In the House of a Raven

One night as I lay in my bed dreaming, a large bird came to carry me to the stars. “These are your relatives,” he stated. The bird and I came to land on an enormous, windswept beach. “This is your other home,” stated the bird. “Walk, grandson. Walk and listen to the stories that it will tell you.” “The salmon…

Growing Up

Growing up on an Indian reservation is not unlike growing up anywhere else. You get in the same scrapes as a kid, argue with your parents as a teen, and have hopes and dreams for yourself, just like anyone else. The only differences is that on the “res,” as we who live there call it, you grow up with a…

Smudging

To many people, the word smudge may have a variety of meanings. To the Native American people, it has a very special meaning. People who smudge daily are cleansing themselves. The practice of smudging has been a part of the Native American culture for centuries. The smudging ceremony can be closely related to a Catholic who goes to confession. Just…

Laundry Day

It’s early morning, the sky is dark to the east, and there’s a stillness over the house that happens only in these pre-dawn hours. The sounds of the night have ceased; it is too early for the birds, save for one crow. His incessant caw, caw, crying out to his feathered friends, announces that sunrise is near. Inside, I hear…

Grandmother’s Words

My grandmother, Lucy (Mike) Kingfisher, was a wise woman. Whatever happened in my life when I was young, she was always there. When my mother had babies, when there was a death in the family, on special occasions, she was with us. I remember her as being of tall stature, with gray hair, glasses, and sturdy shoes. She always dressed…

I am Worthy

Since I have started recovering my sobriety, I have met some people who are helping me to save the rest of my life. These include doctors, teachers, coun­selors, new friends, and relatives. Some of the people have been there all along, but I did not realize it until now. I believe almost everyone comes to a point of real­ization at…

Hands

Years ago, men stood against the old bank on Main Street. On warm, sunny days I casually watched as they visited. Their eyes each told a story— a story of hardships. A story of struggles. A story of survival. A story of relatives and friends now long gone. Their hands emphasized their stories. Weathered hands. Tired hands. Brown hands. Hands…

The Braid

I am made of hundreds of strands of hair. Each strand resilient, beautiful, unique. Each strand the colors of the earth. Each strand illuminated by the sun. Each strand cleansed by the rain. Each strand shaken by the wind. Like the people who wear me, I am strong. My strength is found in the strands gathered to make a plait….