Elizabeth Warrior Eagle's life has been spared several times, from almost being beaten to death as a child to a near-fatal car accident in 1999. When people ask her how she survived, she says, "Ask God."
But she now has an inkling that her purpose in life is to help Native American nations know they're not alone in their pain and give them a glimpse of hope. Her series of books, Exquisite Grace (Mother's House Publishing, Colorado Springs), relates personal experiences of rape, domestic violence and emotional abuse through Native American characters, such as Half Pint and Sleeping White Tiger. Fighting Fires, the second book, to be released in February, is dedicated to her ancestral roots, Native American Nations.
"There are others who know the pain of betrayal and the sorrow that consumes your body and spirit," she says. "Maybe God, the Great Spirit, will use my life to give the Indian people a ray of light into their own pain and encourage them to find the courage to move beyond it."
In recent months, Warrior Eagle's taken her words of support to victims of domestic violence of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota, once one of the fiercest tribes and now one of the United States' poorest populations.
"There are certain fuels that burn long after the smoke has settled and the flames extinguished. A fire brings new growth," she says. "After the soot is removed from the soul, the renewal is more powerful, stronger, wiser."
-- Story by Debbie Warhola
Photo by Jane McBee