have my thoughts and prayers.
Roy [Wortman]  History, Kenyon College  5/09/05

And again from Roy:
John Hunter:
Thank much for the good wishes.  And how you correctly intuited my acivities
after retirement!  I'll be teaching one seminar per semester and will be
busier  and more active than before, with Masonic VA Hospital visitation
program for shut-in veterans. And of course you are on target: I will be
pleased to contribute, as you do, to the dividends of ammo companies.  I gave
to myself a used Smith model 17 .22 revolver  as a plinker for retirement. 
Meanseason, know hom much I appreciate your good words, and wish you all best.
 I still have fondest memories of your fine and positive visit to Kenyon. 
Take good care.
Roy [Wortman]  History, Kenyon College  5/09/05
Attached are kind messages. [I am sure all are aware that Lupus translates
into Wolf.  What a singular injustice to those fine canines!]

Travel is presently very tough and the Idaho Falls junket is indeed a
positive milestone.  I should add that I mentioned SLE Lupus etc only very
briefly in my talk, and that at the very end.  But I did ask how many people
present -- in, say, the approximately 275 or so -- had ever heard of Lupus
and at least two dozen responded affirmatively.  I mentioned the especial
vulnerability of minority peoples to it -- and several Black people
vigorously nodded their heads.  And, of course, particularly aware of the
presence of many politically influential folk, I pointed out that little
Federal money has been appropriated at any point for the study of Lupus.

We are presently receiving very heavy rains -- most welcome.  Sam can attest
to the fact that, should a flood ever reach up to us, the whole world will
be gone.  [No floods expected.]

Best, H

From Peter Gray Salter  [5/10/05]

Sounds like you tailored your speech expertly -- if anyone needs a message
of hope, it's a room full of Democrats in Idaho in 2005. My friend -- the
city editor in Idaho Falls -- speaks highly of Brady.

Doesn't sound like you had to tailor your dress.

I'll call soon to hear more about it. In the meantime, a couple of things:
1. Working like hell to put the finishing touches on a 16-page special
section on the effect Whiteclay -- and the 11,000 cans of beer it sells
daily -- has on Pine Ridge. (16 pages -- that's bigger than your whole
newspaper). It comes out Sunday but it prints Wednesday. I'll send you a
2. I found this advance story on the Democratic fund-raiser. The reporter's
description of you probably put more people in the seats.

The keynote speaker is Pocatello native John Hunter Gray, a former
civil-rights activist.

If Gray's Web site, www, is indicative of what Democrats
will hear Saturday night, things will be lively.

A picture on his site shows a newspaper clipping of Gray, known then as
professor John R. Salter Jr., beaten and bloody. The caption below the
picture reads: "Bad beatings at Jackson: June 13, 1963 -- two days after
Medgar Evers was shot and killed. It helps a lot to have, as I have since
the hatch, a thick skull and a thick hide. When a horde of police charged, I
stood my ground -- facing them. I was clubbed several times, into bloody
unconsciousness; then taken to the Fairgrounds Stockade Concentration Camp;
finally to a hospital; then to jail. We were in the hard-core South, deeply
involved in the Movement, from 1961 well into 1967."

Gray retired as a professor of Indian Studies from the University of North
Dakota in 1994. He is the author of one book, "Jackson Mississippi: An
American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism."



I faithfully carry, on my 1998 Jeep Cherokee wagon [the unembellished
version], with its trusty and necessary 4WD, several stickers:  One says
"Organize," one indicates UAW, and one proclaims "I'm a Gun-Toting Idaho
Democrat."  I think the late and good Gene McCarthy would approve of them
all for he was [as I am] a good union man and a Life Member of NRA. I have a
respectable collection of conventional hunting firearms and one .22 Mag
revolver -- to all of which I'm devoted [as I am, I hasten to say as an
organizer, to tactical nonviolence].  Anyway, I've always liked and
respected Gene McCarthy who was, as I shall explain, responsible for a
"brief" traffic ticket.

