Spokane Valley resident Stan Hughes is on a journey and, while life itself is a journey, Hughes takes it to heart and the proof is in a name. Hughes’ “other” name is Ha-Gue-A-Dees-Sas, a Seneca Indian expression for man seeking his people.
His recently published book “Medicine Seeker – A Beginner’s Walk on the Pathway to Native American Spirituality” is his way of sharing his journey.
“The chronology of this book has been and continues to be the most important stage of my life. I wanted to share it in hopes that readers will realize that life is a journey rather than a destination. Too many people measure success by goal accomplishment which generally brings about another goal, and then another, and so on, and they are never totally satisfied,” he said.
“I really believe Native American spirituality has a lot to offer people searching for some deeper meaning to life. It may be the oldest and the most pure of all the forms of religion. I have been able to carry this belief in one hand and my Christian belief in the other. I guess I have become a spiritual melting pot.”
Hughes, 69, was born on Yakima Indian Territory and grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He spent time on the Yakima Reservation and the Pine Ridge Reservation. He said that his youth was trying and that being part Indian was difficult. “I didn’t really know who I was,” he said.
In high school, Hughes found solace in athletics and art. He did illustrations for the school annual and newspaper. His work was also published in the local newspaper as a heading for school news. He served in the Army from 1959 to 1965 where his artistic talents were used; he decorated the interior of buildings with large paintings.
After his time in the Army, he studied art and education, earning bachelor’s degrees in both and a master’s in educational administration from Eastern Washington University. He worked as a teacher in the Snohomish School District, as a school administrator in the Central Valley School District, and as a consultant for the Indian Education Center.
All the while, he sought information on Native American ways through experience that included healing, sweat lodges, a vision quest, and finding his totem animal.
He wrote down his experiences in the form of poetry and short stories. He was the sports editor and feature writer for the Snohomish County Tribune for five years and his work has been in print in more than a dozen publications.
“Medicine Seeker,” published by Norlightspress, will be reviewed in the July/August edition of Awareness Magazine as well as in Indian Country Today. Recently, Hughes was invited to discuss his book on the Native American Trailblazers radio show.
The book, which took years to compile and find a publisher, is filled with fascinating facts and stories as well as a survey that readers can take to find their personal totems/spiritual animals. Hughes is working on a coffee table book of poems and drawings called “Prayers to the Earth Mother.”
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