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Abandoned - Hunting Grounds - Story 86

Started by Abandoned, October 31, 2022, 07:09:14 AM

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Chapter 9

  We were convinced the heat from the iron bird had changed our weather.  It warmed up just a bit, enough to change the snow to rain and then to ice and then back again.  Deer and buffalo were spotted across the stream but they did not cross within range of our hunters and they quickly moved on.  The ice made it unsafe to pursue them.

  Buffalo and deer were again spotted across the river from the fishing tree.  A second hunting lodge was built near the fishermen's camp.  A hunter would be ready if any of the animals crossed over to our side.  Our food supply had improved but would not stay that way for long without a successful hunt.

  Our chief spent much of his time that winter recording our supplies.  We had only a little corn, no wild oats.  We had only fish and a little rabbit and duck meat, no buffalo or venison.  We had no leather and our supply of hide coats was dropping.  We had no warm coats.  We had only enough firewood to see us through the winter.  We had only a few herbs but no rose hips.  The chief was concerned that our overall health would drop, he worried about death and disease.


Chapter 10

  The weather warmed quickly and the snow and ice soon melted.  We immediately took to the woods to gather as many dead branches as we could find.  We found a few mushrooms.   A hut was built for our Medicine Man and one for a gatherer east of the chief's hut.  We gathered a lot of grass from that area hoping that more wild foods would sprout.  The warm rain had the grass growing thick and tall.  The hunters reported seeing only a few deer that had crossed the stream.  The grass was taller than the fawns.  The does would not be hunted.  We would cut some of that grass when the deer and fawns moved on.

  A lot of grass was cut over by the river too.  An area was cleared and bordered with fallen logs to form a burial ground.  The chief and medicine man were both worried that our lack of food variety would cause sickness and deaths.

  A third patch of corn, squash, and beans was planted.  The Three Sisters had never failed to provide for us.  The 3rd patch was far from the other two so that the smith, weaver, and hunters were sure to get their share.

  The needlewoman was now making some warm coats from the fur obtained from the small game in the hunting grounds.  When the hunter's next got hides, the needlewoman would make warm coats from the hides and the duck down.


Chapter 11

  That summer of our 3rd year seemed a bit cooler and more comfortable than the last 2 had been.  The rain was not as heavy.  In autumn the hunters said the weather was more like hunting season used to be.  They also had a bit more luck with the hunt.  The hunters in the main camp got a buffalo and the new hunter by the fishing camp got deer and game birds.  There was now leather and more down for the needlewoman. 

  A large spit was set up by the storage tent.  There would be dried buffalo and roast venison for everyone in camp.  Our Hunting Grounds had a population of 54, 31 adults and 23 young children.  There were no students, the wise elders said time to learn later, now there was work to be done, the young must learn that too.

  We learned that keeping the grass cut did make a difference to the gatherer and Medicine Man.  We had a few more herbs and plenty of rose hips.  There were roots, wild honey, berries, and wild oats in storage at the end of the season.  The health and happiness of the tribe was 100%.


Chapter 12

  The chief also decided that the spiritual needs of the tribe were not being met.  They must connect more with the Great Spirit in order to continue to walk the Good Red Road and to walk in balance with Mother Earth as our ancestors did.  The people needed healing and purification that could only be obtained in sacred sweat lodge ceremonies.   He ordered a sweat lodge to be built.  A location was chosen along the stream where 2 natural rock formations formed wayshrines.  One would be on either side of the sweat lodge. 

  The poles of the sweat lodge had just been placed according to sacred tradition when a herd of buffalo gathered across the stream.  They were sent by the Great Spirit and remained there until the sweat lodge was complete.  At that time, a herd of deer returned to their grazing grounds near the hunting camp.  We had been gathering wild foods in that area and cleared much of the grass away so more would sprout.  We did not need food at the time, we would not take more than we needed, but we thanked the Great Spirit for sending the animals back to us.


Chapter 13

  When the snow melted, we again went in search of all the dead branches we could find.  We also found fresh mushrooms.  No more trees had died.  We saw that a herd of buffalo was now on this side of the stream near the hunting lodge.  We also saw that wild turkeys had again returned to the small hunting grounds near our teepee.  Our boys, now 4 and 5 years old, had never seen these big game birds before.  Out beyond the hunting grounds we found a large herds of deer, another herd was closer to the hunting lodge by the fisherman's camp.  Near the river bank a small herd of buffalo had gathered.  We trusted that the Great Spirit would not let us go hungry again. 

That 5th year, the weather had returned almost to normal according to our hunters.  It was cooler and quite pleasant.  The Great Spirit had broken the influence of the big iron bird that flies with no wings.  In gratitude, we erected a totem to one of the Great Spirit's mighty hunting birds, the hawk. The elders were now back in their tent teaching the old ways to the children.


Chapter 14

  During our 6th year, we again saw something strange in the sky.   There was a beautiful autumn sunset, the trees in the west across the river were all aglow.  Shortly after, a bright light appeared in the sky to the north.  It looked like the North Star but it was not yet dark and then we realized it was moving towards us.  It could not be the North Star because the North Star does not move.  We know this because the wise elders teach us how the North Star came to be and why it does not move.  They would teach this to our 7 students soon. 

I will tell this to you now, weary traveler.  (Based on Paiute Legend found in Voices of the Winds by Edmonds & Clark 1989)

  Long ago there was a boy who loved to climb.  He found a very high mountain with smooth steep sides that he wanted to climb to make his father proud, but he could find no way.   After going round and round he found a crack he could enter and climb up inside the mountain.  As he climbed, rocks fell and closed the passage behind him.  Finally, he came out on top of the mountain but there was no room for him to move and he could not get down.  His father found him and saw his son could not get down.  So his son would not die up there, he turned the boy into a star to be a guiding light for all to see.  The North Star is the only star that is always in the same place, it does not move.

  The object we saw moved rapidly, coming closer to us before the light went out.  There was a strong gust of wind and then it was gone and all was still.  You say that about that same time a star fell to earth near your village and it sent rocks flying that hit some of your people and the young woman Earthling who you seek?  We saw no star, only a bright light.  It was the following year, weary traveler, that we again saw the big iron bird that flies with no wings.


Chapter 15

  All went well this year, our 7th year.  We have everything we need and more.  Our storage tent has a variety of foods and textiles, clothes and tools.  We have enough firewood to keep our 15 teepees and longhouses warm and our cookfires going.  What was once our autumn hunting grounds was now our home.  Our tribe of 56 has 31 adults, 9 students, and 16 young children.  We are all happy and healthy and give thanks to the Great Spirit.  We had a feast in autumn to celebrate the good hunt and harvest.

We feasted on buffalo, venison, fish, turkey, grouse, duck, and rabbit.  There was corn, squash, beans, roots, mushrooms, onions, elderberries and cranberries.  We had much to be thankful for.

  The feast lasted 3 days and had just ended when at sunset we again saw the iron bird that flies with no wings.  If flew slowly and silently high overhead casting a large shadow.  It made no sound and gave off no heat.  Its eyes were dim and had no fire.  This time it did not look back but flew off to the north.  We hope to never see it again.  And now it is late autumn and you must be going, weary traveler.  We hope you find the one you seek.

The End



 :) Thanks  :)  New story intro will be posted Nov. 30th.   :-X  ;D


@Abandoned ;D :D :)Thank you for the beautiful story. Your story presentation is great, beautiful landscapes, fine Natural Decorations, real life among Indians on the prairie. Regards