Musings about music, writing, Portland, my new house, my travels, my family, politics, whatever.....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Never too late to give away a horse

For the past several days I've been pretty sick, at the worst of it I had a fever of 102.8. I only ever watch TV when I'm sick, and last night I saw something on OPB that really got to me. It began as the story of C.E.S. Wood, the man who befriended Chief Joseph, and was the one to translate his famous speech, "My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." C.E.S. Wood's son, Erskine, ended up spending two seasons with Chief Joseph and his tribe in the early 1890s. At the end of this time, Erskine's father asked him to find out if there was anything Joseph wanted in return for helping to raise his son. He said he wanted a stallion, but Erskine thought this was too small a gift (he thought perhaps he should ask for his father's help in getting his land back), so he never passed on the message. He spent the rest of his 104 years telling stories to his family about his time with Chief Joseph and his regret about not fulfilling that last request.

The show I saw on OPB was about how Erskine Wood's granddaughter, Mary, decided to fulfill that request and give a stallion to the Nez Perce, which she and her family did in 1997. Instead of recounting the whole thing here, I'll let you read about it yourself. I hope you read it, it's a great story (and apparently also mentioned in Winona LaDuke's book, "Recovering The Sacred: The Power Of Naming And Claiming").

For some reason, this story really moved me and I wanted to share it. I guess the point is, it's never too late to clean up your family baggage...


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