I grew up in the middle of the mountains on a lake and my dad told me that if you talk to the lake it will talk back to you.
I must have been fourteen years old, “I’m like yeah, whatever”. I don’t know what that means, but for some reason I got up every single morning and I used to run. I would have tobacco and I would go to the lake and make an offering and say a prayer. So that is what I was taught, you know, growing up and stuff. Say a prayer and say whatever it is you want to say that morning, when you’re praying for somebody else or if you need something, or if you are just giving thanks.
And then I would jump into the lake, it would be kind of like a cleansing ceremony for me and I don’t know why, there is something about that lake that made me want to jump in. It was just a peaceful point in my life.
Every morning that was my favorite part of the day, waking up to the lake because the lake was deep and quiet it was my moment with the Creator. To be connected with my surroundings, so I did that for about a year or a year and a half, every single morning. Even if it was -25 out. I still got up in the morning and did my thing and sure enough about six months later of doing that I was walking down the beach and I found a feather.
It was all wet, scraggly looking and I didn’t think it was an eagle feather. I thought maybe it was a seagull or raven or something. So I brought it to my friend who was a pow-wow dancer and she started combing it out with her hands and it was this eagle feather and I was really excited. I went and showed it to my dad and said, “Look what I found in the lake.” He said, “See George I told you, if you talk to the lake it will talk back to you.”
Just that kind of stuff, it really had a major impact on my life and really gave me the strength to do what I do today. I try to get out there and follow my dreams or look and listen for my calling in life I guess.
And yeah, that’s the feather I have on my guitar when I perform, usually I perform with it hanging down. That’s the feather that’s been with me around the world and it’s a guidance, a reminder for me.
Definitely, in this business it’s so crazy and sometimes superficial, you know, the entertainment industry can be very fake. I don’t complain about it, I still go about my way of approaching things, but what really gives me the strength to keep doing what I’m doing definitely is my culture, the people, the roots, the people in my nation, and Native people right across the country. I get so inspired being out here and sharing with everybody.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
George Leach is a member of the Sta’atl’imx Nation in Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada. An accomplished actor, George has appeared on screen in ‘This Is Wonderland’, ‘North of 60’, ‘PSI Factor’ and ‘La Femme Nikita’. However, George is bettter known as a soulful rock-driven musician. At the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards 2000, he won Best Male Artist of the Year and Best Rock Album and was nominated for Best Song Writer. Visit the official George Leach web site.