Ken Paden

My Experience as Chieftain

I arrived late to the Tribal Feast this year due to church related responsibilities.  Lunch was over before I finally met up with fellow Tribal Council members, many of whom I've had as friends for over 30 years; we've grown up together in Mic-O-Say and I always enjoy the Feast as the start of my summer fun!  In that moment, l had no idea just how much fun this summer would be!  Frankly, I still find it unbelievable that mine was the name called by DMM Walks Tall for elevation to Chieftain... I mean really, think about it... No matter what your Tribal rank or paint station say out loud the word "Chieftain" followed by your Tribal name.  See what I mean, it just seems like you've said something naughty!  When my long time friend Chief Little Pack Rock said those unspeakable words, I was humbled and honored.

I was escorted around Ceremonial Grounds during the elevation by Chieftain Boy Helper.  My first summer as a Camper at Camp Geiger, then Sachem Boy Helper was on the Sr. Camp Staff and one of my role models.  Having him walk me through this new season of my Geiger experience seemed appropriate.  As he walked me around the fire I listened to script that I've heard many times on the ridge and have even spoken many times when I was a KSB.  But on this night, I appreciated again the significance of the words as they were spoken to me.  I found it quite humbling to receive gifts from representatives of the Tribe.  Several representatives were youth with whom I have worked on the Make Talk Now Staff; others were adults with whom I have worked on various Tribal Council committees.  Each of these relationships have been important to me, and their involvement in the ceremony I found very meaningful.  At some point in the evening I noticed my Dad, Honorary Warrior Big Short Fire in attendance sitting right beside my son-in-law Honorary Warrior Strikes Fire.  My son-in-law had never been present when I was elevated, and the only other elevation that my Dad was able to witness was the night I went from Fire Builder to Tom-Tom Beater!  Having them in attendance, along with several Tribesmen from the church that I pastor, added to the special tenor of the evening for me.  Many thanks to those who made those special touches possible!

June 1, 2013 is a night that I'm sure I'll remember for the rest of my life.  The night I joined the Council of Chieftains and was elevated for the 9th, and final time at 4F.

Throughout the summer, everything about my Chieftain experience was very enjoyable.  I told Ed Stroud during first session that I was really looking forward to watching tapping from inside the circle.  The only other time I had been inside the circle, as a Tribesman, I was carrying a torch and tomahawk and not paying much attention to the view. Each week this summer I enjoyed congratulating the new candidates, thanking Camper Coup recipients, and especially having the opportunity to speak from my heart to new Braves, and Warriors.

My heartfelt congratulations to each Tribesman who in 2013 assumed new responsibility via new claw, claws, paint, or coup.  The summer certainly went by quickly, and before we know it, we'll be gathering together again for the elevation of another Chieftain.  Indeed, many moons have come and gone and the Tribe of Mic-O-Say remains unbroken in spirit... but the summer of 2013 will be the season I will rewind in my mind over and over for the rest of my life.  Thanks to each one who contributed to my experience.

Darrell Jones
Chieftain Short Fire

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