Harjo: On the passing of Dad, Freeland Douglas
"I want to tell you about my father, Freeland Douglas. I am bursting with equal parts pride and sadness. Pride because he was a hero and - well - Dad. Sadness because he died on April 5 in San Antonio and there were things he did not get to do.

He did not get to go home to Okmulgee, Okla., where he wanted to be around Muscogee -speaking people all the time and hear Muscogee songs. He wanted to bring a lawsuit about what federal Indian boarding schools did to him and other Native young people and to Native languages. He wanted to recover his family lands, or at least know the whole truth of how they were stolen.

His doctors said if he didn't have an operation or chemotherapy he would live for two years. He chose the two years and decided how he wanted to spend them. But then came the stroke and there wasn't even time to go home.

He was 85, lived a full life, died peacefully at dawn and Muscogee songs sang him farewell. Others will have to be his language and land warriors.

When Dad asked me to arrange for him to move home, he also said he wanted to spend time fishing at Lake Okmulgee, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps that Dad loved. He spent a summer in an all-Indian CCC camp near Bull Holler and was pretty sure the following song lyrics referred to his group: ''Another day, another dollar, another night in Bull Holler.''

Dad was Hodulgee (Wind Clan) from Nuyakv Tribal Town of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. He always said those were the first and most important things to know about who he was."

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Suzan Shown Harjo : Dad (Indian Country Today 4/13)

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