[As an aside, I was never impressed with Allard [Al] Lowenstein, the
ostensible political wizard, who gave his efforts to McCarthy early on in
the developing '68 campaign and then abandoned him for Robert Kennedy when
RFK announced his intentions.  Ours had been the first Movement home in the
Jackson/Tougaloo region to which Al came, representing the national
Democratic party, in July, 1963.  He quickly alienated some of us -- and
eventually most Movement folks.  I saw him last in Jackson at a large civil
rights retrospective in late '79, we visited and Beba met him, and he was
shot to death by Dennis Sweeny -- a deranged Movement veteran -- a few
months later at New York.]

When we finally left the South -- to which we had gone in '61 -- in the
Summer of '67, we went to Seattle where we spent an interesting year.  There
we put a McCarthy sticker on our little state-of-the-art '66 Volvo.  Nothing
unusual about that in the Pacific Northwest.  When we left Seattle in the
summer of '68, Martin King was dead and so was Robert Kennedy, but Gene
McCarthy lived on and our sticker [which had, as Eldri recalls, a Yellow
Daisy on it], remained faithfully.  We stopped for a few days in my hometown
of Flagstaff and I parked in front of our home -- as I had with many
vehicles and license plates since I'd gotten, in the very far off past, my
archaic but trusty '29 Model A coupe.  At that time, Flag [which in my
childhood had to struggle to claim 4,000], had no more than 7,000 people and
it now has almost 70,000.

The City Limits had long before, owing to rapid population growth, caught up
with our out-on-the-northern edge home. [The San Francisco Peaks smiled
right down as always.] I hadn't been parked there for more than half an hour
when someone called my folks and said I had a parking ticket on my
windshield.  I went out, looked at the unpleasant and unexpected missive,
seeing no reason for the parking ticket and noting the cop's name.  It did
seem quickly obvious that a Washington state plate  with a Gene McCarthy
sticker had a lot to do with this.

The cop's parents -- and especially his mother -- were friends of my
parents.  The conclusion of this was typically small town.  My mother,
against my wishes [I planned to visit the Mayor who I knew], called the
cop's mom, and she called her son and raised Hell.  With a George Wallace
sticker on his police car, he rushed over and retrieved the ticket,
destroying it with profuse apologies.

Before long, we were heading eastward, eventually to wind up on the very
bloody South/Southwest side of Chicago where I organized for a number of
productive years.  Flagstaff eventually adjusted to the massive and
regrettable influx of out-of-staters and, even with an Illinois plate, I was
no longer bothered when we went home. Since the Illinois and subsequent
state drivers' license processes covering our residences seemed too complex
for me, I always renewed my drivers's license at Flag where things remained
pleasantly simple [like Idaho] and the resident highway patrolmen were
consistently cordial.

My dad had come to like Robert Kennedy, with whom he had visited on Indian
education challenges. I always respected that. But we do always think well
of Gene McCarthy. In the often arid Demo Desert, he had rare courage and,
more than that, a fine vision.

Himter Gray [Hunter Bear]


Thomas, our grandson/son, has been in DC for the Association of American
Physicians annual convention -- and, concurrently, his comparable meeting of
the Association of Native American Medical Students.  He's gone a couple of
times to the very new National Museum of the American Indian and, among
other exhibits, was looking at a compilation of film footage of American
Indians in the Chicago setting.  Among other sequences, our old friend,
Susan K. Power was indicated as the  major founder of the American Indian
Center.  And in another section of the footage, a man was being interviewed.
Something suddenly seemed very familiar and Thomas went through it all

The man being interviewed in Chicago was sitting next to Micmac Man, the
fine painting of me which had been done by my brother, Richard, in '79, and
secured by Alice Hatfield Azure.  In time, she donated it to NAES College --
the Chicago-based Native ed program of which she was an officer.  And then,
retrieving it for me, she and her friends passed it into our most grateful
hands early this last March. [Several photos of it, BTW, are on our

And it now resides grandly and superciliously on a wall in our Idaho home,
right here.

Thomas is impressed.

The Native world is indeed cohesive -- and the Moccasin Telegraph tolerates
no anonymity.

