Just days after releasing his latest single “I’m not a Mascot, I’m Not a Stereotype, I’ve Been Watching,” Award-winning Cherokee Folk Musician Michael Bucher was involved in a serious accident resulting in the loss of three fingers on his right hand.
Bucher, well known in Indian country for his albums Seven, Believe and Bitter Tears, Sacred Ground, as well as his single tracks and videos, "Sacred Ground," "Dirty Water," and "Don’t Forget About Me," is telling his fans that even though his injury is serious and will have an effect on his career as a musician and guitarist says the injury is a temporary roadblock.
“This is only a transition in my life and nothing—I mean nothing—will stop me from playing the songs of my ancestors for the benefit of my fans in Indian country,” he says.
“Yes, of course this will affect my ability to play presently. But just as so many warriors in Indian country have had to fight long and hard to overcome struggle, I hope to emulate these warriors by taking on my own struggle with continued appreciation to the Creator.”
Bucher says before he gets too deep, he knows Indian country would want to know the story about what happened.
"In addition to my work as a musician, I am also a craftsman and a builder," he explains. "I built my own log home here in Wisconsin as well as the large stone fireplace. I was working on a building site and was working with a table saw; unfortunately, my arm and sleeve got caught on a board I was going to cut and it literally pulled my hand into it too fast for me to react."
“It was so quick in fact; I looked down at my hand, grabbed my severed fingers and calmly said, ‘take me to a hospital.”
Bucher says three of his fingers were damaged too severely to be saved but luckily a hand surgical specialist was at the hospital who then reattached his middle finger. “Well, at least my middle finger and thumb are still attached—and yes, I made the joke to my wife and friends about my middle finger still being attached in the way you might imagine,” he said.
In the week after his accident Bucher says that even though he should be devastated by his situation, he feels as though the accident is an insightful message from the Creator and his ancestors.
“I should feel horrified, devastated and depressed. I am a musician and I play the guitar and no one would blame me for one second if I said I was going to retire. But let me tell you, I feel a sense of overwhelming optimism. I feel as though out of all the people in the world, I was the person selected to share a message that no matter what happens, no matter how devastating or horrible, anything can be challenged, met head-on and championed.”
Bucher, who is also the co-founder of the You Are Not Alone Network (YANAN), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Native youth choose alternatives to suicide, said his injury might prove to be an incident that provides a message.
“If there is a young Native person who feels as if there is nothing to live for, or perhaps they think their situation is hopeless, maybe this accident might even give me a bit more credibility to reach out to them and say ‘If I can overcome losing three fingers as a musician and a craftsman and still view life as a challenge to accept, face and conquer, then believe me my young friend—you have a reason to live and together we can all overcome any challenge.”
Bucher says that he is certain growing accustomed to his injury will be a challenge, but it is a challenge he will face with positivity.
“I am looking forward to performing and again soon as I learn to play my guitar with seven fingers, which is a spiritual number to me, my first album was titled Seven,” says Bucher.
Those wishing to offer words of encouragement, good thoughts or prayers may reach out to Michael Bucher on Twitter at @MichaelBucher