Alfred Leo Smith, a Klamath Tribal member from Chiloquin, Oregon, was born November 6, 1919, at Modoc Point, Oregon to his mother Delia Smith Jackson, daughter of David Smith of Grand Ronde and Emma Crawford Ball of Klamath Agency. His father’s name is unknown. Al grew up on the Williamson River until he was sent away to boarding schools at age 7. His younger sisters, Rosetta and Levine Gaile Weeks, preceded him in death.
Al celebrated 56 years of sobriety and was a life long adherent to AA principles and Native recovery through cultural/spiritual practice and program development on local, state, and national levels. Al’s 1990 landmark Supreme Court case, Employment Division v. Smith, eroded the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion Clause, but led Congress to strengthen the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act to provide protection for the Native American Church His case also prompted religious protection for Native American Church in Oregon.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Religious_Freedom_Act#1994_Amendments_.E2.80.93_full_text
For 40 years, Al Smith tirelessly supported his native brothers and sisters in the Oregon corrections system. He was an elder member of the Mt. Hood Sundance community and supported many ceremonial gatherings throughout the Northwest. Al was a fierce survivor who tenaciously followed a disciplined path of recovery, personal growth, and spiritual practice. He had an enigmatic, dynamic personality and inspired many by simply sharing his story and listening to others. Al loved his people and supported efforts for social justice, native rights, and finally, religious freedom.
In Al Smith’s own words:
On November 19, 2014, 13 days after his 95th Birthday Celebration in Eugene, Oregon, Al Smith crossed over and began his journey back to the Creator. As a loving husband, friend, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and fearless Warrior, he will be missed and remembered for generations to come.
Al Smith’s wife of 34 years, Jane Farrell, and their children, Kaila Farrell Smith and Lalek Farrell Smith, survive him. His other known surviving children include: Mark and Maurine Smith in Portland, Oregon, Matthew Smith in Vancouver, Washington, David and Marisha Smith in Portland, Oregon and Josette Smith of Killeen,Texas. Of these children, eighteen grandchildren, one great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren also survive him. He has one grandchild, Angela Maurine True and one great grandchild, Ginew Jerome Watson who preceded him in death.
The family requests that gifts in memory of Al Smith be given to Native American Recovery Association (NARA) and/or Native American Youth Association (NAYA); non-profit, native run programs that have a long history in Portland, Oregon of supporting the health and well-being of native people.
Native American Recovery Association (NARA)
NARA Administration 1776 SW Madison Portland, OR 97205
With funds in memory of Al Smith directed toward residential treatment.
Native American Youth Association (NAYA);
NAYA Family Center 5135 NE Columbia Boulevard Portland, OR 97218 (503) 288-8177
With funds in memory of Al Smith directed
The Moccasin Trail
For Alfred Leo Smith
I will not take the trail of cowboy boots,
or spike heels and pointed pumps.
My path is far less traveled.
I will softly walk the moccasin trail,
through the galaxies of star spirits
to the place where my ancestors
have gone, the path of ancient souls.
The guardian bear will ask my spirit name
I will call out a name forever meant for his ears only,
In new white moccasins, with sparkling beaded soles
on my feet, I’ll take my place among the stars.
Denise K. Lajimodiere