Saturday, January 9, 2010

chief two trees, a cherokee healer

Nephew of late healer 'Chief Two Trees' seeks stories about uncle to use in book

By Melissa Stout
published: April 26, 2005 6:00 am

Old Fort - Robert SunHawk believes in his heritage and documenting the tradition of American Indian healing arts that were once performed by his uncle, the well-known late "Chief Two Trees" of Old Fort.

With hopes of reviving and honoring his uncle's practices, SunHawk is inviting the people who sought Two Trees' guidance from far and wide to come to the Mountain Gateway Museum's Medicine Moon Celebration Sept. 23-25 to share and compile their encounters and stories of Two Trees for a book.

Through the book, "I hope to share with people that there are more aspects to healing than just the physical," SunHawk said of the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual components to healing. "I want to keep 'Chief's' memory alive, compile a family history and share with others the stories he's inspired through his healing techniques."

The book will focus on the wisdom SunHawk learned from his ancestors about how to stay well and live according to native values.

"When (Two Trees) was here, he saw a tremendous number of people who had given up hope on medicine and medical treatment," said Lin Redmond, SunHawk's business partner with the Center for Natural Healing.

The Medicine Moon Celebration is a celebration of the life, practice and teachings of Two Trees and other Western North Carolina healers. It is held at The Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort, a museum that documents the region's pioneer days.

Two Trees was not a "card-carrying" member of the Cherokee or an actual chief. He claimed the status of a Cherokee Indian through verbal lineage, received the name Two Trees through ceremony and the name chief from his visitors, SunHawk said.

"The people, his visitors, honored him by the only way they knew how - by calling him Chief," SunHawk said. "His visitors called him Chief out of respect and honor."

According to SunHawk, before North Carolina began regulating activities pertaining to natural healing, people came to visit Two Trees from around the nation and the world for anything and everything regarding natural healing. Some of his visitors were Hollywood actors and actresses, senators' aides and politicians from Washington, D.C., and many local people.

Two Trees relied entirely on donations.

"His property still exists in (Old Fort)," SunHawk said. "Two to three people a week still come to see if he's there, not knowing that he has passed."

Two Trees was born in 1927 and died in April 1995. The September memorial will mark the 10th anniversary of his transition through death. Throughout the weekend there will be dancing, drumming and flute circles, storytelling, energy work linked with American Indian traditions, crafts, traditional American Indian food booths and many other activities. There will also be a discussion of healing methods and reminiscences of the healers of the past to help preserve their teachings.

"Everybody honors the great people around them in one way or another," SunHawk said. "This is our way of honoring Two Trees."

SunHawk hopes the upcoming event will bring people from far and wide to share their stories of Two Trees, both good and bad, for the book.

"We want it to be personal. We need their experiences in their own words with what they experienced with him," SunHawk said. "I want to keep it real. If people have negative things to say, that's fine."

Individuals who contribute their experiences do not have to put their name on the story, but SunHawk asks that they do include the town and state they are from.

The upcoming event "is very important for people who received help from 'Chief' Two Trees because some of them had very significant life-changing experiences with him," Redmond said. "People were very bonding with him, very appreciative of him."

For more information regarding the upcoming celebration or to share your story of 'Chief' Two Trees, contact SunHawk at 248-1319 or Robert SunHawk

Thanks to Bea Woodward for passing this on!