Note: The Appaloosa is a breed of horse in the US, Canada, and in other parts of the world. The Nakota, and Inuit, are First Nations people groups.
The Appaloosa had changed his life, he was certain of that. He had been driving for four days, and the horse had come to him in a dream, as he was sleeping, by the side of the road. It was the same spotted horse he had as a teenager, and it spoke to him in the dream, in his tribal language. He loved his first language, but he had not heard it in years. One thing was for sure – after the dream he had stopped thinking about going back home after the trip. It was as if there was something…….something he was supposed to do out here, in the middle of nowhere. His heart was filled with his first language now, and as he drove he sometimes spoke it out loud.
He had come to the Yukon to find the most remote place possible, and to hike. He was looking for something – but what? The Appaloosa, had told him he was on a journey, and that this journey was not over yet. He had “further to go”, in more ways than one. So he kept driving.
It was late afternoon when he pulled into Mapleton. It was a small town with one hotel. There was no one at the front desk, but there was a sign that said, “Check Yourself In.” Strange how small towns trusted people, he thought. Once he was in the room, he fell asleep quickly, on top of the bed. He had been driving for fourteen hours straight.
That night he dreamt of his parents, and growing up on the reservation. He was also riding his horse in the dream, galloping as fast as they could through miles of open fields. At one point he was riding with his arms out to the side, barely holding on with his legs, and in that moment of intense freedom, he heard the words, “Never forget who you are.” Whose voice was that? He could not tell. He also saw a school, he had never seen before. Children he did not know, were playing outside, and he began speaking to them in their language. Yet he had no idea what the language was!
When he woke up, or at least he thought he was awake, he saw his mother’s face. She spoke very clearly in Nakota, “Never forget who you are.” Then she repeated the words, in the Inuit language. His mother had been half Nakota, and half Inuit, and she had always encouraged him with these words as he was growing up, making him feel proud of his heritage.
He spent the day in Mapleton, walking around, getting to know the people. He was amazed at how friendly they were. Many were Inuit, or had some Inuit connection. At the restaurant an older couple at the next table struck up a conversation, asking him where he was from. When they asked him why he was in town, he said, “I have no idea.” They smiled.
After his meal, he got up to leave, when the older man he had been talking to, asked him a strange question. He said, “Do you need a job?” The man explained he had a lumber yard, not far from here, and he was looking for help. He stumbled with his words, and was not sure what to say, but he did turn down the job.
The couple had told him about a historical site he should visit, on the edge of town. He decided to walk there, and he loved feeling of the northern sun on his face. As he got closer, chill bumps ran through his body. Could it be??? He started running towards the building. It was! It was older now, and crumbling, but it was the same school – exactly the same school – he had dreamt about last night. Was that the sound of children playing? No one was there, but he thought he could hear them.
The name of the school had been, “The Broken Sky School”, and it had been closed in 1970. When he saw the writing engraved, over the top of the front door, he sank to his knees and began weeping. The words over the door said, “Never Forget Who You Are”. All he could say through the tears was, “Thanks Mom……..I won’t forget……” He covered his face with his hands.
Later that day, he drove out to the lumber yard, and took the job.
Blessings to everyone and PEACE!
Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree
images from google