In northwest Alabama, there is a stone wall dedicated to my great-great-grandmother's
journey, about which this book is written, and to all Native American women.
If the Legends Fade is the story of Te-lah-nay's journey.
The wall is my way of honoring my ancestors. It has become a special place to many who visit
it, for reasons that relate to their own lives.
After walking the length of the wall, Charlie Two Moons, a spiritual person, explained it this
"The wall does not belong to you, Brother Tom. It belongs to all people. You are
just the keeper. I will tell you that it is wichahpi, which means 'like the stars'.
When they come, some will ask, 'Why does it bend, and why is it higher and wider in some places
than in others?' Tell them it is like your great-great-grandmother's journey, and their journey
through life--it is never straight."
The story, like the wall, belongs to all people.
Ishatae . . . a quiet place
Tom Hendrix has felt an intense connection to the
Singing River since his boyhood, even before he became fully aware of Te-lah-nay's story. Father,
grandfather, conservationist, and amateur stonemason, Tom lives with his wife in a small
woodland haven in northwest Alabama, just east of Natchez Trace Parkway milepost 338.