Manataka American Indian Council




Grandfather Robert Gray Hawk Coke Speaks

December 2010




A Teaching Observation

Some years ago, as a young adult, I went with my family to the mountains to check on the best hunting areas. Each year we would do this so that we could store the game for the next year’s supply of meat.

After our sunrise ceremony one very nice day, I went into the mountains to recheck an area Dad and I had looked at several days before. Would I find more fresh tracks? That was the question.

Later that afternoon, I had my answers, and the answers were excellent. So I started back to the village we were staying. As I came to a large draw down the mountain side, I saw a Grandfather and a small boy in front of me. I could not hear what was said, but the Grandfather would stop and point to some item, so I knew he was teaching. Each time, it was only a moment and they would continue on down the draw. After a while I was close enough to hear what was said between the two of them.

The young boy was very excited and said to the Grandfather, “Look, there is an eagle.” And the Grandfather replied, “It sure is.” I looked and I saw the “winged one” flying from one tall tree to another farther down the slope. Now the little boy was looking up into the trees for other winged ones. This caused them to walk more slowly. In a short time the winged one was spotted again, and it began to fly again. The little boy cried out, “That isn’t an eagle. That’s a hawk.” Grandfather again replied, “It sure is.” We lost sight as to where the winged one went. So our pace picked up a faster. The sun was setting, and we still had a little ways to go.

Only a few yards from leaving the forest, Grandfather stopped and pointed for the young child to see the same winged one take off and fly in front of us and across the draw to the other side. The young boy explained, “That’s not a hawk. That’s an owl, and he is hunting.” Grandfather again replied, “It sure is.”

Now I am thinking here is a lesson for me. What have I learned from all of this? The same winged one was seen three different times, and the young boy identified it as three different types of prey. Yet each time the young boy called it a different name, the Grandfather replied,” It sure is.”

So, here’s my question. Was the Grandfather correct in affirming what the young boy said, or should the Grandfather told the boy he was wrong with the name he was calling the Winged One? After musing it over, I believe the Elder was correct in his approach to the problem.


What do you think? 


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