Archived site
Read only

life story books
To Steve Brown Written by Alexander Price

Freida Brown

Country of Birth:

United States

Year of birth: 1925

Places of Residence:


In late August, 2009, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Frieda Brown, a descendant of Wovoka, a famous Paiute (Native American) holy man. Wovoka is remembered particularly for bringing the Ghost Dance to the Native American people. His religious predictions were interpreted in an extreme way by a group who believed his message to be an indication from God that they were about to get their land back from the white settlers, and this led directly to the tragic massacre of Native people at Wounded Knee -- a story that is told in a book titled *Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee* by Dee Brown.

Freida very kindly met with us late one Sunday afternoon, after her morning services at the Pentecostal Church and before her evening services there. The Church was a huge part of her life, even more so since the passing of her husband Steve Brown only two years earlier. Freida spoke very lovingly and often of her husband, about his service in World War II and how he was discharged when the stress of war began to wear on him emotionally. She also spoke about her closeness with God: "I always talk to God," she said. "Whenever I am working in the garden, doing things around the house, I am always praying. 'God, please help, please bless this plant and let it grow." We admired her rose bushes and apple trees, and I mentioned that I had a tree I was having some trouble keeping alive.

"You should pray for it," she said. "Ask God to make it strong."

Her favorite subject, which she returned to again and again, was her husband Steve. The two of them were clearly very much in love up all the way up to his passing at the age of 87. When she spoke of him her eyes lit up, she became so happy. She didn't say so, but I know she much have missed him dearly.

Freida spoke a little of the Paiute language for us, a traditional blessing. She said that there aren't many people left who know the language, because the young people don't learn it anymore, and as the old people are dying they are taking the last of the language (and the Paiute mindset) with them. I told her it is like that all over the United States, with all the indigenous people.

One of her sons showed up to take her to the evening church services. We thanked her for taking the time to meet with us, and parted ways. Her simple spirituality left a deep impression on me -- the simple way she lives her life in the presence of God, her immense devotion to her husband and to God. I consider myself very blessed to have met this amazing Paiute Elder and learned a little about her life.
End chapter 1