Best, H

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

Key newspaper special section on Pine Ridge and Whiteclay now out -

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: [posted widely] 5/16/05

A few days ago, I sent out a post which, among other things, quoted from a
note by my youngest son, Peter [Mack.]  He's a key editor for Lee
Enterprises and is at the Lincoln Journal Star.  Here is an excerpt from my
post containing part of his -- making reference to their then forthcoming
major  Special Section on the Pine Ridge Oglala  Reservation and  the border
town of Whiteclay, Nebraska.  The articles, written by reporters Kevin
Abourezk and Colleen Kenney, appeared on schedule yesterday [Sunday, May 15,
2005.]  Rich with contemporary focus -- and history.  Photos.

"Whiteclay, Nebraska is a border town adjoining the very large Pine Ridge
Res in South Dakota. As Pete indicates, it's a very heavy [and, to put it
mildly, increasingly controversial] purveyor of alcohol.  I should add that
our Pocatello paper is somewhat physically bigger than he implies, but his
basic point is very well taken.  H

>From Pete:

In the meantime, a couple of things:
1. Working like hell to put the finishing touches on a 16-page special
section on the effect Whiteclay -- and the 11,000 cans of beer it sells
daily -- has on Pine Ridge. (16 pages -- that's bigger than your whole
newspaper). It comes out Sunday but it prints Wednesday. I'll send you a
copy."  [Peter Gray Salter]
-------------------------------------------  [From the Lincoln
Journal Star itself:  full listing of the 27 articles  in the Sunday, May 15
issue and their respective links.]  [Provides synopsis of the package and link to the
Journal Star.] [Listing of the
articles  in the May 15 issue  of the Journal Star and their respective

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

Check out Surprise Tribute:

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]


July 25, 2005
John Salter's role in Miss. will leave world in better shape

Mississippi has been forsaking one of its champions.

In Jackson in the early 1960s, my father - John Salter - was known variously as an outside 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, Illinois, New York, Arizona, Iowa, Washington, North Dakota and elsewhere. Now it isn't the Klan out to get him, but Systemic Lupus - a chronic, usually fatal disease.

My father is a warrior, but this is a tough one to win.  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 College. I was sitting in the audience next to Professor Jim Silver who, along with hundreds of others, gave my father a standing ovation.

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 will understand the importance of honoring one's ancestry and, I hope, of paying tribute to those who helped make their history.

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, Minn.
Good post!
David [McReynolds]   7/25/05

Thanks for sharing this letter.

Joyce Ladner    7/25/05


Dear Hunter Bear,
    The nice piece that your son wrote about you for the Jackson newspaper was circulated on the SSOC list.
    I want to send you the best, and many thanks for all your good deeds over the years.  My memories go back to your years with SCEF.  You are an inspiration to us!
    Is your book still available?  Is it possible to get an autographed copy?  There would be an honored place on my bookshelf beside the other heroes of the civil rights movement.  I could send a check, if that is doable.
    At any rate, here is sending you best regards from almost across the country, in the Ancient City which was also a battlefield of the movement.
        David Nolan  7/25/05



 I am glad to see a SNCC person welcoming a post about
Hunter Gray's book JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI (written under his
birth name, John R. Salter, Jr.) The book, although written
a quarter century ago, represents a revision of modern
Southern history as we now understand it. It argues that the
Jackson movement at the very beginning of the Sixties was
the largest and most powerful anywhere in the South, more so
than Birmingham or Selma, but was crushed because, in that
early year, the state and local authorities and the Klan
were still more powerful.
The book plays due respect to SNCC and other organizations
and leaders, but notes that they were primarily outsiders,
Black and white. It greatly elevates the place of Medgar
Evers, leader of the Jackson movement, in Black and
Mississippi and U.S. history. It becomes clear that the
reason his name does not automatically come to mind in these
connections is that he was killed in 1963, before the years
of great triumphs and nationwide publicity for the struggle
in Mississippi. . .

Hunter sent me a copy of the book last week. I take
pride in words in his dedication: "Our trails have touched
and paralleled one another many times..."

William "Bill"  Mandel  7/25/05


for son John -- thank you!  thank you! for writing that excellent letter to the Clarion-Ledger.  And my cheers to you and to your wonder-full parents, old friends who are very dear to me.
Paz, Clyde Appleton   7/25/05


Here's a comment from Jackson, from a person with no movement background
or connection:
"Reber-  I read the letter to the editor in the Clarion Ledger this
morning and remembered that Salter was a friend of yours and intended to
send it to you.  It contains his web site and invitation to read further
about him which I intend to do, although I believe you furnished it to
me a year or so ago."

