What I remember of Grandmother Mary Duty is her pleasant smile, her loving hugs and her words of wisdom. I would love the conversations we would have every time we met. I remember one meeting in Partlow, Virginia, Grandmother called me over and looked into my eyes and said, "The Indian Sprit in You Is Very Strong " We talked on the phone many times and she always had something pleasant to say. I trusted Grandmother and respected her visions. We were always on the same level of thinking concerning the subjects of the Tribe. She loved the Tribe and it's members deeply and wanted nothing but the best for us all. She was a devoted leader of the Clans and a Grandmother to us all. If you had any questions on anything, she was always available to share her knowledge.
Michael (Gray Hawk) Parsons
We have lost a true spiritual elder. But we are so blessed to have been touched by her unique presence. I only met Grandmother Duty a few years ago but felt that I had known her my entire life. Her eyes were open windows of love and caring. The first time I met her I felt uncomfortable because I felt she could look completely through me. But within only minutes I felt her genuine caring and love when she reached out and held my hand and spoke to me.
I will never forget the time she interrupted Chief Ray in the middle of a meeting and seemingly out of nowhere began speaking about the importance of water and all that it provides for us from sustaining life itself to the cleansing and healing properties it holds. We all sort of lookedat each other and thought at first it was a bit strange. But later we knew that we had just heard a profound prophetic message from out Creator through our beloved and respected elder, Grandmother Duty.
There is not doubt in my mind that she was indeed the spiritual glue that held this tribe together during the many periods of stress and strife over the last several years. She was rarely if ever engaged in the direct politics of any of it but you can bet your life that she was praying and affecting the outcome.
We ow it to Creator and to her, more than ever now, to each strive to collectively fill this spiritual gap. She personified humility and dignity. Perhaps that is what we should pray for in our own lives. I know that is what she would have wanted. May Creator bless her and Chief Ray's souls and the strength and longevity of the Appalachian Tsalagi Nation. Aho! Tawodi Uneg ae usdi.
Cindy (Spirit Healer) Bamford
I recall the first day I ever met Grandmother. The tribal members gathered for a meeting in Partlow, Virginia. As I was standing, I heard a voice approach from behind saying in a bold southern accent, "Now who is this young lady?" When I turned around, I was looking into the beautiful, yet piercing blue eyes of Grandmother. My heart skipped a beat and time seemed to freeze as I felt I was looking into the face of my own mother whom had passed over three years prior. Grandmother and I instantly bonded from that day forward. I loved Grandmother for the way only she could connect with people on a deep soulful level. Often times she would gently hold your hand, gaze intently into your eyes, and speak directly to your spirit. Grandmother "understood people" from the inside out. For this reason Grandmother was our sage spiritual leader. Whenever she offered prayer, we could feel Spirit move among and within us. I am blessed and honored to have received my life-long tribal name from Grandmother."Spirit Healer" Grandmother felt Spirit move within me and saw this as an extension to other people, thus strengthening the bond between us. I am honored to have traveled to Southwest Virginia with Grandmother and other tribal members so that donations could be delivered to our less-than-fortunate Cherokee brethren. Grandmother's love for the Cherokee people in Southwest Virginia left a lasting imprint on many of us. She kept Spirit alive through her stories of the Southwest people and her deep concern that we must not let our people slip into shadow. Grandmother was not only our tribal Matriarch, but she was a genuine inspiration to all. Grandmother, I will forever treasure your childhood stories, your laughter which came deep from the heart, your sly sense of humor, our heartfelt conversations, your genuine warmth, and especially your beautiful drum-beat song of walking the trail of tears. During one of our conversations, Grandmother drew me close to her, squeezed my hand tight, and with warmth in her voice called me not only her sister, but her friend. Grandmother, you will forever be a kindred spirit in my heart and soul. Wherever you are, I know that I can always call upon you for wisdom, strength, and guidance in my life's journey. Aho,. With all my love and deep admiration ~ Your friend, Spirit Healer.
Beloved Grandmother Mary Duty
Wes & Aio
Grandmother Mary Duty quick to sing, quick to smile, even more quick to hug with love surpassed by few. Her embrace was like a warm electric blanket, encompassing and active. Though time takes its toll on us all, it never seemed to touch Grandmother's amazing, piercing blue eyes as she peered deep into your heart and read you - to your core, and if you were willing to sit still long enough she would tell you some of it. Great gifts of "Grandmother Seeing" were always a wonder, and food for much thought. I loved to watch her watch, a smile dancing just at the edges of her lips, sparkling in her eyes as we went about being ourselves - together. One night have thought that she had given birth to us all for the wealth of emotion that billowed forth. Never an unkind word from her for anything or anyone - a path of positive prayers is the one I observed her to have walked. Wado Grandmother. Wado