"Well Hello Mr.Ferguson"......A tribute to Native Americans.

Photo ,borrowed from media outlets !
Photo ,borrowed from media outlets !

True Story about Family !

When I was a young boy we called him "Uncle Newt " but in truth he was my cousin by marriage , my cousin Newt was a bit older than I and was almost full blooded Abinaki{ Abanaki' } Indian . In truth our relationship could be described much more like father and son at times , and at other times a friend ! Newt was in many, many ways so outwardly friendly and socially outgoing that he will be long remembered by everyone that ever his perfect smile did touch .

"Well , Hullo there Mr. Ferguson ",he would say , now who could help but smile at such a greeting especially my being of Scotch-Irish decent ! Anyway, that greeting always made me smile . Newt , was a great story teller and from the time I was a young boy until I grew up and even now , I will remember his stories as being at times far , far more interesting than even reality . as a great storyteller Newt knew exactly how to embellish the truth or to slightly enhance the fading of memory , It was always a pleasure to sit and talk or to just listen to him.

Newt Washburn ,, grew up though in tough times in America , especially for a "Native American" . During our past century it was better if you kept your "native " bloodlines to yourself . There is now no shortage of history describing what could happen to you if that truth were revealed. He was born in 1915 , and lived poorly in northern Vermont . Newt , came from a family of basket makers , often times this craft was the only thing that fed his family . For us in the fifties and sixties , we knew little about his family history . The fact that he was of a different shade of skin meant very little to us . You see , we loved the man himself !

If you google his name , all sorts of things pop up , Newt was a member of many many organizations that now provide a history of "Native " America , he made several visits to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. in later years it wasn't unusual to visit his home and witness a documentary in progress . Someone with a camera , or some reporter taking notes about his story . He also gave many private lessons and even larger classes teaching his exquisite basket making skills .

The things that I will always remember though ? His friendship , his love for us 'kids "as he called us , another of his greatest loves was hunting and fishing , and that's where we clicked ,! We spent many an evening discussing the best baits , the most efficient calibers of firearms . the best techniques for still hunting or the best places to hunt . Always though , there was the wood stove , a warm heart ,many an enjoyable hour and a beautiful soul to spend them with .

I will always regret not spending more time there , as with all my family ties . I truly believe that, That alone , is the best of all our times ! During the last thirty or forty years in America , it has once again become "cool " to associate oneself with the whole "native- American " thing , now it seems , everyone has native blood in them . In truth though , some people in the past paid a huge price for that privilege . Newt , was one of them ! Now in northern New England, the Abanaki tribe of native Americans are slowly making way towards" official" recognition . Not however without some growing pains and organizational difficulty .

Newt ,also known as "Silent Bear " my cousin , my friend , my father figure , died a couple of years ago at the 'young'- old age of 98 !. And yet , you will always live on as long as I have any memory at all , May you always have plenty of brown ash for the perfect pack basket , a good sharp hunting and fishing knife , a rifle and a river to fish, and I will see you on the other side !





9 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

"injuns" were just my buddies. I was a wapp and kraut. Thurman, Jerry, Beefy were just my friends. Yellowshirt or Jushungava or Begay made little difference. I was welcome to sopapillas and lamb and they were welcome to our Spaghetti or schnitzel.

My time coaching at Dartmouth opened my eyes to the Eastern bad way. I kissed much Dine' dirt after leaving there.

My affiliation with the "Great People" was only by invitation.

How can the world be so messed up?


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

You would know that i was part Indian from reading my story about a father i never knew. I have a picture of him and my mother along with his mother and father. His mother was half Indian and weighed one hundred lbs. I have always felt close to their teachings and culture. I loved your story. Thank you for sharing your friend Newt..


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 2 years ago Author

Eric , white men have forfeited a chunk their[our ] soul by going "indoors " , I love reading about and visiting the rez's , ! Wow , my friend you were a lucky boy , no ? Do you still live near there ? Or visit ! I was once kind of taken back by a Navajo who stood watching me from a distance with mirrored sunglasses and a cowboy outfit , I nodded to him and got only kind of an icy stare back . Now I know he was "testing me " , lol... Thank you for commenting my friend !.......Ed


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 2 years ago Author

Hey girl , I'd forgotten that , I've got to re-read that !....Ed


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Ed, i deleted that story. It had that dreaded circle around it and i just didn't want to try and rewrite it again. Thank's for the offer anyway..Cheers..


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 2 years ago Author

Ruby , write it again ! And to hell with the "dreaded circle" !Write it For You !For all real natives ? Be proud and to hell with score my dear lady !.......:-}...........Ed


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

A lovely tribute to your 'forever young' relative.


chander mehra profile image

chander mehra 2 years ago from Delhi

Great Jub!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS

I love this story, Ed. It's brought tears to my eyes. My George was of Scottish descent and loved the outdoors, fishing and golf, especially. He also loved woodworking. He would have enjoyed reading about Newt Washburn and you, sharing so many things he loved too. That Newt was of Native American birth makes his story all the more interesting and worthwhile. It is a heritage that has such depth and meaning. I'm sure he'll have some stories waiting for you. I'm smiling.

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