By Ocie Woolsey on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:46pm
My Cristian name is Lee Roy Gibson. I received my Indian name through a Vision Quest in the high mountains of East Tennessee. This name was given to me by the Spirits of my ancestors and the Great Spirit, God.
I was born at Notchey Creek in Monroe County, Tennessee on September 29, 1942. My Mother, Willie Mae, was only 13 years old at the time of my birth. I was raised by my Mother, Grandmother, and two Uncles. My Indian heritage is documented through the Walker, Gibson, Raper, and Kirkland families.
I am not enrolled in any recognized Cherokee Tribe, I share what knowledge I have of the Overhill Cherokee traditions and history as I, Man Many Trees understand it to be. In no way do I claim to be the final word on any subject concerning any Cherokee tradition, culture, history or language which I share with others.
In 1966, I married Joy Kelly of Loudon County, Tennessee and we have six children, three sons and three daughters. We have six grandchildren living and one gone over.
The two people outside of my Grandmother and Mother who have influenced my life the most are, Walker Calhoun of North Carolina, and Grayson Newman of Polk County, Tennessee. I listened to my Grandmother who discretely told me what her Mother had told her. I listened to my Mother who taught me there is good in every person and animal on this earth. I've learned everything I could that Walker Calhoun has spoken about, and I've tried to memorize every word written by Grayson Newman. I've spent countless days, weeks, and months in the hills of East Tennessee, listening to old people share their family histories and traditions.
This is what I share with those who will listen. I have those who would twist my words and who speak of me in bad faith. However, those who differ from my words and path I travel, I have no hard feelings. I honor and respect those who differ from my trail of life, and I will never speak badly of my adversaries or discredit them in any way.
I travel to the top of the mountain, time after time, in search of answers and guidance from my ancestors and the Great Spirit, God.
This Nation will not be controlled on a reservation nor ask the United States Government for any monetary assistance.
I lead my people to learn to set aside prejudices---that this Nation would be each others Brothers and Sisters---each of us helping others as we help ourselves.
I have no problem with our Brothers and Sisters, who live on Reservations, or those who have turned to gambling for revenues. We each have different paths to walk.
I ask not for land claims; however, I support our bloods who do. We are a Nation of Indian descendants and people who are seeking a light of hope, even if they cannot prove one drop of Native American Blood. You can be documented full blooded Native American and not qualify to be one of us.
I knew that I was facing a forest of problems, as I undertook to create a Nation of People of so many histories and cultures.
There are those who will not see us as "Native American People", because some do not carry BIA cards, and the only proof we have of any Indian blood, at all, is because a Grandmother said we did. Who are we to say our Grandmother was a liar? Not me, that's for sure.
The Overhill Nation is a tribe of people united together and committed to the betterment of each individual, through education regardless of heritage, sex, age, social standing, or physical limitations.
The Overhill Nation is bigger than I, Man Many Trees. I give humble thanks and recognition to my ancestors who have given me this great heritage, and to the Holy Spirit for the guidance to follow what, at times, seemed like an unattainable dream. The Great Spirit has been very kind to me during my travels and each step along the way I have been planting seeds. We all now can see the green sprout reaching up from Mother Earth's womb--seeking to grow strong as a Redwood tree or giant Oak--as majestic and strong as the American Eagle. The Overhill Indian Nation is here to stay.
In conclusion, I reach out to each and every one of you. We must all work together to keep this Nation growing, but foremost, we must always honor the Great Spirit and work together to make the Overhill Indian Nation one that, not only each and every member will be proud of, but one that non-members will respect. As an individual, when you attend a Pow-Wow, Trade Fair, or any other function, always remember that the shadow you cast and the grains of sand that are left in your footsteps, will live a lot longer than you. Always honor the Great Spirit and your Ancestors.
Remember, "If it is to be, we must make it be!"
Written by: Lee Roy Gibson, "Chief Man Many Trees" Copywrite 1995 Printed and published in the "The Over-Hill Eagle"
Prepared by: Hummingbird Warrior (#4)