I read and reread your moving article, “Fresh Red Clay” (written by Robert Jumper, One Feather editor, for the July 12 paper). I too have pondered the high numbers of young deaths reported in the Cherokee One Feather, and then felt such sadness seeing a pile of red clay on the hilltop cemetery next to the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed’s wheel represents the ingredients that society has deemed important if not necessary to raise a productive child in any community, a child that can stand on his or her own two feet, and a child that can give back.
What if some or all of those ingredients are missing? Growing up in a home of alcoholism, poverty, neglect, and abuse allows me to ask, “How was I able to overcome it?” It wasn’t social programs, though that would have helped. It was having one person believe in me as a young child, just one person that treated me as though I had value. There was one person outside of my family that loved me unconditionally.
That created a spark within me that grew and grew. That spark ignited a desire to do better, be better—then when God’s son revealed himself to me, it all made sense.
What if we could grasp how important we are to one another? It just takes one person to ignite the Anikituhwa spark in another. One person to ignite a fire that overcomes.
Lynn M. Mayberry