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Anchor for the Soul

Anchor for the Soul

I come from a family with a long history of military service. My father was a WWI veteran with the U.S. Army (17th Cavalry) under Commander Lieutenant Patton. My brothers were in WWII and the Korean War respectively. My Uncle James Maloney was a WWII Navajo Code Talker with the U.S. Marines.

The Blessed Life

My name is Merritt Youngdeer. I’m a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, North Carolina. My grandparents, like many tribal members from all across our country, attended Carlisle Indian Boarding School.

Pursued by Hope

I stood before the judge as a desperate 24-year-old, over­whelmed by the consequences of my life choices. I felt com­pletely defeated by addiction, and the word “hope” had no meaning in my life. All of society’s efforts to reform me had failed.

Lessons for Life

A descendent of Cherokee grandparents, Carlos lived in Miami, Arizona, for a period of time as a young boy, not far from the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. Carlos faced some difficult challenges. With an often–absent alcoholic father and a mother working hard to pay the bills and put food on the table, Carlos learned that life can be tough.

The Way of Worship

I grew up surrounded by the traditional ways of our people. In my youth, I heard the old stories handed down by our elders. They differed depending on a person’s recollection, but they focused mostly on the creation around us. I was told we came from the earth. As a young man I had so many questions.

In Our Darkest Hour

It was the winter of 1979, and my wife Kathy and I were rejoicing in the birth of our first-born son. We named him Nathaniel Ara Ross. I was working in a factory on night shift to make ends meet. At night when I came home, I would check on Nathaniel. Those precious days were filled with joy and wonder.

Can These Wounds Be Healed?

Can these wounds be healed

Our reservation has been our home for many generations, and family ties are strong in our community. Our culture celebrates what each season brings, such as planting our corn, gathering and grinding acorns, and watching our grandchildren experience the fresh snowfall for the first time.

Finding Harmony With Our Creator

When I smell the smoke from the wood fire in the winter, it reminds me of the times when I was a little boy living in our hogan. It was during the winter season that the stories of the elders were passed down to the younger generation. I would listen to my grandfather teach us the history and ways of our people. Now I am an elder, and it is my responsibility to pass along the important truths for this life and the life to come.

Direction For Life

The “Man in the Maze” is a familiar image in the land of the O’odham people. Though interpretations differ, the labyrinth design reminds us of the many choices we must make as we journey through life. We are wise to pause and consider the path on which our choices are currently taking us.