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Walking in Two Worlds

On the road to Bartlesville, a few miles north and east of Pawhuska, Highway 60 crosses Cedar Creek. It is naturally a beautiful clear stream with ripples that create pools of water along its channel. The stream is lined with Cedar and other trees, and on the south side of one of the large pools there is a wall of huge boulders with a flat area between the wall and the pool. It is a natural camp site, and an old campsite.

Cedar Creek brings positive memories of many friends and relatives of our family. Two of them are Eugene Standing Bear and Edward Lookout.

Like many young people of Dad’s generation, Dad and two of his cousins, Walter and Eugene Iron inherited the land of Cedar Creek from their Grandfather Red Corn, also called Wy-gla-in-kah.

Apparently, Dad had loaned Sylvester Tinker several bales of hay during the winter, and Sylvester was repaying the bales of hay and offered to help gather our hay that had been baled. I remember Sylvester telling Dad that he needed the hay when Dad loaned it to him, and he was happy to replace it. You know, the kind of thing a 14-year-old would remember, probably inaccurately.

On his way to Cedar Creek that day, Sylvester stopped by Indian camp and persuaded Ed Lookout and Ed’s cousin, Gene Standing Bear to help him load and unload the hay. I was there to help my Dad.

I asked Ed and Gene if they would climb up into the loft and let me lift the bales of hay up to them. I told them I was getting ready for football and needed the workout. They did not think it was a good idea, but after a while they agreed, and we started unloading the hay.

Several years ago a verbal expression came into the Indian World. That expression is, “Walking in Two Worlds.” Something along the line of living Indian Values while earning a living in the broader American World, or something close to that. 

Today, I know experiences like hauling hay with Ed and Gene are important parts of walking in that Indian World where family relationships reach back into time.

It was a good hot day, and I was getting the workout I wanted.

That was when my Mother, Louise Gray Red Corn, came driving across the hay field and past the yellow stone house and to the barn where we were working. I knew she planned to check on me to make sure I had water to drink and was wearing a hat.

I had some water and was wearing my cap. So, that was not a problem. When Mom got out of the car, all three of us knew there was more to it than that.

I was 14 that summer. There were two of Gene and Ed, and they were older, bigger and stronger than me, and I was doing the hard part. That was Mom’s problem, and I knew she was irritated.

For a moment I honestly thought Mom was going to climb on the truck and lift the bales for me.

While I was explaining to Mom why we were doing the things we were doing, Gene and Ed were climbing down to the hay on the truck to do my job.

They were embarrassed and they looked serious.

Later, it was something we laughed about.

Last June I saw Ed at the In lo’n Shka Dance, and we briefly talked about Gene.

I had watched them play football during their high school days. Gene played Tackle and Ed played End. Both were outstanding athletes, and Ed later played at Bacone College.

As an infant, thirty days after Gene was born Chief Bacon Rind gave him the Bear Clan name of Shin-ga Ki-he-kah, translated as Child Chief. The Naming took place in Chief Fred Lookout’s Peyote Church.

Gene was a graduate of the University of Tulsa and he served as President of the Tulsa Press Club. 

He enjoyed a distinguished professional career with Douglas Air Craft, North American Air Craft and Rockwell International.

Gene died following the Whip Man’s Song during the Pawhuska In lo’n Shka Dance. He had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the In lo’n Shka and things Osage. 

Gene Standing Bear was an accomplished artist, who made the most of life, and successfully walked in both of those worlds.

Charles Red Corn