An Interview with Ardy Sixkiller Clarke
by: Brent Raynes
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke is the author of Encounters with the Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians. She is also the author of several children’s books, including the acclaimed best-seller Sisters in the Blood. Professor Emeritus at Montana State University, she was Professor of Educational Leadership and the Director of the Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education for thirty years. She has been adopted and given tribal names by three Northern Plains tribes. The Blackfeet called her Woman with Great Knowledge, the Northern Cheyenne named her Walks all Woman, and the Lakota Sioux bestowed upon her Woman who Helps People.
Brent Raynes: Please share with us a little about who you are, your professional background, and how you came to explore the UFO experiences and Star People legend stories of aboriginal people of the Americas?
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: I am a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University. I was a professor of Educational Leadership and the Director of the Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education for 30 years. In addition to my teaching and administrative duties, part of my responsibility focused on the recruitment of Native students who wanted to become teachers, principals, counselors or superintendents on their respective reservations. As a part of that process, I wrote and was awarded federal grants to provide scholarships to Native students as well as scholarships for women in non-traditional fields and first generation college students. While I am retired now, I do stay involved to some extent with Native education. Prior to my retirement, I personally funded an endowment for scholarships for American Indian students who want to be teachers. In fact, a percentage of the profits from the sale of this book will go to the scholarship program.
I became interested in the Star People from an early age because of the stories of my grandmothers. When I came to Montana State, I met a colleague on a reservation who shared with me a similar interest. During our visits, he would tell me stories about the "ancestors" or Star People. It renewed my interest in visitors from the stars, so in my free time during my recruitment and research travels for the University, I began collecting stories about the Star People from different tribal groups throughout the country. Some of the individuals I knew for 20 years before they told me their stories. Other stories were told to me by people I met at professional conferences. After I collected the stories, I really had no intention of writing a book, although occasionally some of the interviewees would ask me to write a book. A year after I retired from Montana State, I was contacted by one of the Lakota Sioux tribes in South Dakota and asked if I were willing to consider coming out of retirement and do a major research/evaluation contract. I went to Washington DC for a training institute and made a preliminary trip to the reservation. While there, I had lunch with some women who were community leaders and educators. One of them mentioned seeing a UFO the night before and I began telling them some of the stories that I had collected over the years. They asked me what I planned to do with them and I said, "Probably nothing." One of the women said, "You should write a book. It is a part of our oral history. If you pass, there will be no record of these stories." All the way home I asked myself if I wanted to go back to doing the same kind of work that I had done for 30 years, or if I should take that leap and write the book.
Brent Raynes: What sort of stories have you come upon in your research and investigations?
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: In the continental US and Alaska, I was told stories of visitors who were scientists studying the Earth, cloning, crashes, space travel, missing time, sightings at missile sites, little people, animal mutilations, etc. While many of the stories are unique; others fall into the categories frequently reported by non-Indians.
Brent Raynes: What has most impressed you about the accounts that you have looked into and personally investigated?
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: The uniqueness of the stories. The fact that none of the individuals wanted fame or attention. They simply told the encounters as they occurred. None of them were in a dream state, none were hypnotized. They simply talked about their encounters.
One point I really want to make is that I make no excuses for my lack of "proof" of whether the stories are truthful. The people who told me their stories were not looking for fame or fortune. I make no excuses for their insistence on anonymity. I walked with the people who told me their stories. I listened and I believe them to be true.
Brent Raynes: Have you arrived at any conclusions as to what all of this means? What do you think the future holds and, alas, will the history books eventually need drastic revision work?
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: I am not a "hard" scientist. I am a social scientist. I was not looking for "proof" in physical form. I was only interested in recording the stories as they were told to me. Conclusions? I am a believer. I do believe we are visited by star people. I believe there are different civilizations with different motives. On more than one occasion, I was told about a practice of non-interference practiced by the civilizations of the universe by those I interviewed. So it is hard to speculate on whether or not, at least in my lifetime, that the star visitors will ever reveal themselves to the Earth's people. For me, it is somewhat comforting to know, that we are not alone.
Brent Raynes: During your investigative and research work into these situations, and meeting many different and interesting people, have you had any unusual experiences yourself that you feel may be related to the so-called "visitor" phenomenon?
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: I have had many experiences, but prefer to talk about the stories in the book, rather than my personal encounters.
Brent Raynes: Do you feel that paranormal and spiritual aspects of these experiences/stories are significant areas often overlooked by the mainstream "nuts and bolts" ufologists? If so, please explain your position and thoughts.
