John Hendricks, a 60-year-old Lakota man, was born on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North and South Dakota, but was raised by his Irish father in Liberty, Missouri. A bad accident in 2010 left John with a badly broken leg, and he has been on federal disability ever since. After caring for his elderly father, who passed away four years ago, John fell on hard times and was evicted from his father’s mortgaged house. He soon found himself living on the streets.
He now lives in a rickety trailer in the woods on the outskirts of Excelsior Springs. In an effort to reclaim his Native American heritage he began thinking of his grandfather, whose name was Charging Eagle, and he hopes to emulate some of the old ways. The rural setting allows him to fish and hunt to put food on his table while relieving some of his stress.
He survives “with the help of a few old friends who let me stay on their property.” Other new friends have stepped up to bring him groceries, give him rides to Excelsior Springs and to the laundromat or supermarket. These “new friends help me keep my sanity,” he said. John hopes one day to move to a home that would still allow him to live close to nature and keep his way of life.