Murray Edelman, President
Caring for the Ceremonial ChiefClyde Hall usually focuses on NCPC’s work on the dances and our projects in our ocassional newsletter. I want to spend a little time focusing on Clyde, our Executive & Cultural Director, because supporting him was the primary reason motivating me to start the NCPC.
Clyde has stayed with me regularly in years past when he was in New York for the December Naraya and the June solstice celebration. We have had a lot of fun together and over that time, I have really gotten to know him and how he spends his time.
One of the great things about Clyde as a teacher is his approachability and willingness to hang out with you. You don’t make 20-minute appointment with Clyde and get pronouncements. Instead you hang out with him, share meals and stories, and the teachings just kind of happen. His visits always mean an endless parade of people from the New York community. I watched his law business drain a lot of his time and energy and produce relatively little income. And even that had to be supplemented with the sale of his “special” items.
I learned that it wouldn’t take too much income to free him from the law practice and on different visits, we would talk about starting a nonprofit. It was just talk, until a good friend, Miguel Rosner, passed on and left a large grant for me as his co-executor to direct toward our work.Most nonprofits spend at least a third on administration; many spend much more. I’m proud to say that almost all of our administration costs are in support of Clyde and all the work he does. The little we offer to him goes a long way. In Clyde’s tradition, medicine people are not supposed to charge for ceremony. But this tradition comes from a time when they were well taken care of by the tribe because of their important contribution. It is a wonderful ethic and tradition to not mix money with ceremony, and it is great for us to know that our teachers give so fully of themselves. Still, we need to fill that supporting role of the tribe in some way.
I view NCPC as assuming that role for Clyde, and the Board concurs. Yes, we are officially compensating him for his time in directing the good work of NCPC and the planning of the individual dance communities. We may be offering a little more than the minimum wage for those hours, but we aren’t counting. We know from our own experience that we if we were to include the hours spent in ceremony and in consultation with dancers, we would be offering him less than $1 an hour.
In the past we have been able to do this and also have money to support much good work. As the economy has affected us all, it has lowered the amount we receive from donations, and subsequently we are having to seriously cut back on our great basin projects. Without more steady income, we will be forced to focus only on supporting the individual dances.
Sadly, if this trend continues, we will also need to reconsider Clyde’s salary. None of us on the Board want to go there. We have yet to have that conversation and hope we never do. What we really need is for more people to step up with a regular commitment to support the NCPC. This would allow us to confidently sustain Clyde and his work.
READ MORE >> About Clyde Hall
MURRAY HONORING, TN 2015
WHITE EAGLE, MURRAY EDELMAN, CLYDE HALL