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LETTERS TO BIG EAGLE
 
Over the years I have received hundreds of letters and E-Mail from Y-Indian Program members. Each letter is dear to my heart, and the following E-mail from a former Y-Guide really tells the story of why I have continued with this project through the years. It's from Dave Costa in Burke, Virginia, who discovered my website last year and ordered a Y-Indian Guide medallion. He and his dad were in Y-Indian Guides almost 40 years ago, and he was buying it for his father's birthday. Later, Dave sent me another E-Mail and this is what he said:
 
"The medallion I bought from you was perfect. Dad loved it. . .it was part of a box of memories shared by the two of us - old ticket stubs from Fenway Park and Boston Garden, a Popiel pocket fisherman. . .and the medallion. He was in tears (happy ones, I assure you). He remembered the Indian Guides as one of his favorite Father/Son activities, so this keepsake is more valuable than anyone would guess. . .Thank you for helping my father and I celebrate in a wonderful way. Dave Costa - dcosta@uu.net "
March 5, 2002
 
Just a short note to tell that I am Harold Keltner`s grandson. The first, Charles Keltner Shanks. I just checked out the different sites on the Indian Guides, and was very happy to see all the info that is available there. I don`t hear to much about the guides these days, and was wondering if they were still going. My grandfather was
quite a man, and strong christian. I remember many times, sitting around a campfire listening to the stories from him about the Indians, and their beliefs. It was a great time in my life. I still go up to Wisconsin, to Hidden Lake once in a while, and enjoy the spirit that is there.
Just wanted to let you know, and say, Thanks for preserving the Guides, and his great contribution.
Again, thanks. Charles Shanks cks7275@ccp.com
 
My father worked extensively with the Y guides of New Jersey , years ago.
Just surfed across your page and the Indian related information.
Let me just say in this age of political correctness, Good job!
Especially your information concerning Indian protocal and sensitivity.
My father was Tom Two Arrows, he has since passed on. He would have liked
to see that you have kept the tradition well. Tom Dorsey

 

 

Loved your web site. I am in the Indian Guides and Indian Princess programs out of the West Toledo Y. Our web sites are Westyguides.org and Blackswampnation.tribod.com. I plan on ordering medallions from you and telling other members about them.
Chris Hammye - Chief Brown Elk - Blackswamp Nation - ChiefBrownElk@aol.com
 
I was in the Indian Guides with my dad for 4 yrs. now joined with my son
and doing some research. your site is excellent and very well done
Roaring Tiger - Imturtle1@aol.com

 

My Princess really enjoyed receiving it at our annual dinner dance at the Top of the Triangle in Pittsburgh and has it in her drawer for secret and special treasures. (and you can quote me on that) Regards again, Chief Horsefeathers - YIPPatter@aol.com
 
You have an excellent web site on Indian Guides/Princesses. A lot of great resources. You really saved me tonight. I was asked to be a substitute Medicine Man and needed a story to tell at our council fire. You had a story that fit perfectly for our subject. Thanks!
Joe Neely Sleeping Turtle - jhneely@hotmail.com
 
. . .my son graduated from Indian Guides about 6 yrs ago and
never got a medal. He got a picture and is still disappointed. this will
be a great suprise for him.
Mighty Hawk dbchills@earthlink.net.
Thank you for having this site. I was browsing the web looking for information on the Y-Indian Guide program, having been an avid participant from the mid 70s through the early 80s. My father and I were part of the Calumet Nation in Northern Indiana, and did Y-Indian Princesses, moving into the Trailblazer program as I got older. It was in the Trailblazer program that my father, my brother, and myself were awarded Trailblazer medallions.
 
