An honour bestowed

First of all, I need to make a definition. Indians, as we knew them, are now called First Nations, while those who come from India were East Indians.

And a distinction. Those Indians became just “friends,” no different from us.

Years ago my husband wanted to paint Indian children, but we didn’t know any Indian families. So I phoned a radio station and they told me to get a hold of Clifford Paull, who then gave me his nephew, Percy Paull’s, name. When I talked to Percy, he invited us to come to his home.

They were getting ready for a potlatch, and someone was trying to make a sign to show prices of the food that would be for sale. Mickey took a list, and went home and painted menu signs for them. Of course we were invited to the potlatch, and that was the start of wonderful friendships.

When he did a painting of one of the children he would do a second one and give it to the family to say thank you.

He did a painting of Andy Paull, Percy’s father, who had passed away before we met Percy. You cannot do anything for our Indian friends but what they give back. We got an invitation to dinner at Audrey’s (Percy’s sister), and our boys got a separate invitation. When we arrived, Audrey said they had decided to have it at Percy’s, but we would have to wait a few minutes. When we did go over next door, there was a whole roomful of people, including Chief Dan George. And, we were both presented with Cowichan sweaters! Hand knit!

We participated in the planning for the next Potlatch. We had so much fun! And then, the following year, Mickey was the Guest of Honour and was presented with his headdress and a Talking Stick that was carved by Percy. He was also made an Honourary Chief, and given an Indian name… Secumlusqualwon. It means a person with a kind heart who helps people.

1967 - Chief Louis Miranda & Chief Harry McGuire

Percy said they honoured us because we taught our children that they and their children were equals. Our boys would walk the five miles to the reserve to play with Audrey’s son. Sometimes Frank would come back with them and stay over night, and I would drive him home the next day.

1967 - Harry (Mickey) & Norma (Noni) McGuire

To be continued

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6 thoughts on “An honour bestowed

  1. Lovely memories. All God’s children are equals – no matter their origins or roots. If you go back far enough, we all descend from Adam and Eve. And then from Noah’s sons. Isn’t it great that those of us who were born as “only” children can have this wonderfully large family of siblings?

  2. It is very interesting for me to read your memories. It is so different from what I have experiens from. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

  3. What a lovely tribute to Mickey – such a warm heart. The head dress is beautiful! Great pictures with such neat memories. 😉
    Have a wonderful day, Norma!

  4. That is such a wonderful story.We are all God’s children and it is always nice to learn about other ethnic beliefs.It makes for a better understanding! Look at the friendships you would have missed out on if you hadn’t opened your heart and mind to a new type of person different than you.
    Have a wonderful afternoon and evening Norma.Blessings to you my friend! Keep shining!

  5. Judith, Jean, Nilla, Heather and Dianne… to each of you and your special comments, I thank you. Each one of you is especially appreciated. What a nice group to have here for tea. ginger cookies today. I hope you like them, and I hope you will be back soon.

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