Susan O'Terra Foster artist and friend of Allan Shockley dropped me a line this week. She sent a few pictures from the Tucson 99 Gathering and a copy of an article that appeared in Indian Country Today on April 12 1999. The article details the impact of the Didgeridoo Raffle at the Dreamtime Party. The didgeridoo, donated by David Hudson made possible their acquisition of a much needed van to transport disabled Indigenous children in the Mexican Sonoran Desert. The article in its entirety follows below. And if you like, have a gaze a the pictures Susan sent me. (THANKS SUSAN!)










The primal sound of a dreamtime pipe
By Brenda Norrell
Today staff  

TUCSON, Ariz-When Yaqui women prayed, along the Rio Yaqui in Sonora, Mexico for the means to transport mentally handicapped indigenous children, they never imagined it would come in the form of a didgeriduoo.

Since the health program of Indigenous women is still in the dream stage, it seems fitting that the answer to their prayers from across the Pacific, from Australia, in the form of a dreamtime pipe.
It came from an Aboriginal playing the sweet sounds of the rainforest, coral reef and outback, on a

hollowed-out eucalyptus branch, known as a dreamtime pipe of didgeridoo. The music maker is international didgeriduoo artist David Hudson of the Guguyalangi people from the north east coast of Australia.

The contributions of Didgeridoo musician Allan Shockley, Choctaw from Oklahoma living in Tucson, were part of a series of small miracles-never small in Sonora-now bringing hope by way of a didgeridoo.

"It is a very primal sound," says Shockley "Australian Aboriginals use the didgeridoo to imitate thee sounds of nature-the wind, birds

and the sound of the rain."

The miracles began when Fidelia Suarez Mendez and Eulalia Saviva Bultimea, Yaqui women from villages near Obregon, Mexico arrived in Tucson in March. They were more troubled than usual about recent attacks by the Mexican government and attempts to squelch the Indigenous movement for autonomy.

The women are members of the Indigenous women's organization, the Truth and Right of Women and sacrifice their meager wages working in Yaqui schools to travel for Indigenous rights. Please


section 1


Didgeridoo: In despair shared dream bloomed

from B1

Currently, the Sonoran government is attempting to retaliate for Indigenous protests in the capitol of Hermosillo. Indian people from across Sonora, traveling by bus and without money for lunch, halted traffic in the busy city with concrete blocks and human barricades in 1998. Their actions came after the state stalled in negotiations to deliver development funds for desperately needed homes, schools, road and clinics, directly to the Indian Nations.

The move for autonomy by the Traditional Council of Indigenous nations, based in Obregon, is battling to halt the misuse and theft of funds as they trickle through the Mexican Government and its federal INI, similar to the BIA in the United States.

The Traditional Council is composed of leaders of O'op (Pima), Mukaray (Guarijos), Kikapoo, Yoeme (Yaqui), Yoreme (Mayo), Konka'ak (Seri) and Tohono O'odham.

It was during their despair, as the Yaqui women shared their news, hopes and dreams of helping disabled Indigenous children in Sonora, that a series of connections was triggered.

Earlier Hudson donated one of his instruments to be raffled off at a party Shockley

held to give back to his friends. "We were Giving back for the blessings and miracles in our lives," Shockley said.

In March, Shockley, owner of the Dreamtime Pipe Co., and artist Susan O'Terra Foster delivered a $750 check from the raffle to Maria Garcia, for the efforts in Sonora.

"We're here today to give it to someone who can put it to good use," Shockley told Garcia. Garcia is vice president of the Truth and Right of Women, and owns Café Cultural, and Indigenous organizing center in Tucson, with her husband Joe Garcia, Governor of the Tohono O'odham in Mexico.

"I want to help out in any way I can," Shockley said.

Meanwhile, Ronal Eagle Rosenberg joined the group. He is a board member of the Sierra Madre Alliance which promotes Preservation of Tarahumara Culture and the biosphere in the Sierra Madres of Mexico Rosenberg just happened to know someone who had a 15-passenger van they were willing to donate, in part, for a good cause for $500.

"When you're talking about the Yaqui, you're talking about people without health care," said Rosenberg, a

soft-spoken, longtime activist in the borderzone and Mexico.

"If the mentally disabled don't get direct attention-they don't stand a chance of survival," Rosenberg said.

Finding the subject of the didgeridoo simply irresistible, Shockley described it as a hollowed-out wind instrument, traditionally made by Australians using eucalyptus branches burrowed out by termites. Shockley now handcrafts the soul-stirring instruments from the agave cactus plant in the Sonoran Desert. The Choctaw musician made still another offer-to teach Indigenous people in Sonora to craft the didgeriduoo from local agave plants, as a cottage industry.

Shockley said it is sad to see young people losing their culture and connection with Mother Earth. Leaving it behind, he said, "Leads to sadness of the heart."

Over calabacitos (squash and cheese) and Mexican lunches, the group, joined by Tohono O'odham human rights activist and elder George Ignacio spoke of the magic and miracles that bring together people working for common good.

"The spirit works like that" Shockley said.


section 2