by Kanion Redclay
My hero is my father Benny Redclay. He was not a medicine man, yet he was a shape shifter. A shape shifter is a spiritual person who is able to turn into an animal spirit and become that animal.
One time my dad was visiting a Navajo reservation in Arizona. They were having a birthday ceremony and he was sitting in a teepee with many other Indians who were his family. When my Auntie Ella looked at my dad and my mom, who were praying, they had turned into bears. My Auntie Ella and my Uncle Jonas are Navajos and they are scared of any kind of spirituality. My dad was Apache and they have a different view of the spirit world. So Ella got scared and told Uncle Jonas, and then asked my dad and mom if they were okay. They were.
Another time was when Auntie Ella was living in a trailer. Some wild horses were rubbing their backs against her trailer, which was on a hill. She was worried it would roll down the hill. My dad said that he would take care of it. He went outside and put his long hair down and hunched over and moved in a way that made the horses get a little spooked. Then he looked in the horses' eyes and they ran off.
He was a great man and taught my mom all about Indians and Indian medicine. He taught her to understand the spirit world.
Now that he is dead I am sad, but I still feel like he is here and I can still feel his love. I can still learn how to be a medicine woman from my mom, and I can learn from my dad in a way.
My dad always wanted me to be a medicine woman, and so did my mom. It is my mom who keeps me going. She teaches me what she knows and what my dad taught her.
When mom and I go on walks, she tells me things about my dad. And she always tells me about how she knew that I would be a medicine woman and that I will be a wonderful poet.
- offers Native American links.
- has some great links.
- features resources for environmental education.