Nesting above Orville, California is the small town of Cherokee. Click for the Town of Cherokee.. Click for history. Click for photos.
It is here that my parents, my brother and my maternal grandmother are all buried beneath the red earth that became their final resting place. My earliest memories of death are centered in that cemetery. It is a historic graveyard that was founded in 1856 when the Vinton family crypt was erected. The feelings of painful loss inflicted by a loved one's death were softened by the traditional family picnic held at the school where the children would happily play.
They say that weddings and funerals bring families together. This was certainly true in my family. Irishmen, Armenians, and Cherokee Indians gathered among the tombstones and remembered family members whose names were etched in stone. Youngsters learned stories of the past recounted by their elders. Once grown they would repeat these same tales to their children preserving the family history.
My mother instilled in me a great respect for the community of Cherokee and for the Indian traditions she so loved and respected. So this year, more than any other, it is fitting that my Christmas gift to my readers is an Indian prayer.
To The Great Spirit, a Prayer:
That we may touch the earth
with kind and gentle hands,
that freedom will be found in this
and other lands,
and joyous peace shall reign
throughout the world!
Virginia McCullough © 12/25/01
Official site of the Cherokee Nation. Click.
Cherokee Beloved Woman - her life, her words. Click.