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: One of the things that I think is often overlooked by mainstream ufologists, is that many suggest that superior alien races came to Earth and built great civilizations and that indigenous people had nothing to do with it. I found nothing to indicate this is true. What I learned that some indigenous people believe that they ARE the "so-called aliens" and that their people had origins in the stars. I have been told about the ability to travel through space to other worlds. In Alaska the Inupiat tell stories of arriving on Earth in space craft. The Maya say they came from Pleiades. These are a part of their ancient stories, not current UFO new-age mythology.
I also heard stories of Star People who came to Earth and stayed for prolonged periods of time. There is a small Zapotec village, Lambityeco in Mexico, which dates to about 600 BC where the people tell a story about a time when a man arrived from the sky on a beam of light. It is a fascinating account. He took a Native woman as a wife and he taught the people many wondrous things. They had a son. When the son was grown and married, the man stood in the center of the village again and left on a beam of light, never to be seen again. The stranger from the skies was called Cocijo, the God of the Ray. There is a temple along the side of the highway with various masks depicting the rulers of the city. Lambityeco is not a major tourist site. Most people would pass it by and not even notice it, but it is there for those who are interested in the physical connection of the Maya to the cosmos. There is even a plaque erected by the Mexican government that tells the story of Cocijo. So when people told me that the sky gods or star people were relatives or ancestors, I simply recorded what they told me. I think this is a critical element often overlooked in mainstream investigations. We need to start listening to the old stories and hear what the people are saying: "We came from Pleiades". "We arrived on a space ship". "We came from the stars." "We are connected to the Great Mystery, the cosmos."
Now that does not mean that every indigenous person who walks the Earth is a descendant of the star people. It only means that some of them believe that their ancestors are the Star People and their ancient stories seem to validate it. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes and approximately 70 state recognized tribes. Each have distinct languages and cultures. And while many have views of the cosmos that include the Star People; others do not. So you have to look at each tribe.
Brent Raynes: I understand that you feel "Bigfoot" may be related to these UFO incidents too. I've known for some time that many Native people had strong traditions and belief in Bigfoot, or Bigfoot-type creatures, and I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts on a possible Bigfoot connection.
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: While I heard shape shifting stories, I was never told any Bigfoot stories by American Indians. That does not mean they do not exist; I was simply not told any such stories. During my journey among the Maya, there were stories of giants and hairy men. The Maya who told me stories indicated that the "Hairy Men" of the jungle were brought to Earth by UFOs.
Brent Raynes: What further projects or work in this area do you hope to move into in the future?
Ardy Sixkiller Clarke: I am currently working on my next book in the series: Encounters with Sky Gods and Other Creatures: Walking in the Land of the Maya. In 2010 I completed a series of travel in Mexico and Central America covering approximately 9,000 kilometers and four years. In the beginning, I set out to follow in the footsteps of John Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, two 18th century explorers who set out to find the rumored ancient cities of the Maya hidden in the jungles. Having just retired from MSU, I was following an adolescent dream of recreating their trip, a promise I made to myself when I first read their books in high school. In the meantime, I read the stories of the Palenque astronaut and the various theories about the ancient astronauts written about in such books as Chariots of the Gods by Eric von Daniken. In rejecting von Daniken's work as a racist Euro theory suggesting that indigenous people were incapable of building these magnificent cities, I set out to see what I could find out. I engaged personal drivers, interpreters, and guides to assist me. This second book tells the story of my adventure and the stories of the amazing people I met along the way.
In addition, I have just completed a children's book (not related to UFOs), Starchasers' Christmas Dream and have been working on two pre-teen novels. I do not have a publisher identified for those books, but I am still working on that.
I am also entertaining a number of speaking engagements. I have been invited to keynote a UFO conference in England and I am currently committed to speak at the UFO Watchtower Conference in Hooper, Colorado July 27 & 28. I recently spoke with Judy Messoline, who built the UFO watchtower in an area in Colorado known as the Mysterious Valley. She told me there were 67 UFO sightings during the month of November from her watchtower. These sightings were witnessed by upwards of 50 individuals. The Mysterious Valley was brought to mainstream attention by researcher/writer, Christopher O'Brien, who wrote a book about the area. There is also a pre-conference spiritual ceremony hosted by Priscilla Wolf, but I do not have any other information about that.
I also have a number of interviews scheduled on talk radio shows as well as web-based radio shows.