As Takuma and I, Walama-kai, finished our chores, our mother called me and told me to fetch my youngest brother so he could help with supper. Before I left I saw the happy look my father sent my mother, which meant that he had caught a buffalo that day.
“Kai-kai-shi!” I yelled when I saw my brother in the distance, chasing his friend.
Yala-Molê and my youngest brother exchanged goodbyes and then Kai-kai-shi ran to my side and I heard him groan.
“Did Papa catch a buffalo today?” He asked eagerly as we raced back outside our hut.
“I believe so.” I replied as we both got our vegetable baskets and made our way into our mother’s garden.
I could smell the aroma of the buffalo meat when I walked into our hut to cook the vegetables my mother said to me, “Walama-Kai, don’t forget to prepare that buffalo hide so that I can make those moccasin boots you begged me to make. And you father caught a small rabbit for the inside of it. So make sure you thank him.”
“Oh thank you, Mother! Don’t worry! I’ll thank him a hundred times if I have to!” I exclaimed.
When we all sat down to eat I thanked my father graciously for bringing me the rabbit’s fur when I was supposed to.
My father chuckled then said to me as we finished eating, “Wallie,” he said using my nickname. “Remember that time when I said one day I would take you hunting when you came of age? Well we, your mother and I, decided that you have. I mean, you’re almost forty-eight seasons*.”He pointed out.
“Thank you, Father! Thank you so much!” I exclaimed as I threw my arms around his neck. “You won’t be disappointed! I promise!”
My father laughed as my mother and I cleaned the dishes and us children layed down on our mats.
*1=Forty-eight seasons means twelve eyes old.
“Oh Father! There are so much buffalos here.” I breathed.
“Yes there is, but there used to be so much more…”He said trailing off.
“I cannot believe that. But it must be true if you say so.” I said gazing at the land spaces* filled with buffalos running around in wide circles.
It had been two moons since Father said I could go hunting with him and since then everything had been a blur. All I remember was getting up at sunrise doing my chores and laying down on my mat at night.
“Do you know why?” My father asked suddenly.
“Huh?” I asked, puzzled.
“Do you know why the buffalo are disappearing?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Because all of all those pale faces* are killing them to keep them out of the way to make their copper horse*”Replied my father bitterly. I saw my father shoot a buffalo with his spear and I cringed.
“But why? Why kill our buffalo?” I pressed.
My father shrugged and said, “Because they’re pale faces.”
*2=Land spaces are about two Acers. *3=.Pale faces are the English men. *4= Copper horse is the Transcontinental Railroad train.
That night I heard the pale faces working on their copper horse when I layed down on my mat that night. Funny, I never paid attention to that thumping until today. I thought when they stopped and I drifted off to sleep to the cricket’s hum.
Suddenly I was awakened by the smell of and the sound of our tribe yelling. I saw my mother had awakened too and was waking up my brother. She turned to my father and he wasn’t there. She looked around desperately for some life of him and looking outside with the fire growing larger, she finally gave up and woke up my brothers and we all ran out of our hut, just to fin pale faces with their arms* ready to fire.
The pale faces were saying something to each other then to us that I couldn’t comprehend.
“Walama-kai! Takuma! Kai-kai-shi!” My mother called us over the noise. Before I ran to her side I looked around for my father, and failed to find him. My mother was standing in the middle of everything, and I could see that she was terrified.
A pale face suddenly began pushing us and the other pale faces began pushing others away from our homes, away from our lives. I was crying by now, trying to go back, to find my father.
My mother tripped and fell on her knees and the pale face that was pushing us and others nearly ripped her hair from her scalp from yanking on it so hard to get her up again. My mother screamed from surprise and pain.
*5=Arm means their guns.
All I remember after that was that was that for many moons they made us walk through the ice-packed land while they rode their horses. We had to start a new life, a hard life. In this land they had no buffalo so we had to live on deer, fish, rabbits and small animals.
We never did find my father and that left an ugly scar in my life that would never heal. It wasn’t fair what they did to us and I will never forgive them.
Now this was a couple of seasons ago but no one will ever forget what they did to us. I just though you would like to hear my story and how their copper horse affected my people’s life.
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