Manataka American Indian Council








Donna Calls the Buffalo Simms



Many years ago when I asked my Grandfather (Dragging Wolf) why he did not buy him self some new cloths and dress up a little, he smiled and said.. is time for a lesson child. Just yesterday I was asked the very same question that I had asked Grandfather so many years ago, so, with out further is time for a lesson. I hope this enlightens you as much as it did me.

Grandfather and I walked a distance to a large oak tree who's branches nearly touched the ground and sat beneath it. Grandfather patted the trunk of this enormous tree and asked.....if we took all of the leaves from this tree and put them on the willow over there, and brought all the willow leaves over here. Would this still be an oak tree? Would the willow still be a willow?

As I pondered this question he drew out his pipe and slowly filled it with his favorite Cherokee blend tobacco, as the aroma of rich southern tobacco billowed around us he asked me one of the most important questions of my life.

"Where do you put your Indian when you are acting white?"

I looked quickly at him wondering what I was supposed to say, my Indian? Where do I put it?

Softly he said, many people work very hard to be some thing other that who they are, they must have the finest cloths or the biggest hat, but all of that finery does not change who you are.

You can not take who you were born as and put it away until you decide to be your self again.


When you wrap a box for a birthday or Christmas, you work to put the wrapping on perfectly so it will be pleasing to another's eye, but once the box is unwrapped it is still the same box, the wrapping does not change the contents. People may darken their skin or lighten their hair, but they still can not change what is with in the box. You may work hard to act or look white, but to accomplish this you must first put your Indian away, and so I must and where?

So when you are working hard to be some one else, what do you do with the Indian you were born to be? If you continue to cover up who you are you will soon forget where you came from.

Being born Indian or White or Black or Asian is not a choice, it is a privilege. Our Great Creator honors us with life , we are to honor HIM by being the best caretakers of that life we can be. This Life gift is not ours to keep and hide away with fancy wrappings or pretense, we are to embrace life around us, be proud of who we were born to be, and honor our Great Creator. The drums will always beat loudly in our hearts even through the noise of the white world, and every time your feet touch our Mother's breast our souls will feel the pull of those who walked before us.....

So when you go to buy that fancy suit or dress ask your self, do you dress because it makes you feel good, or do you dress to hide?

A persons true wealth can not be measured by what they have gathered into their lodge, it can only be measured by the many hearts that smile when the person enters a room.  ~Grandfather Dragging Wolf, Qualla Boundary

 By Donna Calls the Buffalo Simms

~Sent by:


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