Means discusses Pipkin


Excerpt from Where White Men Fear to Tread, pp 434 -435:

Among the marchers were Steve Pipkin and his wife, Mary, who had heard me speak at the international tribunal. Steve later told me that he had said to himself, "This is the guy I want to relate to in terms of Indian people; his philosophy and religious beliefs are just what I believe." At the march, he came up and introduced me to his wife and kids. A nice-looking man a few years younger than me, he lived in California and was independently wealthy from a publishing

business he had founded. He said he wanted to be with Indians and help them. Many whites have said that kind of thing to me, but when I asked him to donate to Yellow Thunder Camp, he wrote out a check for a thousand dollars.

As I got to know Steve, I was even more amazed. His father was a fundamentalist Christian preacher, and Steve had been raise to follow in his footsteps. Breaking with tradition, he had dropped out of a Bible school, served in Air Force missile silos, then gone into business. He had sold part of it to a good manager, then took his kids out of school to travel around the country for a few years. Other Indian people, learning that he had been in the air force, suspected he was a fed. Nevertheless, I felt his sincerity and believed in him. Meanwhile he amazed me by making quarterly donations of two thousand dollars to Yellow Thunder Camp. When he came to visit, we almost instantly bonded. He was one of the very fe white men with a Christian and military background with whom I felt comfortable. He further proved his sincerity in the inipi. Through our friendship, I developed more respect for Christianity and for white people in general. I began to realize that they are not all hatemongers and that some are very decent. It was nice having a white family in my life. It hadn't happened since I was a little kid.

After a few years, Steve saw that my interests weren't limited to Yellow Thunder Camp. He wanted me to be successful in spreading my message of Indian independence, dignity, and self-determination, so he made me a partner in his business. To this day I receive royalties, now about twenty-four hundred dollars a quarter, money that goes to help my family.

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