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All My Relations, Angels Among Us - Inlakech

When I was very young, living in Ketchikan, pigeons were plentiful. Ravens were common and Bald Eagles were also regular visitors in our small town. I remember a large flock taking off from the side of a building as we were walking by. They say it's good luck to be pooped on by a pigeon. Perhaps that is because your day can only get better from there.

A lot of folks think of pigeons as rodents with wings, but I remember older relatives saying how we need to be nice to pigeons because they could be family that had passed away and come back to watch over us. I have asked quite a few People over the years if they or their tribe held or shared similar teachings but haven't ever found any that did.

In the mid 90s I was living in a downtown Seattle neighborhood called Lower Queen Anne at 1st and Denny, where it butts up to Belltown. Good times, between the Seattle Center park and Elliot Bay. Walking distance to the Mecca and 5 Point cafes, the Vogue, the Crocodile and not too much farther past the business district was Pioneer Square, full of clubs where local bands played and cheap artist loft spaces above.

It was a very comfortable place for me. The People in our building and the locals we got to know drinking pink drinks and playing pinball at the Mecca cafe made lower Queen Anne feel like home. Quite a few of them worked as cooks, security, or bar staff at the clubs in Belltown so we could usually be a plus one for shows at the Crocodile or meet up at closing and create our own after parties at local hideouts.

1995 sporting PigPen Design's 'Whakt Miracle Trip' t-shirt

One night my Roommate at the time, Billy, was a friend and co-worker at PigPen Design where worked in the warehouse shipping t-shirts and rave clothing. We went with another friend from work, Brenda, to a goth club on 1st called the Vogue. It was right near closing time so we got a quick shot and then a 6 pack to go and went down to a construction site where they were turning a dead end road into a stairway down to the waterfront. We hung out there in the dead of night like teenagers in the woods above Creek Street back in Ketchikan. The streets were comfortable, like back home in Alaska.

My hair was long by then and I had taken to putting funny colors in it like purples, blues, and especially dark green. Walking through the Seattle Center more than once I was buzzed by pigeons investigating the the green locks.

A couple of blocks over from the Vogue, on 2nd, was the Crocodile. A favorite place to see bands like Low Pop Suicide, Built to Spill, Merzbow, and even Diamanda Galas with her haunting vocals and grand piano. The plus one and water pitcher made for a cheap nights entertainment. Most nights we'd close the place and head back to the Arkona but one night in particular we went over to the Art Bar to hook up with friends working there. They closed a little later than the Croc so we got there in time to hang out in the back while they finished up.

View looking up 2nd towards where the pigeon and I waited

We ended up about 10 blocks further from home at a loft space in Pioneer Square. After drinking beers and smoking herb until 3 or 4 AM I headed back to Queen Anne. A pretty mellow walk at that time of the day with an easy incline back to the Art Bar and the level down 2nd, to 5th and Denny. A couple blocks after the Art Bar, just past the Moore Theater, I was walking on the left side of 2nd and the craziest thing happened. A pigeon flew across my path and landed on the sidewalk between myself and the building there.

Not so crazy? I walked past it, and it flew out over the street and again across my path onto the sidewalk. After the third time I decided to see if what would if I went to the other side of the street. I was in the middle of that block and looked towards the Crocodile as I crossed to the other sidewalk. Remembering that was where the night started I curious to see there were a few guys standing on the corner by the front door.

All my relations. I am another You, You are another me.

The little pigeon crossed with me and landed on the sidewalk again. Knowing that there should be no one at the Croc and remembering news articles from a year before about yuppies moving into the new townhomes popping up around Belltown that were getting mugged while walking alone at night. I decided to stop for a moment, the pigeon was looking up at me and going no where so I leaned back against a post between two large windows. The little guy walked over and hopped up onto my right foot and buried its head beneath its wing to wait and see if I would heed his warning. I wish we carried phones with cameras back then but maybe someday my drawing skills will improve enough that I can recreate the scene of that little gray bird nestled in on top of my adidas sambas.

The folks never moved from their spot and didn't appear to notice us so I backtracked a half a block and went down to first to continue home. My little friend stayed with me flying ahead, landing and then flying past me again for about three blocks and only left me after we had passed Blanchard. I looked up towards the Croc as I crossed and saw no one. I don't know for sure that the folks I saw and detoured around meant any real danger to me but Seattle was starting down the path that has kept us steering clear of population centers on our tour of the country.

Two wolves at the Stillaguamish Festival of the River 2019

I have shared this story many times over the years with folks from other tribes or walks of life with not one saying they had ever heard of our ancestors coming back as pigeons, or any other animals. One Lady said she thought it was and angel guiding me from danger. I have an understanding of the Creator and our connection to it and each other that has me thinking that perhaps that little pigeon was myself keeping me from a death experienced in an alternate timeline. Please share your thoughts and any similar experiences You may have had.

The Mayan word Inlakech is said to be a greeting to a passing stranger meaning, 'I am another You, You are another me'. The Lakota phrase Mitakuye Oyasin is translated to be, 'All My Relations'. I definitely feel that this little pigeon was a relative looking out for my safety. I appreciate and honor that as I appreciate all the other moments that could have turned out badly but thank goodness I ended up right here healthy and loved... <3




I have always loved this story! So grateful for that pigeon and your mindfulness! Stay healthy and loved brother!

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