Tomorrow hits the ten day mark and countdown for the Kickstarter project I have been helping to promote. And the beginning of the end of my nails as the goal of the fundraiser is $4000 and we have raised just shy of $2000. Ten Days and $2000! A long way up the mountain…but the view is worth the leg work.
A few years ago I met my Uncle Fred, Kickapoo Elder Fred Wahpehpah age 80, when he opened the door on a misty New Year’s day and welcomed Zeta and me in. We were there to participate in a sweat lodge ceremony. The first of this kind for me. Fred is not my uncle by blood, but instantly adopted me into his family and community just like he has with so many others. Many who have had the pleasure of having Fred in their lives refer to him as ‘uncle’, ‘grandfather’, and ‘dad’.
Through the past year and a half, I have attended and documented a handful of ceremonies; Sweat lodge, Sacred Pipe, La Wampe (sp?), Tipi and a Vision Quest with Uncle Fred as well as school presentations. I have met a large handful of individuals who have attributed their lives to having met Fred and were then introduced to the ways of the ‘Red Road’.
The purpose of documenting these events is to share the images with Seven Circles to utilize in their newsletter and for other promotional / educational material. This is my photo-philanthropy, “photolanthropy”.
Early this year, I met Uncle Fred’s 18 yr-old daughter, Kashaokiwaki Ikwe Wahpepah (Kasha) and it get’s better.
Kasha…is incredible. And incredibly bright. And crazy ambitious as she decided to take her dad, Uncle Fred, to his birthhome in Oklahoma on a month-long journey “into Indian Country”. It will count for her senior internship…a final project to graduate with the class of 2011 (woot! woot! ’99!)
How LUCKY is she? But it’s not luck. It is seeing there is an opportunity, an open door and knowing that you are going to walk through it. (I love Bill Cosby AND confusing analogies). Plus, I don’t know too many seniors in high school (including myself at the time) that wanted to do ANYTHING with family…let alone be in the car with their dad for more than the five minute ride to school. (Dad, I’m totally exaggerating. I loved listening to talk radio with you at 6 in the a.m. on the way to school
Regardless…this is a trip I deem “important to happen”. And I am hoping that at least 100+ people think their $20 can help. It can!!!
So do a little dig in your pockets and donate whatever pocket change you have. OR dig a little deeper and pre-order Kasha’s book from the road. Every penny counts. And remember, if the minimum goal is not raised, your account is not charged.
Link to the Kickstarter funding page – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sarabek/wahpepah-connection-a-book-project-through-indian