Reber Boult   7/25/05


I will add a (non-religious) Amen to all that has been said.
sam  [friedman]  7/26/05
Many of us saw the beautiful letter that your son wrote to the Clarion-Ledger. What a kid!

Susan Klopfer    7/27/05
Hi Son of John Salter,  [7/28/05]

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. Last I saw you and your
wonderful Mother, you were just a small boy emerging into a world filled
with hanging moss and the sounds of 500 students. 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-facist 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. I will write more later. Please send
me an address where I can communicate through formal mail.


Colia Liddell  LaFayette Clark


What a wonderful letter from  John III.   What a wonderful act/gift to receive
 from a son.
  -- Tim McGowan      August 10  2005

 Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk

Protected by NaŽshdoŽiŽbaŽiŽ
 and Ohkwari'

Check out Surprise Tribute:

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]



Our own especially good news is that I am walking -- on the steep slopes --
once again.  More on that in a moment, but first:

The attached excerpt from a long obit is from the Quincy, California paper
of just a couple of days ago.  In 1988, right after receiving his M.A. from
UND, Beba [John] became exec director for the Roundhouse Council at
Greenville, in northeastern California for several good years -- not far
from Reno.  The program serves Native people, mostly the Mountain Maidu.
Maria and Thomas went out there for two years, living in nearby Quincy --
where Samantha was born in '91.  Occasionally, Maria checks the regional
news in that setting.

It is quite possible that Mr Smith, with a surviving grandfather at  Grand
Cayman Island, B.W.I, is of African background.  Natives, Blacks, Chicanos
are special risk groups for this malevolently hideous disease -- but anyone
can get Lupus.  In any case, he -- apparently relatively young -- is simply
one more SLE victim.  As far as I know, there is no organic correlation
between Lupus and Leukemia -- but Leukemia and other blood cancers can
definitely result from certain chemo drugs, such as Imuran and Methotrextate
and Cytoxin, which are often used for SLE. A year and a half ago, a pushy
Rheumatologist strongly advised me to use one of those three, I did not, and
we left him pronto.  I take 20 pills or so a day, but we have sharply
reduced Prednisone, replacing it with Plaquenil.  We think it unlikely that
I will take any of the chemo drugs save as a last resort.

Since anything can always happen with SLE, I have had, of course, Last Rites
from the Catholic Church.

Some may recall that, a few weeks ago, in the latter stages of our first
hike into the hills since the really heavy snow and ice faded [major rains
have continued off and on in these parts], my legs completely gave out close
to home and Josie had to bring her Jeep Liberty to rescue me.  This sad
event raised the possibility that I am in decline, so to speak --
"progressive deterioration" of some sort. But as I told the nice young
Mormon "Elders" [19 or 20] who came by some days ago, I believe in fighting
right down to the wire -- I ain't no 'Possum.   And they vigorously agreed,
but did offer to mow our large lawn simply as a helpful service.

 Then, a week ago, Maria and I and Hunter [Shelty] took a very good hike
up -- and down -- with nothing untoward.  A couple of days ago, we went
successfully even further.  This morning, even with Josie and Cameron off to
early church [LDS] at Cameron's home town of McCammon, about 40 minutes
south of Poky, and Thomas' phone more or less inactive for the moment, we
chanced it once again and went the full length we had on that grim day of
the Collapse of the Legs.

And no great problems.  All OK.  We kind of hoped to see a rattler or two,
and I took my snakebite kit for the first time since late fall, but no such
friends under the shady sage or on the edges of the cool mud. With the
reduction in Prednisone, and the walking as well, I am now steadily losing
weight.  My feet continue to be painful and numb and walking can be tough.

And, as I remarked to Sam Friedman during his fine visit here a month or so
ago, my feet -- Size 16 -- may now be getting even longer.

