Family Lessons

When I saw the Hails’ wagon moving up the drive, Meena’s head beside the old woman in a gray shawl, I ran toward the director’s house. My Osage sister waved and dropped to the ground, her green dress straining across narrow shoulders as she turned to help Sarah, the missionary’s wife. Brother Amos came onto the porch pulling on a…

The One Thing

There were many times when Nelson would sit in his chair when all the kids were gone and speculate how he ended up teaching on the reservation. On long days, when all the lesson plans were done, he’d lean back and begin dreaming. One particularly warm day, as he closed his eyes, instead of the usual flying dreams he had,…

How the Rainbow Was Created

Long ago, a great warrior and his wife were expecting their first child. The couple had longed for a son, but had difficulty conceiving. One night, before the child was to be born, Anog-Ite (Double Face Woman) paid the couple a visit to confess a secret she kept. Many nights, the spirits listened to them lament for a son. Because…

Small Hopes Shine Brightest

Theresa started the old ’87 Ford on a late February afternoon, after her shift at the bank had ended. An old beaten pickup, the ’87 saw most of the family’s troubles from start to finish, argument to makeup. Nowadays there wasn’t much to be celebrating. The small yet complete family had barely anything out of necessity to their name, and…

Noodin and Giizhik

There once was a pup that belonged to a large pack of ma’iinganag (wolves), he was called Noodin (wind) because he wandered like the wind. He was covered in dark tan fur with black on his back. Noodin wandered around the forest, wherever his nose led him. He was a loner and had a bad temper. Sometimes, Noodin revealed a…

The Coming of Big Foot

There was once a young man named Strikes Twice. He was at the edge of the village chopping wood when he heard a cry coming from a forbidden part of the woods. No human was ever to cross through this forbidden area. The piercing scream startled him, it almost sounded like a baby, and he felt that he had to…

They don’t know where they will go when they die. Ho’-wa ge a-the ta i te ts’a-bi-don i-ba-hon a-zhi a-ba o.

The day the death boats came, Meena helped me serve the noon meal. She was the only other Osage at Edwards, and she’d been there for a week. When the steam whistle sounded, we went up the slope behind the mission to the Cherokee, to the small knob along the Arkansas River. Asmell like the privies in summer made Meena…

The Rez Cat M

Mosi often remembers his past when his ears start twitching. He goes day to day sleeping most of the time. There isn’t much to do in a kennel anyway. He hears his fellow felines rub against their wire cages wanting to go free. Being on death row didn’t matter anymore. He sought peace now. A flicker of hope arrived when…

Overcoming

Hello everyone, I am a young man who struggled and yet lived a good life in this world. I want to tell you my story of overcoming what I was born with. First, I want to tell you how it all began. I was born in the winter and yes, it was cold. When I came into this world there…

Sourtoe

I got the phone call I’d been dreading. The woman at the nursing home told me it was almost time, that my Auntie Edith was about to die. Of course, she didn’t say “die,” that word being too raw, too final. She told me Edith hadn’t been able to eat anything for days and had started holding her arm up…