Profile: "Keeper of the Fire"
Richard Harris: "Keeper of the Fire"
My given name in English
is Richard Harris.
My native name is Henonoquad,
[which means] "Keeper of the Fire."
I carry the surname
of my mother's family.
From what I know of her and her family,
they were from around Tyler Texas.
She died when I was about five or six.
My father also carried his
mother's maiden name.
His father's father was William
or Billy Two Catches, a full blood
of Creek Choctaw parentage.
My father was brought up
in Choctaw, Oklahoma.
He joined the service when he was
sixteen, and later the Merchant Marine.
He made me aware of my native heritage.
I followed his traditions of
wearing cowboy hats and boots.
Moreover, I ran to my native
background rather than away from it.
At the time my father had no choice.
In college in the late sixties I became an
activist for African and Native American rights.
I continue this practice to the present.
Subsequently I became much more involved in the
spiritual, cultural, and educational rights of my people.
For the past twelve yeas I've been going to Big Mountain
for the Spring gathering, to Sundance, and to political actions.
Additionally, I am involved with sweat lodges
and Plains ceremonies of the Lakota traditions.
I've had my Cree naming and adoption ceremonies.
I try to educate the public and the educational
bureaucracy about the red and black alliances.