Kendall Kauley is my "Indian way" nephew. He is the son of my lifelong friend and Cheyenne blood brother, Kenneth Kauley. Kenneth and I grew up a half mile apart. My great-grandfather, Jacob Flick, lived just across the road from his grandfather, Henry "Crooked Nose" Elk Rivers. We were the same age and went through all 12 grades together. We were best friends. We played basketball together for the Hammon Warriors. We studied together. We hunted and fished together. We hauled hay together in the summertime to earn money to purchase gasoline for our vehicles. We were inseparable. For more than 60 years we were the closest of friends and maintained a lifelong friendship.
In Cheyenne culture, as in Anglo culture, a brother's children are one's nephews and nieces. Grandchildren are a different matter. In Cheyenne culture, a brother's grandchildren are considered to be one's own grandchildren. Although I have no grandchildren by blood, I do have many Cheyenne grandchildren through my Cheyenne blood brother. Here is a photograph of Kenneth and me with three grandsons. Here's one of my Cheyenne granddaughters. Here's another of the same granddaughter and two other grandsons.
Five years ago, Kenneth had a benign brain tumor removed. During the recovery process, an infection entered his brain, rendering him paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. He died last February I preached his funeral. After a surgical attempt to repair the damage resulting from the tumor, he lived in a nursing home at Leedey. I saw him at least once a month during the last year of his life. We were never able to communicate freely after surgery, but we could communicate some in the Cheyenne dialect, but not much in English.
Now back to Kendall... On Sunday evening, December the 10th, his family gave him a celebration dance. Kendall is a 2006 graduate of Hammon High School. He recently graduated from the Tulsa Welding School. He is now employed by an oilfield drilling company, working as a welder on the big drilling rigs.
The celebration dance was held in the Hammon Community Hall in Hammon. There was a big feast and lots of gourd dancing and traditional ceremonial dancing. There were traditional gift giveaways. I joined the family and helped celebrate Kendall's accomplishments. Needless to say, I am very proud of my Cheyenne nephew.