All text and audio copyright, 2015 by the Native American Development Center ©
Allan: My name is Allan Demaray, Jr. My Indian name is [... ], The Little Missouri. Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara, or [...]. I currently reside in New Town, North Dakota, with my wife. We have seven children together, ages 15 down to 4. Their Indian names are ... Their names is Red Earth, Brings Rain, Stands Holy Woman, White Star Horse, Good Medicine Woman, Raven Tail, and She Comes From The River. Right now, I have a Bachelor in Education. I used to teach for several years, and ran different programs in Grand Forks, North Dakota, when we were living there.
Right now, I am currently the chief of staff for Councilman Spotted Bear, for the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nation on Fort Berthold. I grew up when I was a little boy in Twin Buttes. My mother moved our family to Bismarck. She was a single mother. I have five sister and three brothers. I grew up there for a while and struggled. Single mother, raising children, trying to overcome things herself. Trying to figure out life herself. I feel for my mother and my father. I love them very much. My mother was an orphan growing up, taking care of her siblings and going home to home. Herself, having [00:02:00] children, she was doing the best she could, but growing up away from the people ...
Allan: ... Growing up away from the people and the struggles that we had that incorporated a lot of alcohol and drugs, and a broken home, more or less. Some way, somehow, we chose to solidify. We had nothing growing up. What we had, each other's love. We had each other. When I reflect on those moments, I am very thankful for some of those hardships, because it taught me something about life. Later on, I wanted to get to know my father more so, so I went and I stayed with him. He lived in Fargo at the time, so I moved over there and got to know him, and developed a great relationship with my father.
As time progressed, I missed my mother and my other siblings, also, so I went back to Bismarck and graduated from Bismarck High School, but within that time, I really struggled. There was a lot of times in my life where I was lost, where I wandered, where I had no teachings, but yet, I desired something more. I wanted something more, but the environment I was living in, the young men that I grew up with, I'm the only one that never went to prison. For myself, I wasn't too far from that end. The lifestyle that I chose, and some of the experiences that I went through, but I was thankful I got through those.
There was a time when I had a spiritual enlightenment with the holy ones, where they came to me and listened to me, and spoke to me, and I was very fearful of them, but it showed me something. It taught me something. In that vision, as a young man, a time when I was lost, lost with alcohol and drugs and whatnot, they showed me the possibilities and the route I was taking in that moment, and I knew I had to overcome that. I was scared. The end result was an early death because I chose not to fulfill my destiny. Through my death, what they were showing me is, I was going to affect hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of souls.
At the time, as a young man, I didn't understand that. I had no guidance. No one to go to. No one that could steer me back on the right path. I had to go through that, trying to figure out how one life can affect so many. I ended up moving back to Fort Berthold. My dad was residing there at the time. I was hurt. I was broken. I was cold. I needed to heal. At the time, my dad, he sobered up. He was on the red road, and he followed the prayerful life, and I had to mend and grow with him. Things occurred where another avenue opened up for myself through our sun dances, through our sweat lodges, through our culture, and I desired so much in life. Kind of being a wanderer out there, knowing I have a people, but yet not knowing either.
I dedicated a great portion of my life to trying to live the way Creator wanted me to live, and I had to go through many different experiences, experiences that might sidetrack me from my purpose. Going through that was a very difficult, painful, loving, enlightening ... What everything has entailed in life, the light and the dark, and everything in between, I was now discovering that. The greatest discovery I was making in that time was who I was. When I discovered that once you find Creator, you find that source of power. Once you find yourself, you find that source of power. You find Creator or God. It goes hand in hand, because you are part of that power.
Through some of that personal discovery, I began to grow in so many ways, spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. College was never encouraged for me. It was something that I had decided to do. I was [inaudible 00:07:06]. I was very successful at it as a leader, as all my hardships kind of taught me something about life. These were things that I kind of embraced, and started to grow, started to understand this life, started to perceive it through our cultural values. My clan is [... ], prairie chicken, and the son of [... ], [...], and a knife clan.
