Elder Stories – Michael McClurg

Last week, I visited the United Indians of All Tribes Elder’s Program. It was Thursday, a day when the Elders come to socialize, have a nutritious meal, and have fun.

One of the people I talked to was Michael McClurg, 63, a member of the Pacheedaht First Nation in Port Renfrew, BC. Port Renfrew is located at the south end of the west coast of Vancouver Island, directly across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Neah Bay in the Makah Nation. It’s a remote, ruggedly beautiful place. One of the special attractions is Botanical Beach, which is well known for its expansive tide pools.

Since Michael was born in Seattle and raised off the reservation, he is truly an urban Indian, although he keeps strong ties to his family in Canada. He spent twelve years in the army before getting out in 1971, then became a logger in Port Renfrew. He returned to Seattle in 1980.

Michael has been cooking for the Elder’s Program for the last four years. He was working 30 hours a week until cutbacks reduced it. He loves providing nutritious meals for the Elders and worries about losing the program entirely. Being an urban Indian, he understands how important it is for the Elders to get together on a regular basis to socialize, play games and check in on one another.

Currently, United Indians is running an IndieGoGo campaign to finance programs like this. You can participate by going to their campaign page: http://ow.ly/tavqj

Michael is shown here in the dining room next to his kitchen.

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