I will never forget my time in Y-Indian Guides, and I consider it to have greatly shaped my relationship with my father, and other parental figures. I would be happy to allow you to post any/all of this on your website. I only wish I could get involved again, now - We don't have children, YET! Thanks very much! Jennifer Kelbaugh Bolton skeeter@rootaction.net
 
The medallions were a big hit. Thanks for a great job. Ed Friman, Cherokee Chief,
Prairie Nation, Algonquin Federation. Illinois Edward.A.Friman@ucm.com
 
The medallions were distributed at our year end dinner dances and most of the girls immediately put them on. I'm sure you will be getting some orders from some of the Dads who didn't initially order them. I was quite impressed with the first class engraving.

Thanks again for the courtesy you extended to me. While I am now done with the Indian Princesses after 6 years in the program and the last 2 as Longhouse Chief, I'll have more time to spend with my son in the Indian Guides. It wouldn't surprise me if I get them to place an order. You can expect another order from the Princesses next year. Have an enjoyable summer and feel free to post my comments. -
Phil Rubenstein philesq@nb.net
 
Great! Thanks for your fast service. Great web site, it makes the ordering fast and easy.
The Medallions will make for a great year end ceremony. Big Star, Nation Chief,
Tuscarora Nation, Riverside California YMCA - WDGrant@compuserve.com
 
Big Eagle: Ordered the Leather Pendant kit less than a week before my son's and my last official Indian Guide campout together. Received it in plenty of time and made a special moment in both our lives with a little private "presentation ceremony" just as the sun was setting on that last campout evening. Thanks for the FAST response. I could not have come up with a better gift for my son to remember our years together in the program. Big Grey Bat and Little Black Bat - David Rahn - dr@ch.zhgm.com

I am Roaring Water of the Pawnee Federation in Greenville, SC. I ordered a medallion for our Guides Federation Chief and son last year as a personal thank you for their two years of service to our federation. . . Brave Eagle and his son Soaring Eagle were delighted and I'm sorry it has taken me this long to thank you for these wonderful keepsakes and the fantastic service you provided for me. . .Again, thank you and watch out for what I hope is a large order from the Eastside YMCA in Greenville, SC. Scott Crandall - jlsc@home.com

. . .My oldest daughter and I are finishing our third year in the program with a campout this weekend. What a blast we've had! I hope to surprise her with the medallion as a permanent memento of our time together. . .I did Indian Guides with my dad when I was a kid (wish my dad had known about these medallions then - they look so cool in the photos) James Golder - jrgolder@yahoo.com

Hello, I have a 1972 medal. that my father gave to me while we were in Indian Guides in San Jose, Ca. I would like to receive a brochure and order an engraved one for Father's Day. Falling Rock Rick D Eoff -rde15@cvip.fresno.com

. . .I am sure after I show these awesome medallions at our next chiefs meeting . . .you will probably be getting some more orders from the Fremont-Newark YMCA. Thank you again. Big Fox - JNav4@aol.com

I was looking at your web site and thought that the Medallions were great. I am a Nation Chief with the YIP program in Pittsburgh. Can you snail mail me info so I can show it to our Longhouse officers? Thanks, Running Deer - runningdeer@nb.net.

. . .The kids and parents were really excited about these medallions in my nation.. . . Thanks so much for doing these - the members couldn't stop talking about them, and the kids were all wearing them at breakfast on the Sunday morning following our ceremony. Bill Tanguay - btanguay@maplechase.com

Great! I know the guys are going to love this, and I really appreciate your good service. DHansen325@aol.com

Could you please send me a brochure to order some medallions. I am definitely interested, and would like to present them to our tribe and nation. I think they are a great idea. Darrell Carlis (Swamp Gator - Assistant Chief, Calumet Nation) DCarlis@aol.com.

Big Eagle, I am new to the Indian Guides. . .and am looking forward to enjoying these times with my son.. . .If you have some brochures to send, that would be great! I'll bring them to our next meeting. . .next month. Matthew Krakowiak - MGKRAK@aol.com.

As the Hawkeye Nation Chief (Marion Iowa) for Princesses, I saw your web page and also the medallions. What a Great Idea! Would you please send me some brochures that I can share with the guides and princess chiefs? I am personally interested in this as a keepsake. Don Steggall - dhstegga@mcleod.net

Now for some snail mail from years past - some, many years past!

