Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
From the Lincoln Times-News in in Lincolnton, North Carolina. Reprinted in the Feb. 2007 issue of Indian Trader:
Native American couple bringing heritage, lore to Lincoln County
by: Mary Williams (1/15/2007)
To its owners, Richard Eagle and Maria Morning Glow Thomas, the Rising of the Eagle is more than just a store.
Since opening four years, the establishment, located on N.C. 27 East, has become a Native American cultural center.
"We are here to keep the Native American culture alive," said Richard Eagle. "I feel like we have been placed here to help and assist people."
The vision for the Rising of the Eagle came to the couple during reflection. Richard Eagle is of Cherokee descent, while Maria Morning Glow is Spanish and Native American.
Both wanted to bring their history to the people of Lincoln County.
"It was really a vision that both of us had. We decided that when were in the mountains to bring it to fruition," said Richard Eagle. "We also felt by introducing the Native American culture to Lincoln County and the surrounding areas we can be of financial and spiritual assistance."
Working with relatives in the southwestern United States and the North Carolina mountains, the couple offers items ranging from jewelry, moccasins, blankets, dolls, well-known dreamcatchers from 1-inch to 30-inches, Native American regalia costumes and even artifacts and artwork dating as far back as 1840.
Maria Morning Glow also offers traditional beadwork classes and Native American flute lessons.
In fact, CDs of authentic flute music is one of the store's most popular items.
"They love the flute music," said Maria Morning Glow. "We have a lot of massage therapists and doctors offices who come in for the flute music."
Richard Eagle said the store is capable of appraising items. They also provide services including exterior and interior decorating, and have recently employed a herbalist. Richard Eagle is also a qualified ordained shaman, and is available [for] events.
"We offer services such as singing, dancing and drumming for special occasions such as parties and banquets," he said. Education is also one of the biggest focuses of the store. A Native American history museum sits next to the showroom that is open during regular store hours.
The couple says that on many occasions people come into the store with questions about items they acquired or found. Historically, Lincoln County was the home of six Native American tribes, including the Cherokees, Catawbas and Flatheads, said Richard Eagle.
"We have a lot of people who come in and say they found arrowheads in their yards," said Maria Morning Glow. Reaching out to the community is something couple also feels passionate about. They are open to speaking at schools, churches and other community organizations.
Currently the couple is looking to acquire land to bring powwows to the area.
"There are approximately 500 tribes in the United States and Canada and they are offering their participation to and for the public," Richard Eagle said.
"We feel that four powwows a year will bring 200,000 people to Lincoln County from the spring of the year to the fall. It will be a great environment for families and provide great access for businesses and county government."
Until then, the couple is content spreading their culture to the community.
"Lincoln County supports us 100 percent," said Richard Eagle.
Rising of the Eagle Native American art gallery is located at 4742 N.C. 27 East in Iron Station. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. For more information, call (704) 735-6464.
An e-mail sent to Steve Steiner, managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News, questioned this article:
I did an online search and saw where Mr. Richard Eagle Thomas was also referred to as Chief: http://charlotte.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/PrintFriendly?oid=oid%3A2893. Again, my questions are: 1) What Tribe is he Chief of and 2) Who ordained him as a Shaman? These would not be unusual questions for a responsible person to ask. If Mr. Thomas is what he says he is, then that is a good thing. If not, then I believe it is the responsible journalist's duty to correct those errors.
For the record, here's the listing referred to:
Visual Arts: Openings
Rising of the Eagle Native American Art Gallery. Chief Richard Eagle Thomas will be on premises dressed in full regalia and telling short stories. Hours Sat 10-6pm, Sun 12-6pm. 4742 East Hwy 27, Iron Station.
Sheila "Firehair" Stover forwarded the original article and the replies to her mailing list. She offered her own thoughts on Eagle, including this point:
We have enough problems with real issues: health, education, prejudice, economic status, daily loss of identity, culture, language, tradition, and always, as usual, land loss, land loss.
We don't need MORE frauds/phonies/wannabees making it up as they go along, mixing, matching and pretending—to the innocent and others LIKE themselves, who are only too happy and eager to push the falsehoods forward.
Firehair also forwarded an e-mail sent to her about Eagle (3/5/07):
Your column of this past week about the man from Lincolnton, NC got sent me. I met him. He's not Indian. (I'm not, either—wife isn't—she's a Brit.) He says and dresses like a Halloween Indian, that museum has some nice things, a lot of junk.
Bob (Scotty) Scott
We also should mention the pseudo-Indian names: Richard Eagle and Maria Morning Glow. These are almost certainly phony names. They sound like a non-Indian's concept of what Indians should be named. Most Indians would use their own names, not some made-up names, to sell their goods and services.
Indian wannabes and imitators
New Age mystics, healers, and ceremonies
. . .
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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
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