On the last day of the OMIHA 2000 Spring Pow Wow I took a moment to have a photograph taken with three friends. All three are exceptional dancers; the man beside me is Chad Duffy, the Head Dancer for the event, and an enthusiastic amateur bladesmith. The event is sponsored annually by the Ozark Mountain Indian Heritage Association (OMIHA). I am a registered Native American, and a proud member of the OMIHA. In a moving ceremony a few years ago I was formally given the name Iron Moose.
That’s me in silhouette answering a few questions for passers-by at the Glasgow Highland Games in Glasgow, Kentucky. Growing larger each year, in 2001 Glasgow hosted the INTERNATIONAL HIGHLAND GAMES; in attendance that year were 12 Scottish Clan Chieftains, as well as a representative of Her Majesty, The Queen of England.
Two Union soldiers looked on while I pulled a hot piece of steel around a bending jig. My assistant at the Wilson’s Creek 2000 event (held near the historic battlefield, just outside Republic, Missouri) was Richard Riepe (wearing white suspenders) – an accomplished blacksmith and forge instructor. My Confederate kepi (cap) didn’t seem to bother the Federal boys a bit!
That’s me on the left, along with my assistant, Wayne Joplin (an extremely skilled and talented blacksmith) doing a two-man hammering demonstration at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, North Carolina. These games are the largest Highland Games in America… larger than many games held in Scotland. Check out the photo below of Wayne and me in our kilts – looking a bit like extras from Mel Gibson’s movie, BRAVEHEART.
That’s me in the back row, center, with the BIG two-handed highland great sword, surrounded by a few of my fellow clansmen. Just to my right, and partially hidden by my sword blade, is Wayne. We are both extremely proud to be members of the WILD HIGHLANDER Clan – the only non-familial group ever granted full official clan status by the Scottish Clan Council. The man with the white beard, wearing the sleeveless tunic and holding the Lockaber Axe is our Clan Chieftain, Alex Cameron, the original Wild Highlander. Scotia ma creidhe!