"Damion Smith passed away at Stanford Cancer Center, Palo Alto, after a long
battle with leukemia and lupus. He was born in Santa Maria, and raised in
Lompoc. At the time of his passing he was residing in Quincy. He leaves to
mourn his loving wife, Kathryn Elena (Katie); daughters Mackenzie Danielle,
5 years old and Raygen Leigh Smith, 4 years old."

Yours, H

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

From David McReynolds:

Very glad to hear you are walking again! We all in decline, one of those realities of life. But between the beginning and the end, the lighting of the candle and its going out, we need to stay the course.

And I think it is just as well you didn't encounter any rattlesnakes. I remember (not happily) encountering one many years ago when I was hitchhiking from Los Angeles to New York. It was in the desert, near Barstow, California, where I'd been dropped off, and while waiting saw a rattlesnake. I attacked it with a rock, killing it - and cutting off the rattles. Why? It was doing me no harm.  I was young. I should have left it alone, in the desert, where it lived and I didn't, where it belonged, and I was only visiting.

David [McReynolds]  5/22/05


Note by Hunter Bear:

Here is a relevant excerpt from an article I published in Against the
Current, January/February 2001.  Full piece is at
My very first invasion of the news media involved a rattlesnake situation.
This, from the Arizona Daily Sun [Flagstaff/Coconino County], late June,
"John Wood, 13 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wood, residing south of
Flagstaff, got introduced to an Arizona rattlesnake Wednesday of this week
while exploring Grass Canyon, near Schnebley Hill, but suffered no ill
effects because of the quick thinking of John Salter, Jr., his companion,
age 14.
"The snake was coiled within striking distance when the Salter boy killed it
with an accurately aimed .22 rifle bullet.  Wood must have felt he was
carrying with him one of the four leaf clovers his famous song-writing
father composed, "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover'..."
In that situation, I had to do what I did-and I have no apologies.
I didn't kill every rattlesnake I encountered.  When our wide-ranging high
school hiking club plunged into the Grand Canyon (half a day down to the
bottom) and trudged up (two days), we'd frequently pass rattlesnakes camped
by the trail in the shade of a rock or a bush.  We were far too preoccupied
and trail-focused to take them on.
Then came a very abrupt shift in my generally violent anti-rattlesnake
attitude.  I was 18, my 45/70 Winchester in hand-taking an obscure game
trail down into the vast Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, southwest of
Flagstaff.  Suddenly I saw a tiny rattler-very tiny, only a few inches in
length, a minute rattle at his tail tip-coiled by a rock, right in the
middle of the trail.  It was so absolutely small that, if it rattled, I
couldn't even hear it.
The still-coiled, near-baby snake looked feistily up-right at me.  His
message was, however telepathically conveyed, sharp and crystal clear.
And I began to laugh.  With my big-bore 45/70 I could have, in a split
instant, eliminated every physical vestige of my brave-hell,
admirable-little adversary.  But how could I have ever done that?
For a long moment more, we looked at each other.  And then the tiny
entity-his point made very well-uncoiled in leisurely fashion and moved
slowly away.  For my part, in a gesture of respect and deference I, too,
stepped away.
And from that point on, I never killed another rattler.  When I encountered
one, I simply gave him his space.  But I never felt the warmth of friendly
empathy with one-until very recently indeed.
Hunter Bear  posted 5/22/05
 From Bill Mandel:

You don't have to worry about dementia.
And maybe, in the very remote future, some archaeologist will
discover your fossilized tracks and produce headlines with
the astounding discovery that Bigfoot ultimately grew cleats.

Bill [Mandel]  5/22/05


Great that you are doing the walks again.  Keep on trekkin!
sam [friedman]   5/22/05


You will be fine, Steve, just as long as you avoid Coors. But if you must
have drink, try Moose Drool beer -- from Idaho and Montana.  Mack recommends
it, always drinks it when he's here.]  Best, Hunter  5/22/05
Thanks. I started working out six weeks ago after a 23-year layoff, and feel
pretty good. But I'll never be able to keep up with you on a hiking trail.

Steven McNichols   5/22/05
268 Bush Street, #3602
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503


Hunter, Good
to hear on the
walkin, and on
a regular basis.
It's good to
Thinking of
you ,
To the core
Tim  [McGowan] 5/23/05


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


Check out Surprise Tribute:

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]