If anyone was to be blessed
to enjoy a castle like a European vista it was Dee and her Mother. Part
of the very large double gate was open and they drove slowly through, past
the watchtower looking stone gate house. Setting all through the grounds
of the recreation center were buildings built like small castles with the
same tower looking stone work. These were to house the children who came
for camp time in the summers. The lawn was superbly kept and the drives
were well marked.
A worker with large
machines was at the side of one of the roads and they drove past him. The
road was now along the side of the ridge of the hill which dropped off
into the strikingly beautiful azure blue waters of the Olympic size pool.
Stretching out past the pool was a drop off in the terrain. From there
one could see the boats cruising across the wide lake.
The oil millionaire had
planned his donation to the city with such a careful grace it was almost
unbelievable people of this small community had enjoyed the Lew Wentz
estates for many many years. Dee remembered coming here when she was only
a child. Nights spent swimming in the beautifully lit pool with stars
above was a memory never to be forgotten. If ever there was a Starwalker
it was Lew Wentz.
This was the lovely
introduction to the note taking ahead for Dee as she listened to three of
the elders of the Native Americans, one of which was her mother while
they spoke to the youthful American Indian children at camp.
The elderly man who stood
before the children opened his talk with the statement. “I can't tell you
kids anything.” “You already know everything.” “You might ask, why is
this.” “Well, I'll tell you.” “You have this wonderful machine called the
computer.” “All you have to do is type something in there and it will
answer whatever you want to know.”
He continued and went on to
tell them how he was trying to learn to use the machine. “One time I
typed something in there and it told me I made a mistake. Listen to me, I
told it. You are just a machine. Don't tell me I made a mistake.”
“You see I come from
another time. When I was young we had to go to town in a horse and buggy.
It took three hours from our home in the country to town. In the winter
our folks could not leave the children at home so they put hay in the
wagon and we got under that. This is how we kept warm.”
“There were only a few cars
on the road. That was the time Ford Motor Company came out with the Model
T. We had a hi-way all right, but no cars all day long. Once in a while
a farmer would go by in his car. There was the Chandler, the Ford and the
Hupmobile. Today, many different models of cars, more than I can name,
are on the roads.”
“What is the future going
to be like for you children?” “You have to wonder. People today are more
educated, things will have to be different.”
“In 1935 when I joined an
Indian Church I was the most educated. The elders then prayed in our own
language. I remember their prayers. They asked Wah Kohn Dah in this way:
“Aho Wah Kohn Dah (hello Great Spirit) Please allow our people to always
go on, as long as the sun shines on Mother Earth? Their prayers have been
answered because here you are. Yes, then we spoke our language together.
Today, I have no one with whom to speak. My brother in law used to visit
with me in our own
language, but now, he has forgotten and we no long speak in Ponca.”
“You children come from
many different tribes and there are many tribes. I remember once when I
was a young man I was working in a mechanic's shop. There were some brown
skinned men who came there. I asked them what tribe they were.”
“We are Spaniards.” They
“What!” I didn't know
Spaniard. I said to them. “I think you have to have a tribe.” “One of
the older men got really mad, because I said he had to have a tribe.” “I
guess it is a good thing I couldn't understand what he said.”
“What I am saying, whatever
you are, be proud that you are Indian.”
“I teach my children about
the country where we lived before we came here. We came from the North.
But, we had a name for all the tribes explaining about them. One tribe
lived in the mountains and we called them, Man standing in the clouds.
These were the mountain tribes. All had names and meant something.
Potowatami was Wah He Thah, One who breaks bones. We must have been afraid
“Children, find out about
your tribe, your history and learn about it.”
“ I enjoyed talking to
you. God made White's, Black's, Asian's, Indians. Do the best you can
and be proud you are Indian.”