Darrin Bark

As a student here at Southwestern Community College, I have been liberated from my inadequacies. My instruction here has given me the necessary skills and self-assurance to continue in discovering my strengths. It has been my continuous effort to become a cultural ambassador to those who are willing to learn more about the history of my people.

Several years ago I was in a tragic automobile accident. My truck happened to roll off a mountain road, throwing me from the window crushing my lower spine, and pulling my leg from its socket. This misfortune left me without being able to stand for more than several minutes, lifting more than 25 pounds, and being constantly in pain. However, rather than become a burden on society, I challenged myself to earn my keep through the arts.

By becoming a student here at SCC, I have learned I have strengths in other ways than being a former brick/stone mason, but learning the values of knowing what it means to be myself. Learning such things as my own ancestor’s name was Old Bark who was called the Beloved of Chota, the mother town of the Cherokee Nation in the 18th century. He was the last Indian still living in Chota after it was burned down. Because I have learned the science behind the chemical reactions in the electron transport system of the mitochondria, I have a better understanding of oxidation, a process I use in firing my pottery.  This information is a gold mine to me. I have learned the simple pleasures of reading Shakespeare, howbeit I would have to disagree, life no longer sucks, and then we die. I have pondered over what it means to be Native American, and my conclusion is that being Native American is reading about your grandparents in history books, it means seeing people you know on documentaries. It means giving back to your people. I have learned so much here, and I am forever indebted to you SCC. This chapter of my life has only begun, and I look forward to a new and exciting one, and SCC has given me the power to become not only the author, but also the hero of my own life story.