"i have been asked to go speak in michigan at the end of july. an old friend runs a program that deals with tradition as part of its teaching. he asked me to talk about some of the knowledge that i have picked up over the years. i agreed to. the program will pay my expenses and give me a stipend. that is big time for me, since i normally only speak at ceremonies for nothing.
i only hope that it turns out better than my last speaking gig. it is an amusing story. while a student at a local university, i was asked to speak by the sponsor of minority affairs. i thought hell yeah, i can speak in front of a group and still be slightly entertaining. so posters were printed up and plastered around campus. while i headed to the student union to have my coffee i would see the signs. it advertised "the native american perspective" by eddie joe. the students at that school lived in a pretty insulated world and needed their horizons broadened.
the big day came and i showed up to speak. the sponsor was there waiting for me. the large room was empty. he said lets wait awhile, students are probably getting out of class. so we waited. and then waited some more. no one showed up. the sponsor finally got it that no one would show. so he said 'well thats it, nobody is coming'. no one will ever know the amusing anecdotes i had prepared. on my way out i grabbed one of the posters. it still hangs on my basement wall twenty years later. it is to remind me of that day.
it is like the proverbial 'if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one to hear it will it make a sound'. if you have something to say and no one hears it, have you said anything. i always remember that day. so now whenever i have to speak, i make it a point to make a point. and when i listen to others, i ask myself what is their point. if they havent made one, then they said nothing.
i doubt that i go on to be a famous speaker. but i dont care. i am only interested in speaking to people that want to hear what i have to say."