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One Who Carries The Burden



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To the Editor:

When Haudenosaunee/Iroquois say warrior, they mean one who carries the burden of the bones of the people.

Trudy Ray Lamb Richmond was many things — mother, grandmother, Newtown High School graduate, teacher, writer, culture bearer, and proud member of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. She died on April 27.

During the five years I was active in work to change Newtown High School’s Indian mascot, I called Trudy frequently. Our conversations invariably began with something like this:

“Trudy, I’ve hit a roadblock and don’t know where to go.”

Always, Trudy cleared the undergrowth and showed me the path.

During one conversation, Trudy related an incident when she and her husband, Dave, had agreed to speak about what it means to be a Native person in Connecticut. Just as they were about to enter the room, people started to war-whoop.

“Wow, wow wow.”

Dave recoiled.

“We’re not going in there.”

Trudy grabbed his arm and pulled him in.

“We have to.”

Warrior — One who carries the burden of the bones of the people. Trudy was a warrior when she cleared a path through the underbrush for me. She was a warrior when she entered a room of stereotype-laden, ignorant, culturally insensitive people, and she did that a lot. She carried the burden of the bones of the people with tenacity wrapped in velvet kindness. When I think of warrior, I see Trudy’s face.


Jan Lee Brookes

38 Hundred Acres Road, Newtown May 7, 2021

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1 comment
  1. wlambcason says:

    Thank you for your words, Jan. She was the epitome of a warrior in my eyes as well.

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