Uwharrie Heart Circle visits Trinity Oaks
By Diane Hundley
For the Salisbury Post
When Julie Blackburn was about 10, her dad gave her a pamphlet about the Nez Pierce Indians that he picked up at a gas station on a family trip. That ignited Julie Blackburn's passion for Native Americans. Reading about Chief Joseph and the struggles his tribe endured led Julie to learn more about many of America's native people. When she heard about the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears Julie said, "I felt that God was calling me to undo the mistreatment they'd suffered. They were here first." As the family traveled and moved through her childhood, Julie would call chambers of commerce and ask them to send her anything they had on the area's Indian tribes. That information fills a two-drawer file cabinet. Through the years Julie has organized programs for her churches and community organizations. When Julie and her mother Marty relocated to Trinity Oaks in Salisbury this summer, Julie was determined to share her passion with her new neighbors. That it happened at Thanksgiving was just perfect timing. Just weeks after arriving at Trinity Oaks, Julie made contact with Apache Rose and the Uwharrie Heart Circle. The group performed Native American songs, dances and stories for the residents of Trinity Oaks on November 20. The presentation began with a "smudging ceremony" which promotes harmony and peace. The Uwharrie Heart Circle members include Rosemary "Apache Rose" Sanchez, Gabe Hartman, Smithie Parrish, Andrea Hall, Carolyn Clark and Kali Wudiga. Storyteller John Longrider joined the Heart Circle for the first time, sharing stories of the earth's origins and the capturing of fire. "To this day, the water spider has a bowl in his back with a red dot; the bowl carried the fire but the coal left a mark. So I am told," said Longrider. More than 60 residents attended the presentation. Julie introduced the guests who also displayed native flutes, drums and beads. When asked why she continues her passion into her middle years, Julie said, "We can't change the past, but we can make a better future."