He went to visit his uncle when things didn’t seem right.
His uncle was a keeper of one the people’s bundles (for those that don’t know what a bundle is you will have to bear with the story).
“Uncle, the little people are restless and things are not the way they should be,” he said to his Uncle.
“Thunder seems to be taking its time to get here and I feel heavy…”
“The Chickadees have been singing about the spring for weeks now and I have been waiting for the gentle rains to wash over me but I am worried that things are not all where they should be.”
His Uncle just nodded and continued to roll his cigarette with “Drum” tobacco.
He sat there in an uncomfortable silence not knowing if he said something out of line or if he interrupted his uncle’s task that he seemed to be just concentrating on and not much else.
His uncle finished his cigarette and started to look for a match. Searching all over his pockets and then on the floor only to realize he was already holding a lighter in his palm.
“Hah…. must be missing Auntie too much”… “When she was alive she would always scold me for being just an old man who smelled like an ash tray, but she would still pull matches out of her pocket and give them to me.”
“I miss her a lot you know….”
“Every morning she would wake me up and tell me to light the smudge for the bundle”…
“Now I find it hard to do it because life seems to be a challenge and I am getting tired”…
“Maybe the people don’t need me to be around anymore”… “I guess I should give this bundle back or let someone just come here and grab it cause it is very heavy to be responsible for”…
“The people don’t care much for how the way things are meant to be anymore anyways”…
“My own aunties kept me away from school until I was 10 years old. Even though I wanted to go they said no. They told me that the boys will just bully me around anyways. I had to learn to speak English when I went to school. All the other kids use to laugh at me because they had been in school for 5 years already.”
One Auntie used to wait for the first Thunder and then I would help her carry it out to the open prairie and set it up. Then she would tell me to go away and come back after the sun set and not to look at her or the bundle once I left.”
“I could hear her singing songs all day from our camp but obeyed her and just went back after sunset to help her bring everything back.”
“That bundle breathes life to the people when we ask for it. That has been forgotten in this life that is going very fast. The people are all putting a price on everything now. The schools are just teaching the children to think like Whitemen. They know the price of everything but the value of nothing.”
Uncle looks at his cigarette and coughs for a second and then talks about his life.
“I signed up with the US Army and got sent to Korea. It was a good time when we were not shooting at each other. Those Korean and Chinese soldiers would just come wave after wave attacking us. A couple of times I wasn’t sure if I was gonna make it out but I did my service for 3 years and came out with hardly a scratch.”
“That Thunder comes and cleans up everything and we learn not to be afraid of it. It can be scary but when we have good hearts the thunder people take care of us.”
“They come when they are ready. Some of the people couldn’t stay through the winter to see them again but we have to always be thankful for the time they shared in this life.”
“This bundle keeps us tied to who we are, Nephew, and if it is gone we might as well just go away and stop existing. We have to be patient.”
“The Little people already know this and so do the chickadees. It is us who are anxious to make life comfortable for ourselves at whatever the cost.”
“I take you as my own son, my nephew, and that is why I am telling you this.”
They sat there once again in silence but it was different because they were both comfortable with the stories. Not much else had to be said and he helped roll a couple more “Drum” tobacco cigarettes for his uncle. They sat there and smoked them. In the distance they watched the clouds start to gather in the west…
(May 4, 2014)