By Grey Feathers
March 12th, 2015 (Viejas) - A huge throng of people from all over came to say goodbye to Roy Cook in the gym at the heart of the Viejas Reservation on Saturday. Roy died suddenly and we are overwhelmed with a sense of loss. It was comforting to hear from so many friends how they were touched by his magic. The prayers, the songs, the Honor Guard, the Soaring Eagles, the drums building up to heaven and the wailing releasing our anguish. We cried in each other's arms.
The first day I met Roy Cook was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Jamul Casino in 2005. I was proud and happy for the Jamul Indian Village and perplexed by the angry faces marching with signs on the street. Roy sensed the vicious opposition would eventually delay the project and he was right. He told me some of the history of the Jamul Band. He said they were the poorest of the poor. Their little village had dirt roads, their homes had dirt floors.
That encounter changed my life because Roy spoke with such certainty and compassion I began reading everything he wrote. The words lifted off the pages like they were written in my heart. Being indigenous became more than a card I carried in my wallet.