From looking at me you wouldn't think that I have such an ethnic background or such an ethnic looking family, but I do. What is funny is that all through my brothers school career they were respected as Native Americans, all through my school career I was respected as white... what ever that is. I don't even know what the rest of my bloodline is because I only had one grandparent growing up and she barely spoke english. The bummer is that most of my folks past was very unpleasant so getting any info out of them is like pulling teeth at the indian health clinic.

When I was 10 years old I went on vacation with my little brother and father. At the time I didn't realize my dad was meeting his mistress at the same place we were going. My little brother actually told my mom about the girl (he was like 7) and until this day (he's like 24?) he doesn't speak to my dad. This would begin the ending of an 18 year marriage to my mother. See my dad had lost both of his parents at the age of 14, Father to colon cancer, his sister died of AIDs, brother died form heroin and only other brother is a junkie in georgia somewhere. He had lived most of his life running away and this was no exception.

At age 14 I had my first hit of Crystal meth at 16 I dropped out of school and started working full time with my father, at 18 I was your run of the mill alcoholic and drug addict thief. When I looked forward all I could see was grey when I closed my eyes all I could see was Chaos.

My father had a short temper I remember getting in trouble at school and my dad taking bamboo, extension chords, or fig branches and whipping my ass for it. It was either when I f-up at school or stuff like the time I blew my older brother up on accident. I through a spray paint can in the fire and my bro tried to get it out but was to late. They had to skin graph his face...maybe that's why he's a deuche to me. Just kidding.

With my father's family being from Georgia, but all passed away, and my mother being indian and living in the same area as her family, I had been exposed to more of the Native American/ Hispanic traditions and addictions rather then being exposed to traditions of Georgia and what ever my fathers back round is. My mother had lost her sister to a car accident, her father to cirrhosis of the liver, her brother to bad drug deal and her older sister to lupus. My mother and father had one thing in common, they both had been running for a long time. My grandma was the sweetest old lady who had the strongest accent and the best cooking. She passed a few years ago to blood cancer...F-cancer. She would call me paully-wog for what ever reason while my uncles would call me Pablo. Most of my cousins would call me Paulito meaning little stick of the tribe and from that my buddys called my Lito which until this day is how I signature my canvas art work and how my wife calls me to fix stuff. My Uncle Johnny (a world renowned sculptor) showed me how indians pray. How we had a deep river of blood that was filled with art, music and dancing. He would speak of the practices he would participate in and this really spoke to me. I was taught to fish, hunt and how to skin animals for the use of their hide. I remember once I was on a job in Fallbrook, Ca. and I had a hispanic man working for me who didn't speak english. He was jumping around and waving his hand toward the floor. When I walked over I noticed a snake by his feet and he was petrified so I stepped on his head grabbed my razor blade and cut it off. He was in shock and from then on he looked at me like I was crazy. I pinned the skin to a 2x4 and gutted the snake, then I took a package of salt from lunch and spread it over the skin. Once dry I wrapped it around a piece of hide and made belt that went around a cowboy hat for my Uncle Johnny.

My Aunt Angie invested her perspective by exposing me to the "Surfer" lifestyle. I remember being at the beach and just feeling peace. For once in my life when the emotion came in I could choose to let it leave with the ever changing salt water and sea weed. For years I have been running, but now I have stopped to make peace with my past. I wrote a song about these experiences called "Man On Fire". On my guitar strap I have put the letters SPR to show that I have made peace and that I have love for my reservation.

Everyone knows they need healing but people are afraid to admit that they were powerless and that they couldn't help from being hurt. Some think that making peace shows weakness but in fact it shows great strength. It is hard to forgive and to hold back. It has a cleansing property for the individual (only) and it has the ability to free your mind. It is much easier to hate then it is to love it is much easier to be angry then it is to let go. I know there is healing in the ocean and that there is healing in the earth. But for me living in the mountains was what I needed healing from.

This is just a piece of my story, thanks for reading. -Paul E cannon

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