Historical Microfiction About First Nations People
He knew they shouldn’t have come here. He told them they shouldn’t come, and they wouldn’t listen. They had dreams that told them to find Thunder Speaking, and so here they were, lost at the end of the world. Were they insane? Dreams like this could kill a person, and it was snowing again, in spite of the fact that it was early spring.
The four of them made a shelter from hides they had carried. It was three sided, with the open side facing the fire he started building. The back of the shelter was against some large rocks, which also helped to protect them. It was late afternoon, and the valley was quiet, except for a herd of elk they could hear in the distance, and the snow falling softly.
He tried to calm down. He hadn’t been civil to anyone all day, barking and snapping at them, even when they asked simple questions. He was being stupid and he knew it. He also resented traveling with a woman he did not love, and her two younger cousins. The girls were about 10 years old, and twins. But the four of them were the last surviving members of the Ite people, besides Thunder Speaking. Once they were in the shelter and the fire was burning brightly, he began thinking quietly, that he should apologize, and pray that they would find their way out of the mountains.
“I think Thunder Speaking is warm in his lodge, with his wife right now”, the strange but hopeful words, came from Shining Water. He shot a glance at her that said, “Don’t talk about being warm right now!”, but he said nothing. She was a good woman really, but she was too quiet, usually. When he thought about that, he realized that her talking just now, was an act of courage, an act of faith – that somehow it would all turn out ok. He looked at her closely and thought that she was not only sad, but tears were forming in her eyes. He looked at the twins and saw much of the same. They were all losing hope.
“I apologize”, he was surprised that he said it, but there it was. These two words, these two simple words, changed everything. They all started smiling again, as they ate together in their shelter. Hope returned to the four of them.
Later that night, in the Tsi village, Thunder Speaking woke up screaming, “No!”, “No!”. His wife Bluebird, grabbed his arm and asked him what it was. When he explained the dream, they both cried together, and prayed for the Ite people. They did not think the dream meant that the Ite would die, only that they needed help. He was more determined than ever to try and find them. They both knew he would be leaving soon, even if it meant going alone. Then the thought came to her…. she could go too.
Notes for new readers:
The Tsi people, and their village, is where most of the stories take place.
The Grie people: Have been friends with the Tsi people for many generations, and 15 of them came to the Tsi village over the winter, seeking refuge. They now live with the Tsi.
The Ite people: Originally these people lived near the western coast, but war and sickness decimated them. Today there are only 5 people left. Thunder Speaking, who lives with the Tsi, and the 4 lost in the mountains.
All of the tribal names are fictitious, which I have done for two reasons. For one, I do not want to offend any First Nations people if I do not represent them accurately. Secondly, it gives me greater flexibility in being creative, with the characters, and the customs of the people.
Blessings to everyone and PEACE!
Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree
images from google