Museum to honor the least known people in North America,
the Original Tribal Women
is English but lived in America for over 30 years, she had also
commuted between both countries for a few months at a time for
a number of years. She is no longer able to do so though due to
finances and personal committments.
She has been a Pipe holder for over 30 years under the tutelage
of Spirit, various Medicine men and Chuck who she has known and
partnered in business and life for many years. (As well as being
a Pipe holder himself for many years Chuck has also been a pipe
maker and quarrier of the genuine sacred red stone Catlinite for
over 50 years in Pipestone Minnesota, where he and Gloria have
a home, although they live separately for much of the year, she
in England, he in Minnesota, USA. For a number of months each
year they come together and work and play in the spiritual realm.
It can be a lonely life but they speak to each other every day,
much to the delight of the telephone companies, and email and
message each other a number of times a day as well. )
not Native American but has learned from various people on different
reservations across America. She has been Chuck Derby's business
partner since 1994, and his emotional partner since 1998. During her time
with Chuck she met various Medicine men and spiritual elders and
is proud to count as her friends many Sundancers and Medicine
men such as Chris Leith, Harry Charger and Galen Drapeau Senior.
She also counts AIM leaders Clyde Bellacourt and Dennis Banks
and the Keeper of the White Buffalo Pipe, Arvol Looking Horse
among her long time acquaintences.
Gloria had the
advantage of attending the Pipestone Sundance since it's first
year, and pledged at that time to assist with their work and to
support the dancers for at least 8 years which she did before
she returned to England. She says that she learned more at those
Sundances than she did in all the years travelling around the
country visiting the Reservations. She now attends the Pipestone
Sundance whenever she can.
During her years
as Chuck's partner she has travelled with him to political meetings
in the Minnesota/South Dakota/Nebraska areas, and so knows quite
a bit about how the politics in Indian Country sit. She has worked
on various Native American committees, the latest being the 'Dakota
Commemorative March'. Also since 2008 Gloria has worked every December running the Facebook group for the Dakota 38 + 2 Memorial Ride
Gloria has worked
with Spirit for as long as she can remember, when she was a child
her mother taught her the 'Old Ways' of her part of England which
she still adheres to today.
Recently she was invited to be the 'Official Bard of the Wight Druids' (IOW), which she accepted.
As well as being
a Pipe holder, Gloria has also held the position of fire-keeper
for Inipi ceremonies, has helped on security at Sundances, and
has presented programs on Native American cultures both in America
and Europe for over 30 years.
started an educational program in the mid 1980's in New Jersey
where she taught at schools and gave private presentations on
the cultural aspects of the Native American tribes. When she moved
to Minnesota in the 1990's and re-met Chuck (They originally met in the 1980's)she invited him to join
her in these presentations and changed the name to 'Beads and
Buckskins'. At present Gloria and Chuck are preparing a new program especially for
schools presenting cultural values and how they relate to today's world.
She has 4 children
and (updated 2019) 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandsons and when she was travelling back and forth, in England she
lived in a house with her mother (89), her daughter (40) (now 50+) and her
grand-daughter (18) (now 30). She laughs as she says, "Four generations
of women living under the same roof, all learning from one another,
it's quite an experience."
An update: Gloria's Mum has Alzheimers and needs a full time carer so she will be taking care of her mother full time from now on.
This website will continue to grow, but travel out of England will be out of the question for a while. Updates will be added from time to time. (Update - Gloria's Mum passed away in 2008, 10 years to the day of her Dad's passing)
Gloria is also
known as 'Dragonfly' a name given to her by Cherokee Herbalist (David Wingstone)
and an Ojibwa visionary (Sun Bear) and also 'Iron Woman' a name given to
her by her Pre-Celtic ancestors.
"My lifestyle adheres
to the Spiritual path, what Spirit wants, I try my best to fulfill."
Chuck and Gloria
were married over the Pipe in 1998 in England, and again legally
on May 1st 2010 in the Little Feather Center.
passed away from Pancreatic cancer on August 7th 2010. Gloria
stayed for the traditional year in Pipestone and is now living
back in England.
The Center is
now being run by Chuck's sister Alice.
Gloria story telling during one of her talks at a high school
in Minnesota, USA
Gloria and Chuck presenting
the B & B program in 1996
Chuck and Gloria presenting a B&B program,
October 2006 at a school in the Isle of Wight, UK