“The Crow Story”

by antoinette nora claypoole

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Ed  Little Crow came into my life at a time when genocide as an ongoing threat to the Diné (Navajo)  near Big Mountain, Az. became a serious counter culture focus—in the early 1980’s. Many of us in the Northwest were rallying to support the Diné Grandmothers  who were in resistance to forced relocation. And in that support for future generations movement.  There was always Crow. A quiet force, like Winter water. That freezes and splits the white man’s asphalt. His resolve and shapeshifting nature swift and solid, elusive and ever-vigilant.  Clear, translucent.  Yes.  You see he is everything of inspired paradox, untired strength.  Courage and poetic grace. Open space and resonant contradiction of time and place. His poems, memories etch infinity. As Eddie is equally an enigma and a man of stamina.  He has survived Indian Wars only he can describe.  With all the emotions being a father has nurtured. Reflecting the endlessness of our quest for  life’s significance.


For many years some folks in  Ashland, Or. called him “that Chinese man”  and he liked that.  The ways a white world mixes up faces and places was/is humorous to Eddie.  We decided it was just because he has always had that long dangling chin hair going on. O my.  That people couldn’t quite know if he was Lakota, Laotian or downright intergalactic. But we, his family, knew he was born on the “rez” in South Dakota, a Lakota, Dakota man through and through.  His stories about Gramma days explain that. Along with the only photo he has of his mom. Who passed away soon after the snapshot on the front cover of this book was taken (Crow rarely talks of how he lost his Mom but on a good day he will tell you of Tommy the dog, also in that picture).  And so. The thing about Indian Country that Crow taught me was resolve. And feeling the heartbeat.  Simoultaneous keys to survival.  Folded into serious reflection of connection.  To Earth. To Sky.  All wrapped up in rainbow colored paper for everyone to open.  At the same time.  An Indian piñata in the madroned watershed of time. He welcomes everyone inside the dusty road to camp.


Ed Little Crow, in the 30 years I have known him has never flinched from speaking truth.  He explains in these pages:
 I am an Indian soul
Trapped blocked by concrete forms
And chaotic carelessness
Listen and you can hear my ancestors
Voicing their discontent at the broken hoop
 A tribe with out a golden dream
This collection, this book,  is fused with lament, necessary rants and poetic integrity, testament to Crow’s unwavering belief that the flaws of humanity are universal.  And skin color resolves nothing that the human soul hasn’t already either forgotten or  surmounted.  As you read his words, you can hear ravens and yes a gaggle of crows.  Over head.  Over heart. These are realities that life gives Ed.  And he then shares with us.  All the while. He. Dreaming.  Over all these years readily sharing  with all who meet and have loved him.  No one is forgotten.  Everyone is included in Crow’s world everyone’s inside the dream.  Together.  Dreaming of  a true world.  In his language that is...  A opchine wala ohkon.                 
           antoinette nora claypoole
October 8, 2009
on my way back to Oregon