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8 - STEPPING OUT Jackson Hole News&Guide, Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stanford Addison is a quadriplegic horse gentler and a Northern Arapaho traditional healer. Stanford shows you how to overcome tremendous hardship or obstacles and emerge with an unbroken spirit, photographer Sarah Kariko said. Addison will speak Friday at the Center Theater.

Photo by Sarah Kariko.


bridges cultures
In the Theater Gallery, Kariko will hang photographs framing Addison and his community. Stanford shows you how to overcome tremendous hardship or obstacles, Kariko said, and emerge with an unbroken spirit. In 2002, Jones went to the Wind River Reservation to write a Smithsonian magazine article on Addisons ability to talk visitors through gentling down wild mares and stallions. Terrified of horses, he guided her through gentling a small black stallion. He gentled us. All of us. He gentled us along, she writes at the close of Chapter 1. He is the most interesting thing thats happened to me in a really long time, she recalled realizing. Still intrigued nine months later, Jones called Addison and asked if she could stay for longer and write his life story. He liked her idea. As a journalist, Jones was accustomed to pelting questions and receiving answers. You are going to have to stick around for a while, Addison would reply. He wasnt going to deliver it to me on a platter. So I waited and I hung out a lot, Jones said. Pages of questions soon gave way to journaling, and her notes became as much about her metamorphosis as his. It took her a long time to realize what the book was, and when or where it would end. It was almost like snorkeling, she said. I would know it when I saw it, when I found the coral formation I was looking for. All told, Jones spent five years traveling along a relationship arc with Addison. She lays it all out in Broken the heart, hurt and humor of being immersed in Addisons world and muddled by her own. Her journey, told with arresting honesty, inspires. Along the way, Jones invited her friend, Kariko. After meeting in 1989 in Costa Rica (as a Harvard coed, Kariko was studying beetle sex, a project Jones wrote about for Valentines Day) and reconnecting years later at a Burlington ski swap, the two remained close friends. So in 2007, when Kariko, a former Teton Science Schools teacher, headed West for a visit, she spent time with Jones and in turn, Addison, on the reservation. She, too, felt moved by Addison and the richness and complexity of hardship on the reservation. In 2007, she brought her fiance, Dan Rossman, to meet Addison. A decade before, doctors had removed a tumor the size of a tennis ball from Rossmans brain. They gave him six to 12 months to live and a 95 percent to 97 percent rate of recurrence. During his checkups every six months, the most positive report doctors could offer was no change. Kariko needed more. She needed doctors to treat the whole person. She made paper quilts of his brain scans. We lived under the paradigm of not if, but when, she said. Kariko asked Addison if he would do a healing ceremony for Rossman. During the sweat, Addison saw scar tissue and dried blood. No cancer. Kariko and Rossman finally felt free of fear. They threw a statistically incorrect, lifeaffirming party, replete with a brain pinata. Beyond healing, spending time with Addison and his community raised her awareness of the sacred, distinct from the secular. Careful not to offend, she used a point-and-shoot
See ADDISON on 9

Who: Northern Arapaho healer and horse gentler Stanford Addison, author Lisa Jones, artist Sarah Kariko What: Unbroken Spirit: The Life of Stanford Addison When: 7 p.m. Friday Where: Center Theater and Theater Gallery, Center for the Arts How much: $5 suggested donation

By Katy Niner

hirty years ago, Stanford Addison was as wild as the horses he now gentles. He was as conflicted as the Arapaho youths he now guides. When a pack of wild horses collided with the truck he was riding in, his life flipped inside out. He became a quadriplegic, angry and suicidal. On the brink, he slowly learned to pull the anger, the hurt, the disease from people and horses. On the Wind River Reservation where he lives, his transformation has transcended self to foster a community of extended family, troubled youths and occasionally, visiting artists. On Friday, the Art Association will host Addison and his community for an evening of drumming, singing, prayer and discussion, starting at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts. Guests include the young men and women he affectionately refers to as his Outlaws; his two sisters, Frenchie and Arilda; Allison Sage of With Eagles Wings; Anne Even with the Wind River Development Fund; and two artists, writer Lisa Jones and artist/advocate Sarah Kariko. There will be a screening of a PBS documentary Silent Thunder by a third artist, Angelique Midthunder. Jones will read from her new book, Broken: A Love Story, part biography of Addison, part memoir of her five years at his side.