Growing up and understanding, trying to accumulate our knowledge of our languages and our ceremonies, and running into my beautiful wife. Running into my wife, she was ... I was looking and looking for relationship. I wanted to start a family, but everything never turned out, of course. Finally, I gave up, and I prayed one day, and I said, "Creator, I put this in your hands. It's up to you. I'm tired of struggling like this. My heart is lonely. It's up to you. You find someone out there best for me." I said, "I'm going to stop looking." And in that time, at that time, my soon-to-be wife, Twyla Baker, she lost her scholarship at BSE, and she had ... It's not that I asked anything terrible for her, but things turned out that way. She ended up coming home. We never knew anything about each other.
Once I've seen her, I instantly fell in love. I was trying to court her, trying to talk to her. Everybody I talked to said I had no chance with her, but the whole time, she had the same feelings towards me, so it was really a true love story. That's a story I'm not going to get too much into, but my prayer was answered. We're still together. We're going to be together for almost 19 years now. Right now, I'm 39, so it's going to be over half our life we've been together. It just seems as recent, like I just met her the other day. There's part of us that are still fallen in love with each other, and I'm so fortunate, and so happy to walk with this life with such a wonderful companion, a wonderful mother, because she's my best friend. She's a very intelligent woman. Probably the most intelligent woman that I've ever met in my life. The most beautiful woman that I've ever met in my life. I'm really a fortunate man, a blessed man, and having the beautiful children that we have.
As we were in Grand Forks, we had overcome many many difficult issues as we were building our community, as we were building the people. In all those [00:10:00] challenges, and being in that world and trying to go through and help others to grow, we didn't want what people were going through what I went through, what my wife went through. We want to provide something more. We had a higher purpose in life. We had to follow this will. We had to align our own will with Creator's will. We really, we came a pillar in that community to selflessly help. The 15 years we've been ... The 19. Out of the ... There's 15 years that we've always taken care of people.
Even today, we have a mother with 5 children living with us, and that's constant. Our house is always full. But we decide ... We know we adhere to our cultural values, because that's what we want to be. In order to be something, you have to be the embodiment, first. I met many, many great leaders that traveled around the world, but one of the greatest leaders I've ever met is the woman I wake up to every day. That's somebody I look up to.
Just as recently, we had a situation happen back home, today. Our police force was in disarray. There was so much of friction going on between all our forces. They called me and they asked me if I could do something, so I told them, "It's okay. I'll take care of this. I'll come in. I'll put on a cultural sensitive and team-building seminar for everybody." In one evening, I drove through a thunderstorm. As I was driving, praying about this because I love our police officers. Those are our brothers and sisters. It just breaks my heart with what they're going through and all that they go through, and if there's something I could do ... I pulled over and I cried, and I cried, and I was praying for them, and I want something so much for them. I asked Creator to help us all be the ...
Allan: I asked Creator to help us be the instruments, to help us mend this. However we need to do this, I put it in their hands. I put it in Creator's hands. This morning, we brought all of our law enforcement agencies together. They did not know that I was doing this, but I brought them together. This is the first time they are all together. There was tension, but through it all, we learned something.
Through it all, there was a great teaching. Through it all, there was a great power that moved through all of us. Through it all, we understood that there's a great enemy in this world, and this great enemy is really who we are. We are our greatest enemies, and that's the first enemy we have to overcome. As we begin to move through life, as we begin to gravitate and to understand, as we begin to grow, we have to realize we're not here in this by ourselves. That we're here together, and we had to mend this. That this is our sacred village, and we are the leaders, and we are the protectors, and we had to find a way ...
Allan: So in the end, we came together. In the end, everybody hugged each other, and everybody told each other that we loved ... Each of us, we were all the medicine men, and we were all the medicine women, and we all doctored each other. This is just one of many plethora of challenges and opportunities, [00:14:00] and a time to grow as leaders, as human beings. I'm so very thankful to be a part of this world, to do our part together, and to provide some sort of inspiration by being the embodiment for our people, some way, somehow. That was just one instance of many, so I'm so thankful for that opportunity.
Davis: Well thank you, Al.