'The Tiny Warrior' By D.J. "Eagle Bear" Vanas

Kerri Lis
5/29/03

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Would you be interested in learning how to live well and succeed on your own terms? Would it be more appealing to learn these lessons from a book written by an American Indian for American Indians?

In "The Tiny Warrior," D.J. "Eagle Bear" Vanas delivers life lessons within the framework of traditional wisdom. Years ago, Vanas went through a Sun Dance ceremony with the Lakota Nation. "When you go through that, you really learn the traditional role of what it meant to be a warrior in tribal society," Vanas said in an interview with Indian Country Today. Upon completion of the Sun Dance ceremony, his spiritual leader told him to remember "you're a warrior now." Vanas said at that point, he felt about an inch tall and that's where the term "Tiny Warrior" came from.

Within the pages of "The Tiny Warrior" Vanas introduces us to Justin, a young American Indian man, and his grandfather. Justin feels torn between the modern world and the more traditional Indian society and is unsure how to proceed in life. His grandfather, using tradition as a teacher helps Justin discover his purpose.

"A lot of youth think that the traditional wisdom, those ideas that have been handed down for hundreds of thousands of years aren't relevant anymore," Vanas said. "And my argument is, they're more relevant now than they ever have been."

Vanas highlights the cynicism of today's youth through the character of Justin. When his grandfather begins telling him an old story, Justin dismisses the message found within the traditional wisdom. As the book progresses, Justin begins to realize how valuable the lessons his grandfather is presents are. And, as the reader learns alongside Justin, the value of simple, traditional wisdom is apparent.

"I believe that simple ideas work," Vanas said. "We as human beings have this incredible tendency to overcomplicate everything in our life."

"The Tiny Warrior" breaks down how to live well and succeed on your own terms into manageable pieces of information. Each chapter visits traditional time and modern day, concluding with points of wisdom. Although the person learning within the book's pages is a young Indian man, Vanas believes the message is relevant for anyone.

The story powerfully frames the message of self-motivation and challenging ones' self to keep going in the right direction. Vanas has accomplished quite a bit in his life, but he's not slowing down. From a childhood with memories of a favorite toy being a Parmesan cheese can, to a successful career as a motivational speaker, author and proud husband and father, Vanas is his own best example.

"I've got a lot of things in life that I want to accomplish still and will work on that until I draw my last breath. That's what makes life worth living," Vanas said.

For more information about "The Tiny Warrior," D.J. Vanas or his future projects, visit nativediscovery.com or call (719) 282-7747.

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