The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
On psychic powers, ghost hunting, and American Indians
Thursday, May 14th, 2009
As usual, I couldn't sleep tonight so I watched an episode on Geronimo and the Apache people. [Check out the American Experience series on Native Americans called "We Shall Remain" PBS.org - another great series is called "500 Nations"!]
I was having a discussion with my friends about "ghost hunting" and "psychic powers" and they were giving me shit about promoting psychic / medium Chip Coffey so much. For my birthday last year, Chip and his agent treated me to lunch and I swear he is the real deal! [My interview with Chip will be published next month, so stay tuned!]
I have always believed that EVERYONE has "psychic powers" to some degree. As I was so eloquently quoted as saying, "Psychic powers are like penis size - some folks are better endowed than others!" I really don't understand all of this ghost hunting business that is such a popular activity. Why hunt for ghosts, when spirits are all around you??? I guess it must be the thrill of the hunt or something.
Anyway, an Apache elder said it much better than I did:
"We all have power. The greatest thing a person can have is the Power. Power speaks to those who listen - Benegotsi. The greatest thing a person can have is the Power. Benegotsi. It's scary. This is the truth. To live with the Power is very challenging. It is so potent you must be wary. Benegotsi. To have Power is a great responsibility. Benegotsi. You can chose to leave it alone or accept it. It's up to you. Benegotsi." The episode kind of hit home with me right now, because I am preparing to meet my own tribe (the Echota Cherokee of Alabama) for the very first time. I never knew I was an "Indian" until one day in high school they pulled me out of class and forced me to take "Indian classes." My guidance counselor Mr. Wagoner was a Cherokee, and he talked me into staying. I asked about one of instructors and was told, "That is Mr. Hutto - he is the Chief of your tribe!" Wait a minute - "My Tribe???" A few weeks later I received a "roll card" to make it official...
From that moment, I started looking at my grandmothers very differently. I could see the struggle they had endured in their eyes and written on their faces. Even after all they had been through, they still loved every minute of life. I now understand that when you have been at the very bottom of life, each minute of life becomes that more precious.
For a quick frame of reference, it was illegal to "be an Indian" in Alabama until just a few years ago. My grandparents did not know the Cherokee language, and I guess back then in Alabama it just wasn't proper to speak of such things.
I wanted to learn about my people, so I looked up the Cherokee people. They existed mainly in two nations (who seem to strongly dislike each other): The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina. The ones out west were forced there on the trail of tears, and the eastern band are those who escaped the removal. My tribe, the Echota Cherokee seems to consist of all of those Cherokee that were "lost and scattered along the way".
I first started researching the roll books, but quickly learned how unreliable they were. Many had to lie about their heritage, and the "true parts" were never very clear either. One day I had a vision of being able to finally unite all of the Cherokee people. With modern science, we can now use DNA to determine ancestry. Actually, DNA is the ONLY fair and accurate way to measure blood quantums." It seemed like such an obvious solution - but my proposal to both nations were quickly denied by the tribal councils.
There was obviously no way I was ever going to understand the depth of these issues, unless I started my search at the ripping point. The point where the Cherokee nation had first become divided. That event was the Treaty of New Echota, Georgia. That is exactly where I started my emotional journey to understand my people...
For the rest of my story, check out my book "My Cherokee Tears" which will be published here soon!
-- Gary Wright II