This is the final segment of Miami Nation, presented to the “Fort Wayne Quest Club,” by William R. Clark on October 19, 1993: The Miamis are our local representative of the broader contributions to our nation by Native Americans in general. The variety of specific tangible contributions comprises a lengthy list. Even more interesting, to contemplate, is the intangible impact of Native Americans upon our consciousness. The clash of cultures itself has left an indelible mark upon modern Americans. Had there existed no resistance to the westward spread of settlers across North America, the resulting character of our nation would undoubtedly have been totally different.
I am going to self-indulge in Romanticism in concluding that the inheritance of Native American Culture that holds the greatest appeal for me is the haunting spirituality of Native Americans and its relationship to Nature. It has been said that the Indian identified in Nature four words co-existing: the physical world, the plant world, the animal world and man. Of the four worlds, Native Americans viewed man as least significant because man’s very survival and existence depended on each of the other worlds, whereas the other worlds could exist without man. There was a sense of the Great Spirit existing in all things, animate and inanimate; there was a sense of the oneness of all things, a sense captured in a phrase of a later-day Creek poet: “Remember you are this universe and this universe is you.” Something akin to astronomer Carl Sagan’s poetic expression that we are all made of “star stuff.”
The Indian lived in humility amidst nature. The advance of technology and the successful pursuit of progress (however defined), foster a certain arrogance and a belief that our philosophy is the only pathway to ultimate evolutionary perfection. The Native American provides us a mirror in which to see ourselves again. When I first thought about writing “The Miami Nation,” I thought that I might try to identify the last full blooded Miami. But in time it became evident that this task was irrelevant. It is for all who can now reflect upon those who came here before us, for us who make decisions today and have dreams for tomorrow, therein is the answer to that question. The last Miami is actually each one of us. The End…
William R. Clark Jr., was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he attended Indiana University for his A.B. and M.D. degrees, and then completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Indiana University Medical Center in 1964. He followed with a fellowship in Nephrology (kidney specialist), 1964-1965. Dr. Clark returned to Fort Wayne in 1965 and practices with Indiana Regional Medical Consultants.