Thursday, September 21, 2006

John Around Him

I recieved a call today from South Dakota. Our friend and relative John Around Him passed away on Wednesday evening. John was a drummer and a singer from the Pine Ridge Reservation. It is not fair to his legacy to say only that. He was a father, grandfather, friend, leader, teacher. I read today of his work with incracerated folks and taking the drum and songs and language into the prisons. He would speak often of tolerance and kindness. John was an elder of his tribe. He was of a generation of men and women who were raised in a culture not their own and he and others were able to return to their culture and revive from the near extinction it faced. For that the people are eternally grateful to him. I ate with him on occasion and spent not enough time with him during my time in SD. His voice and his teaching will remain with all of us who knew him and stood with him in circles. To his family I wish comfort, health, and help. Peace be with you all at this time. Pilamaya yelo.

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