A Woodcarver's Secret


RENO, Nev. -- While many people rely on medicine to heal their pain, others turn to mother nature. One man's remedy is creating masterpieces from scrapwood.

If you just walk through Wingfield Park, you'll stumble across bicyclists, fisherman and casual strollers. If you don't look closely, you'll miss Grandfather Angry Bear.

"The red road is the way of life," he said.

It means the right path of life according to his tribal philosophy. Grandfather Angry Bear is a Vietnam War Veteran. When he returned home after the war, he says he didn't feel complete.

"Part of me that was missing was my heart," he said. "I was just cold-blooded. It was so easy for me to kill."

Feeling lost and secluded, he turned to nature and his Native American roots; carving wood became his way of praying.

"It reminds you how to balance out with the creator of mother earth."

From totem poles, to statues, to walking sticks, Grandfather Angry Bear makes everything from scratch. He says he's traveled all over the world, leaving behind his woodwork.

"[The Spirits] tell me what to do and they tell me what medicine I need."

All the material grandfather angry bear uses are from Mother Nature, each one with a different story. For instance on this walking stick, the wood represents the foundation of his people, the abalone shell represents protection and it deflects evil spirits and the deer skin represents trust.

'You didn't come here for nothing. You came here because there was a reason for you," he said.

He feels that his purpose is to finish his spiritual path, one carving at a time.

You can find some of his totem poles at Washoe Lake and North Lake Tahoe.


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