The image with this piece is of my brother Clifford Duncan of the Northern Ute Nation. Clifford had many jobs in his life including Tribal Historian, Elder, Religious Practitioner, World Heritage Elder, father, and grandfather. He helped bring the Olympic flame from Greece to the United States and was at the head of the grand procession opening the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. What many people may not realize about Clifford is that he was a magician of sorts. Clifford had the gift to translate complex issues and beliefs across of variety of cultures. His disarming charm and sense of humor melted the hearts of potential adversaries. His honesty and consistency made him unassailable when he established a position. The Ute people were served well by these special talents. Clifford could in a few minutes take a representative of the most hard-core developer and change a "stick-it-to-the-tribe" attitude into one where they were asking on their own what needed to be done. That is magic! I was fortunate to work with Clifford for several years on a variety of very complex projects and some of Clifford's pet historical projects. I still find myself hearing his soft voice advising me as I go through life and it is a great comfort. To demonstrate what Clifford could do I remember when we were giving talks at a small town in Wyoming. The hall was full of White people, as much of the town was present. After his introduction Clifford said, "I'd like to start my talk off with a joke. Tell me, what is the difference between Christopher Columbus and Adolf Hitler." The crowd looked blankly, some beginning to shift in their chairs uncomfortably. Clifford waited a few beats and with that winning smile of his answered the riddle. "Well, Columbus has a holiday." The crowd broke out in laughter and Clifford had just put them all in his back pocket. We miss you, Clifford.
Terry A. Del Bene
Writer- "Have Words, Will Travel"