Grey Eagle carved "Return of the Cherokee" in 1984. It was in honor of his people, the Cherokee, with one side being male and one side being female. "Return of the Cherokee" was created during a time of longing for Grey Eagle and for others with Indigenous heredity to be recognized for who they are and to show pride in their ancestry. It was a time before being Native American was honored by other races. It was a time when discrimination was still prevalent.
"Return of the Cherokee" stayed with us for a few years, playing a significant role in our travels. It made a statement where ever it went, one that said, "We are still here, the Indigenous Ones. We never left. We were never removed on the Trail of Tears. Our voice has now returned to us and you will learn to honor our knowledge. Listen to us, the Indigenous Ones, before it is to late".
In the late 1980s the world began to listen and to see that Indigenous people from many tribes across the land had many answers for many questions. In hundreds of different ways the Indigenous people were rising to the call of sharing their ancestral knowledge. It was the beginning of a new and glorious time.
We like to believe that the physical presence of "Return of the Cherokee" helped to manifest a new thought process for this new time. In the 21st century, it is with a great deal of pride that those who are Indigenous to this land can stand and say that they have returned, their voices are heard and their knowledge respected...all the while knowing that they were never really gone.
"Return of the Cherokee" was purchased by a private collector in 1989. It resides at her home in a place of highest honor, and through her it has continued to carry its message to many.
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