Dennis from Orangeburg, South Carolina
Dennis Explores his Native American Heritage

Dennis

DENNIS CAME TO LIVE AT PRUITTHEALTH OF ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA IN SEPTEMBER OF 2013.  HE WAS ONE OF THE YOUNGEST RESIDENTS LIVING HERE.  DENNIS STRUCK UP A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SOCIAL WORKER, PAMELA DANTZLER AND ENJOYS VISITING AND TALKING TO HER.  DURING ONE OF THOSE DISCUSSIONS, MRS. DANTZLER LEARNED THAT DENNIS FELT AS IF HE WAS MISSING A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF HIS LIFE. HE HAD HEARD STORIES FROM HIS FAMILY THAT HIS PATERNAL GRANDTHER HAD NATIVE AMERICAN BLOOD, BUT DENNIS WAS ONLY A SMALL BOY WHEN HIS GRANDFATHER PASSED AWAY.  DENNIS ALWAYS WONDERED ABOUT THAT PART OF HIS LIFE AND WANTED TO SOMEHOW EXPERIENCE HIS HERITAGE.

EARLY IN MARCH OF 2017, A NEW RESIDENT WAS ADMITTED AND MRS. DANTZLER RECOGNIZED A SYMBOL ON THE DAUGHTER'S TEE SHIRT AS A NATIVE AMERICAN SYMBOL. SHE ASKED ABOUT THE SYMBOL AND IF THE DAUGHTER WOULD MIND ANSWERING SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TRIBE AFTER HER VISIT WITH HER MOTHER. AS CHANCE WOULD HAVE IT, THE FAMILY WAS VERY ACTIVE  WITH THE BEAVER CREEK INDIAN TRIBE,AND WE WERE ABLE, DURING THAT MEETING, TO SPEAK BY TELEPHONE TO THEIR CHIEF, LOUIE CHAVIS. MR. MITCHELL'S DREAM TOUCHED THE CHIEF AND HE AGREED.TO WORK WITH THE PARTNERS AND STAFF TO PLAN A REGALIA ON FRIDAY,MARCH 17, 2017 AND TALK TO DENNIS AND HIS MOTHER ABOUT THE NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE. THE ENTIRE STAFF AND PARTNERS WERE INVITED  TO ASSIST AND BE PARTICIPANTS OF DENNIS' DREAM. THE PARTNERS HAD A TEE PEE BUILT ESPECIALLY FOR THE DAY AND TURNED A CORNER OF THEIR GROUND IN TO AN INDIAN CEREMONIAL DISPLAY. WE HAD ARTIFACTS AROUND THE AREA SUCH AS A "FIRE"  INDIAN, CLAY POTS, BASKETS, ANIMAL SKINS AND HORNS AND BLANKETS. TO COMPLETE THE ATMOSPHERE, STAFF PLAYED CD'S OF CEREMONIAL MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND.  EVERYTHING WAS READY·THE CHIEF WAS HERE, ALONG WITH SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE.

OTHER RESIDENTS AND STAFF WERE GATHERED AROUND,WHEN ADMINISTRATOR GWEN ROBINSON ESCORTED DENNIS AND HIS MOTHER TO THE SITE.  DENNIS WAS BEAMING FROM EAR TO EAR AND HIS MOTHER WAS OVERCOME WITH EMOTION. CHIEF LOUIE WELCOMED DENNIS AND TOLD HIM IT WAS AN HONOR TO HELP MAKE HIS DREAM A REALITY. THEN, HE ANSWERED SOME OF.DENNIS' QUESTIONS.  THEY TALKED AND LAUGHED WHEN DENNIS SAID HE WANTED A SQUAW TO BE HIS WIFE. DENNIS AND HIS MOTHER WERE GIVEN SEATS OF HONOR, AND ONE OF THE LADIES GAVE DENNIS A NECKLACE MADE WITH TIGER EYE BEADS TO MAKE HIM AN HONARY MEMBER OF THE BEAVER CREEK INDIANS. THEN CHIEF LOUIE PERFORMED A CEREMONY ASKING THE GREAT SPIRITS OF THE NORTH AND EAST TO BLESS THE NEW MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE AND ALL THOSE WHO WERE PRESENT. HE SPOKE OF THE SPIRITS OF THE WEST AND SOUTH AND OF THOSE THINGS TO COME, ASKING FOR ONLY GOOD THINGS TO HAPPEN.

THE CHIEF THEN CALLED FOR THE WOMEN AND MEN TO PERFORM DANCES IN HONOR OF THE DAY.  THE FIRST WAS ONE THAT THE MEN WOULD DO JUST BEFORE LEAVING FOR HUNTING. THEN THE WOMEN DANCED A DANCE TO WELCOME EVERYONE;AND THEN INVITED ALL THOSE WHO COULD TO JOIN THE CELEBRATION. CHIEF LOUIE CONCLUDED THE REGALIA BY DOING A 'SMUDGE AND BLESSING DENNIS, HIS MOTHER, AND ALL THOSE THAT ATTENDED.  HE ALSO AGREED TO TAKE PICTURES WITH ANY OF THE RESIDENTS OR STAFF THAT WOULD LIKE TO HAVE ONE MADE. OUR ADMINISTRATOR THANKED EVERYONE FOR COMING AND INVITED ALL TO LIGHT REFRESHMENTS.

LATER  THAT AFTER, DENNIS CAME TO MRS. DANTZLER'S OFFICE. HE WAS SO THANKFUL AND HAPPY,  EVEN THOUGH HE NEVER MET HIS GRANDFATHER, HE NOW FEELS A REAL CONNECTION WITH HIM, A CONNECTION THAT WILL, IN HIS WORDS; "LAST FOREVER",

  • Location
  • Orangeburg, South Carolina