Steve was born Steven Lonnie Nelson on 4 July 1947 in the Cherokee Indian hospital in Cherokee, North Carolina. Mostly of Scotish, Irish and Welsh heritage, Steve is also more than 1/8th Cherokee with Native American ancestry through 3 family lines. One of these ancestors helped build the Washington Monument and another was imprisoned for trying to prevent Andrew Jackson's removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma. Steve was raised by a part Cherokee shaman Aunt Maude who learned much of her lore from Molly Runningwolf, the mother of Amanita Sequoyah, the last Cherokee medicine man officially recognized by the Eastern Tribe. Steve's Indian name is Steven Red Wolf, his lineage is of the wolf clan, one of the 7 tribal groups of the Cherokee. His middle name Lonnie is from his grandfather Lonaino Hardin, the great grandson of the Cherokee stone mason Jim Taylor. Steve follows many of the Cherokee traditions especially as these relate to celebrations, the use of ritual fire and star lore.