"Only the person carrying the quiver knows of the purpose, knows of the vision. It is the sacred right of the traveler to follow his or her own vision, to follow the path on the Sacred Hoop of Life...Do not discount the size of the quiver, for you do not know the threads that it is made of.",
- Blackwolf Jones
Day 63 - Thursday, August 24, 1995 — A small group drove from their camp into town and obtained a permit to sell Sunbow 5 T-shirts on the street and at the welcome center. These shirts have been a small but steady source of income for the walk, though they are sold randomly and there is no accounting of the money or how it is later spent. That’s getting to be a problem for the Sunbow board of directors, which is legally responsible for all funds.
Sunbow T-shirt design - Image on the shirts backs. Painting by Tom Barber.
The walkers plan to drum, sing, and to sell t-shirts for the next two days to raise money for the next leg of the pilgrimage. The Qualla Boundary, and the city of Cherokee in particular, are major tourist destinations, and tourism is the mainstay of the economy. So while some walkers made music and sold t-shirs, others rested, and tended to personal business
Eveningtime brought a round of massages for several of the walkers. Feet, bones, ligaments, and muscles are getting a chance to heal thanks to the days of rest. While some walkers are content to rest a day or two longer, others are impatient to get moving on the pathway West.
Gayil Nalls called me at the walk’s office in New Hampshire, and she also called John Heyman, the Treasurer of record for the Sunbow 5 Foundation. Gayil told us she is still concerned about Tom Dostou's behavior. When Tom visited in New York, in May, July, and then again August, he was emotionally tempestuous, and angrily unwilling to answer questions. She said she's been watching the walk and she is concerned.
John and I share her concern. Where is the money going? The board is legally responsible for reporting on that to the IRS. Tom will give no explanation or accounting of it, and he becomes angry when asked.
Other walkers tell us that they never see any of the Sunbow 5 Foundation money, and that they have little recollection of benefiting much from it. They just don’t know. In fact, they didn’t even know the Sunbow 5 Foundation was sending money to the walk each week, or that Tom had an ATM bank card linked to the Sunbow Foundation’s checking account, and that he makes regular withdrawals.
After hearing from Gayil, John Heyman and I talked at length on the phone about all of this. We've both had the experience of having Tom become belligerent on the phone when he's asked about the money, even in a general way.
Because John and I and Gayil, and Tom’s wife Naoko Haga, are the other members of the Sunbow 5 Foundation board, along with Tom himself, we have to give these matters our consideration. We have a moral and legal responsibility.
E-mail Subject: Greetings
We are staying at the residence of Lisa and Moses Walkingstick in Cherokee. The children in this community are really nice to be with. The reason is that in the Cherokee tradition the children are considered sacred. It shows. They are wonderful kids. Here are greetings from them.
- Gaston Lavoie
Hello. Greetings from Cherokee, I'm Elvia Walkingstick. I have three brothers that are named Hawk, Tony, Hwineko, and my cousin Carlos Cruz. We would like to thank all the free spirited people that have pitched in to make this walk possible. The people on the walk are very easy to get along with. They are very nice people. I've enjoyed being with them, and hope they have an enjoyable journey. I love their personalities. I go to Cherokee Elementary School. We have a thing called "Cultural Heritage Week." That's when we celebrate our Cherokee culture.
- Elvia Walkingstick
E-Mail Subject: Circle message
My name is Tom Dostou. Many of you know me but many more of you do not. Please allow me to introduce myself to those of you whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting face to face or having spoken to.
I am writing to you all to say Meegwich—thanks to you all from the bottom of my heart for all your prayers and efforts to make this walk a success from all points of view.
As a walker, I know how difficult it is for us not to find ourselves feeling isolated and cut off from the outside world, our walk lends itself to altered states of spiritual reality where days and weeks flow into one another as do seconds run into minutes and hours.
Our walk is a noble gesture despite our personal limitations and weaknesses. I for one am searching for a glimmer of truth and light which I can pass on to others as I pass along the way. Walking gives one a glimpse of humility in a world where time and money take away from the sacredness of the moment.
To you who cannot walk with us I offer you my prayers and good wishes that all which you search for in your quest for goodness and love be granted to you. As we walk towards the West our minds and hearts will be focused on our goal of bringing harmony and healing to this most troubled and neglected lands and people.
- Tom Dostou
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 64 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire