"When was the last time these two sat and listened to their elders at a sacred fire, or sought their own hearts?"

Week of December 14, 2006

MUSIC, November 30, 2006

No Pain, No Gain

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night: A state of emergency was declared by the governor, National Guard members were deployed, Interstate 70 was shut down, the streets were littered with abandoned vehicles — a minor inconvenience to meet my precious New York Dolls (as featured in Rob Trucks' "Syl the One"") at Mississippi Nights.


Chesterfield Kings

I arrived in time to catch a spellbinding performance by the Chesterfield Kings. This was my first encounter with the band, and I instantly fell in love. Their hits "I Don't Understand" and "Flashback" left me begging for more!

As the Dolls prepared to take the stage, I made my way to the front. I had risked my life to get here, so I needed to be as close to my idols as possible. I stood directly in front of the stage — close enough to smell the cigarettes on David Johansen's breath. Watching them perform instantly transported me back in time (OK, maybe I wasn't alive during their heyday, but I've seen plenty of videos). Mixing classics like "Trash," "Jet Boy" and "Lonely Planet Boy" with songs from their new album, the re-formed Dolls delivered.

The highlight of the evening was meeting the Dolls after the show. They were kind enough to sign a copy of their new CD, take some photos, and I briefly chatted with each of them. I'm still pinching myself. I can't wait to see where 2007 takes the Dolls. I'll be close behind.
Harley Sears, Kansas City

News Real, November 2, 2006

Tribal Address

Easley does it: Regarding Chad Garrison's "Going Native": How does one register as a Native American and does it matter if the mixture is African American? My paternal grandmother was full Choctaw and my maternal grandmother was half Cherokee. What does that make me, just black?
Esther Easley, University City

They called him a "breed": I served as board president of the now-closed American Indian Center here in St. Louis a few years ago. I was born at the Saint Xavier Indian Reservation in Arizona and I do not have an "Indian Card," as I do not feel I have to prove anything. The full-bloods called me a "breed" since my mother was Mexican.

I can tell you that while I was holding the Indian Center together, the only time the "true Indians" with cards showed up at the center was when we gave away toys for their full-blood kids or we had a free dinner. There are two sisters who cannot prove their bloodline but are more "Indian" than the true bloods. Rachel is a blue-eyed, blonde young lady, but her heart is more Indian than the "true bloods." As for me, I will continue to be an uncarded false Indian; John knows who I am.
Enrique "Frank" Enriquez, St. Louis

Go back to your history: I think that people should go back to their history, especially when it comes to the Seven Civilized Tribes, to find out how difficult it has been for many Indians to prove their heritage.

I am a proven Eastern Cherokee, but as anyone has done any research knows, the Eastern Cherokee rolls have been closed since the '70s. I can give you my heritage: From the time my great-great-grandmother came from the Virginias right before the end of the trail started, to when she and her husband came to Missouri and started one of the first trading posts around Eldon. Then at the age of 48, my grandmother went back to her people and chose to be on the rolls of the Cherokee Nation.

Think about that period of time. Why did she go? So her heritage would not be forgotten. And then we have people who have no respect for what all of us have gone through. We also have our stories.

Like we explain to people who come into the Thunderbird Society, we are a Native American support group — a support group to help our people and anyone else who wants to feel like they can learn their heritage, or just the truth about history. I don't know of many people in this area that can claim to be a full-blood, nor do they have the right to carry a card. We are not, and I repeat not, a Native American member group. The society is recognized by the state of Missouri as a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping all tribes. And we do everything we can do to help the people who have stories to tell us and who know in their past there was Native American blood. We understand the calling that they hear in their hearts. My husband was raised by an Eastern Cherokee grandmother and was taught the language, which he is now trying to pass down to others.

Isn't it a shame that so much could be done by our people if each of us would accept the other and pull together. I would like to ask Kathy Dickerson when last time was that she went to D.C. and fought for our rights. When is the last time she's taken collections and sent them to Pine Ridge or any of the other reservations? As I said, we are a nonprofit organization.

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