It was told to me years ago by a
"Everything in the Native Way of Life happens for a
Our paths cross with others, gifts are exchanged. The gift may come in
the form of a material object, or it can come in the form of a lesson
or traditional teaching. This is how traditional
native culture is kept alive".
following story is a perfect
example of this:
I was in Oklahoma
City setting up
for a Native Art Show, when I noticed a local Native
passing by. He carried with him three Traditional River Cane Flutes. He
looked closely at me as he passed by, and I couldn't help but
feel the curiosity in his eyes. It was almost as if
looking through me. I wondered for a moment if I might have
him from somewhere, but I couldn't place him.
Within an hour, He
had passed by three
more times. Each time with the same look of curiosity. I was relieved
when he finally stopped to talk. It was obvious that something was
definitely on his mind.
His name was Charles
Traditional Choctaw Flute Builder from Oklahoma. He asked if I liked
Cane Flutes, and wondered if I would trade a couple of my artifacts for
a couple of his flutes. I gladly accepted his offer. It was a good
trade. We talked awhile, exchanged phone numbers, and he then
Later that evening I
received a call from
my new friend, Charles. He spoke of our meeting as well as our
trade. Charles then asked if I had noticed his stares
passed several times earlier that day. I told him that it was something
that I wondered about, and that I thought I may have known him in the
past, but didn't remember. I asked him to explain if he would, and his
following words left me in awe:
staring so much at you,
today. It's not the Indian way to do so, but a strange feeling came
over me when I saw your face. I knew you. But I couldn't remember when
or from where, but I knew there was something important
about our paths crossing, and it didn't hit me until my last
just before I approached you, today". He explained.
"That's when it came
back to me. And
don't feel bad if you don't remember me. It was about fifteen
years ago at a Sweat Lodge Ceremony when I first saw your
was during that ceremony when I had a vision of a man whom I had never
met. All I saw was his face. But it was clear. After the ceremony, I
asked the medicine Man about my vision. I told him what I saw and asked
him to explain it to me. He told me that one day I would cross paths
with this man in my vision, and that I would know him, and know what I
was to do". He said.
I asked Charles what his
vision had to do with
me, although deep down inside I felt I somehow
knew, but I
wasn't quite prepared for his answer.
"You see, Jake, The
face of the man in my
vision was yours. When I realized this, I flashed back to the words the
Medicine Man shared with me about knowing what I was to do. I then
looked down at the flutes in my hand and a big smile crossed my face. I
was to pass down to you, a gift that was long ago passed down through
my ancestors, to me. I was to teach you to become a
Native River Cane Flute Builder. So let's get together and
your teaching. What are you doing tomorrow" ? He asked.
I was in awe. My
frozen. But somehow I found the words.
be great" I answered. That was the day i built my first River Cane
I have built
thousands of flutes since
then, but not a single piece of Cane passes through my hands without a
thought of Charles Frazier, and that wonderful gift he was bound to
share with me. It is an honor for me to carry on this tradition. Aho!
Jake Stone "Onefeather" (Wiyaka Wanji)