Honor Shown by Native American Tribe
When Native American people take the initiative to conduct an honorary pow wow ceremony for a non-native person, you’ve got to know that person is very special. Thirty years ago, Verna Clay and her husband Lee (who later passed away) moved to the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton for the purpose of reaching these people with the gospel. Through the years, the Clays took into their home many native foster children and were instrumental in starting a mission school for Indian children. Clay became the “surrogate mother” to many children growing up under dysfunctional situations. This kindness was not forgotten by many of those children who today are key people and leaders of the Umatilla tribe.
Just before the prayers and processional pow wow dance in Clay’s honor, one of the tribal chiefs said, “True spirituality is seen by how people treat each other. Verna’s spirituality is very special to all of our people.”
After the ceremony and dance, everyone was invited to a surprise birthday party for Clay. In addition to the abundant food provided for the occasion, many gifts and speeches were given in her honor and also in appreciation for the mission school.