It was all said and done.

He had built up the strength to finally challenge what was real, what was unreal, and he sat there in a world swirling with memories.

He saw it all over again. His mind’s eye was as clear as he had ever known. Memories of youth when he lived in wonder. The stars up above keeping him in his alone time while giving him something he carried in his heart his whole life.

There were times of fear, times of joy. – and he had spent a lifetime of just trying to kill the pain.

He saw it in Isagha’s eyes when Isagha would just fall silent and keep himself busy with his day to day farm work. The glaze over Isagha’s eyes would not be hidden to Wakinyan Duuta, because he knew that Isagha wanted to explain the world to him in a way that even he could not understand.

Kunshi kept it quiet in her strong Dakota beliefs but the pain always showed up when it was least expected.

“Sometimes everything is wrong,” Kunshi would say in her own way and would be mad at something or someone but she couldn’t put her mind on what it was. She too, would carry on with the day’s chores.

He could see by the lines on both their faces that they had both been there many times, in their minds, all because they couldn’t fit in there. They left this world, in their time, but Wakinyan Duuta always wondered if they left with true peace in their hearts.

Now it was many years later and it was time to draw his line in the sand. Time to stake himself to the ground and fight for freedom. His parents’s freedom, his relatives freedom… his Children’s and his grandchildren’s freedom. Ultimately for his own…. freedom…..

People walked back and forth in those great halls of perceived forgiveness. Some were relieved, Others were shocked but all were being exposed to a reality that was not their fault. Some had family supporting them and they all wept as one.

Others were there all by themselves… by choice… They had walked a life alone and they wanted to cross this part of the journey alone. Their bags were always packed at the door. All wanted to be told that they are good people – at least once in their life.

He too always had a bag packed at the door.

“You both gave life to me and gave me eyes to see countries that you will never see. I will share these with you.”

“You both showed me the horizon, even when the sun was not there. I will share these with you.”

“You both showed me how not to be afraid of the bush at night. with feet that would not allow you to walk. I will share these with you.”

“Now, I left yesterday’s solitude behind to be alone with my freedom and I cannot make sense it, with a heart that wants to be filled. I will share these with you.”

He lost many friends but he kept the memories. Those memories filled with wonder but his heart was always still filled with fear.

Like Isagha and Kunshi, his friends were no longer in front of his eyes. Yet, he still held tight onto the one thing that was given to him when he was young. The one thing that keeps them present.


From this faith he held out HOPE that what he was going to do this day would benefit his family and relatives. That what he was doing will bring him closer to what he was missing. His Love…

It was his dad’s and his mother time now and he had to make it right. He told them that FORGIVENESS from the past was what his heart sang out to them. He apologized to them as well. Apologized for not being brave enough when he was younger to make peace for the family.

He knew he would be a poorer man if he did not do this. There would be more scars on more people and that would be left on the land he loved.

“Uncle Lee!!!….”

A young woman’s voice called out to him as he sat in the lobby of the evening’s events. It was his niece that he only knew about a few short years ago.

“Hello Kirsten, How are you doing?”

“I am happy you’re here Uncle.”

“So am I, Kirsten. Your Grampa and Granny went back to their room to rest from this long day.”

“Well maybe I will see them tomorrow then but I want to introduce you to my brothers and sisters..”

“Ok, that will be good… I have never met them yet…..”

“…..And this is my mom”

“Glad to meet you Deanna. You raised a fine young daughter… Welcome to the family…”

It was me that was humbled by this day because my family has grown and I feel a peace that I have not known for a very long time. Maybe that is what Isagha and Kunshi were longing for. A family to be complete with no more memories of that terrible time when the Schools stole their childhoods.

(April 7, 2014)

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