Melvin "Ed" McGaa, 1936-2017, served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Marines.

James Giago Davies: A tribute to the late Oglala veteran and author Ed McGaa

Just dropped by to talk about Ed

Eagle man was many things to many people
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Editor

Last month my friend Ed McGaa set out on his final journey, a journey touched upon many times in the books he wrote about Lakota spirituality. These books were simple, basic, straight forward perspectives that earned a faithful following worldwide.

Although we both write, I did not meet Ed through his writing, but mine; some years back he sent me an e-mail, telling me to keep up the good work, and invited me to have lunch in Rapid City.

Whatever Ed was to other people, anywhere on this planet, given the books he wrote, and the talks he gave, and the places he went, I was not familiar with that person. The Ed I knew was an Oglala guy from my reservation, with the same basic history and perspective on life I had. This was our bond, and that bond mattered to both of us. We knew who the other person was, and we had no pretentions between us. I knew his life, warts and all, and he knew mine.

No doubt his public persona was important. He was a fighter pilot in Vietnam, he had a law degree, he was Eagle Man to tens of thousands of readers, he touched a lot of lives. But like lots of public people, that is not who Ed really was. He was raw, unfiltered, loyal, generous, wise and foolish, flawed and special at the same time.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Just dropped by to talk about Ed

(James Giago Davies is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He can be reached at

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