Turning the final page of the calendar marked a transition for my relative John Artichoker, who passed on November 30.
John was wonderfully generous, and invited us—sight unseen—to spend time with him in Rapid City and meet our Lakota relatives.
He took us to Sundance at Pine Ridge, introduced us to family, fed us dinner and told stories of riding a horse to the reservation school and working as an adult for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
He was keenly curious and peppered us with millions of questions.
What’s the Osage word for salt? What’s the future of journalism? What are today’s college students like?
He was working on his memoirs and poems when he died.
In one rhyme he talked about how honored he felt that one of his sons participated in Sundance to help John heal.
That someone would endure slices to flesh and share the pain of illness touched John deeply.
He ended the poem with a grin and a flourish.
Good day to die.
Fourteenth blog for National Native American Heritage Month