Derrik Jordan

Producer of "Red Thunder Cloud - Songs and Legends of the Catawba
Vol 1 and 2"

Red Thunder Cloud told me he was a Catawba Indian from South Carolina and while many questions have arisen about his true heritage, no one can deny that he was a carrier of Catawba culture and language. He was a dear friend of mine, who passed away on January 8, 1996. Many considered him to be the last living speaker of the Catawba language.

Red Thunder Cloud, or Tez, as his friends called him, was a sheer delight. He always had a story to tell and a joke to share. He was a great lover of children and spent much of his life performing for them in school programs throughout New England - singing, dancing, telling stories and playing Indian games with them.

In 1968 he taught tribal dances to Les Feux Follet, Canada's national folk ensemble and he appeared as a performer with them at Expo, and also in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg where they performed to large enthusiastic audiences. He wrote stories of Indian lore for The Lone Ranger and Indian Chief comic books in the '50's. He taught Indian lore at the Henry Street Settlement summer camp for many years and was invited to an international storytelling festival in Scotland in 1992.

Tez was a regular at pow-wows in New England. He always had a pot of Black Birch tea brewing which was his biggest seller. He sold herbs and tree barks at the pow-wows which he had collected and packaged himself. His slogan on the package was "Fresh From The American Forest To You". He knew a lot about the medicinal uses of tree barks. He had collected many herbal cures and lore from the Native American elders who he met in his travels.

Quotes from Tez:

"If you want tree and plant medicine to work you also have to be willing to change your diet and stop eating junk food, soda, white sugar, fatty foods and all the modern processed foods that have lost their vitamins and minerals."

"You don't come out of a teepee if you're a medicine man eating a Hostess Twinkie or something like that. You are the role. You walk that road and either you believe in it or you don't believe in it. That's my philosophy. How can you truthfully sell herbal teas if you don't believe in them, if you don't use them?"