My congratulations. . .for your splendid idea. I am now fifty and my "little brave" has reached twenty and is a junior at college. However they (Indian Guide years) were happy days together and I wish to send him this reminder of them.
Raymond T Heizer, Jr., Lexington, KY
 
On his return from the recent National Longhouse in Pittsburgh (1972) our new Federation Chief presented me with one of your outstanding medallions in appreciation for my work this year as the chief of the 17 tribe Comanche Nation. In all my years of public activity, I do not believe I have ever seen a finer memento than your excellent Pals Forever Medallion.
C. Duane Kraft, Tacoma, WA
 
Recently one of my tribes ordered your medallion for all of its members. . .they were so impressed that they didn't want to just exchange them informally, but have some type of ceremony that the whole family could participate in. . .
Paul Dimke, Youth Director YMCA of Michigan City, MI
 
The Charleston Central YMCA was very pleased to receive the sample Pals Forever Medallion. It is not only a beautiful medallion but also something that will probably be helpful to us in our Indian-Guide promotion.
Doug Forth, Youth Director YMCA of Charleston, WV
 
We have some former Y-Indian Guides in San Jose, CA., who have helped for many years. The two boys are grown. We'd like to buy four medallions for the family. . .
A. J. Northrop, YMCA of Tulare County, Porterville, CA
 
We have the second largest federation in the south, and I feel sure our fathers and sons would be very much interested in the medallion.
John E Morgan, Executive Director, Orange County YMCA, Winter Park FL

I was very impressed with the YIG Medallion. . .I am going to present it to our nation council for application in our program. I'm very excited about the medallion. . .Douglas Enslie, South Pasadena YMCA, South Pasadena, CA

As medicine man of the Cherokee Nation, allow me to say from all of us that the medallion will be cherished by those of us who receive it. . .Interest is great in this nation, and more orders will follow. Simon Martinez, Arlington, VA

The new 1975 medallion is a keepsake that a father and son can be proud to own. . . congratulations on a job well done. Ted Pichard, Lawrence MA

Thanks for producing such a fine product. Gary A. Foss, Minneapolis, Mn

This one is a bit overdone, but I really appreciate the thought - it's for real. . .

Your splendid effort to unite tribes and members, new and old, should certainly be regarded as one of the finest moves made in perpetuation of our brotherhood. Joe Donegan, Chief Cherokee Nation, Arlington, Virginia

And this one

We are having a chief's workshop this Saturday at which time we may use (the medallions) as a program resource. Realizing the importance of your project, I do want to do it right. C Andrew Sturdy, Director of Youth and Physical Education, YMCA of Metro Washington, Bethesda, MD

And we get published:

Enclosed you will find a copy of the article that appeared in the Sunday Call-Chronicle on December 19, 1971. It was this article that brought the medallion to my attention. Your prompt action in forwarding this information to me is more than appreciated. William A Schuler, Bethlehem, PA

Enclosed find a copy of our "Tom Tom Beat" in which we mention your Indian Guide Medallion. Jack (Big Horse) Calegari, Longview YMCA, Kansas City, MO

Here's something I ran across browsing the YMCA of the USA publication "Y-Indian Guide Programs: Responsible use of the Native American Theme. This was in the second paragraph where the writer is legitimizing the program: "Another man contacted the national office in search of an Indian Guide Medallion. His father, who had just died, had given him one when they were in the program together. The son wanted the YIG medallion set in his father's headstone".

I could go on and on. Many of these letters are from the early years and they are among my favorites. They elegantly express our original idea behind the Y-Indian Program Medallions - and why I have continued over the years with the project. Thanks for reading this far.

If you have any comments, I would be delighted to receive them. Just email Big Eagle Please include in your comments whether I may post your comments here.

Big Eagle, Charlie Stone
 
 
 
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Y-Indian Program Medallions, 100 Clegg St., Walden, TN 37377
888-222-8228 or 423-886-2721 - Fax 423-886-4969