Swift though we walk through
our modern life style, quick we think and fast our decisions; Still, our
minds go in peaceful remembrance to another time not so long ago. This was
a time when the ways of the old ones were with us. It was a time before
these caring people left us behind with their death, and we don't even
know their ways. The energies where we live must be channeled to another
world. This world tied up with demands of another nature. However, can we
not pull up the pleasant bridge that we might cross over it for just a
White Wing sat with her needle
work in her lap while her children rolled and tumbled about her on the
floor of their small apartment. She was at one with a time of transition.
Her heart held the traditions of her tribe's ways, but she was at force to
come to a place where she could step back and forth from one world to the
other. She was a quiet woman. The most she used the English language was
to speak to her children, directing them in some school activity, home
duty, or whatever was necessary for their instruction. When her family
visited with her, the conversations were of her own language, that of the
"Wing!" Her sister
spoke to her, "Who will be here for supper?"
The children would be lined up
on benches at both sides of the table. After a brief Christian prayer
learned at the Mission, they would busily go about the business of eating.
One by one, they would slip away from the table and pick up where they
left off in their play. There wasn't the customary conversation practiced
by other nationalities. These other cultures often used the opportunity of
the mealtime to hone their abilities to develop this skill of
communication. Not so, with the family of this clan. Their lives would be
directed to a different master which allowed them no time for frivolity of
any sort. They had a determination about their character which gave them
the strength to go forward in service not deviating from a goal for any
light frivolous moment, not even at meal time. They were a people strong
in their dedication to family and tribe.
Their joy was equally tied up
with these pursuits. It was a common thing for them to laugh among
themselves at what they considered to be "silly" ways of the
people around them. If these same people considered the Indian's lives to
be stark and uninteresting as to decor and decoration of their living
space, equally the Indian's considered the other's spaces to be cluttered
and filled with unnecessary things.
After their meal White Wing
picked up her needle work and was busily completing her son's dance
regalia. "I must get this finished before our family's gathering,
"Little Joe is so sharp
in his clothes." "He looks like a little man, White Wing's
sister smiled and spoke."
"Oh!" " He
feels so grown up when he dances." "There is no missing a beat,
the song can end and he is right with it." "You know he is
learning the songs."
The charm of simple living was
upon White Wing and it was with these uncomplicated ways she raised her
family. They always had regular meals, a place to lay their head, and
secure family traditions she taught them.
Years later an acquaintance of
her own tribe who had not seen her for a long time happened to make a
chance encounter with her. "White Wing!" "It is so good to
see you!" "How are you?" "How is your family?"
The acquaintance in her ignorance of White Wings circumstances was
White Wing was quiet. She at
first bowed her head. There was no comment forth coming. Though they were
in a room she looked away as if she were looking across vast terrain. Her
eyes she squinted too, as if she was trying to see. The older woman seemed
to be looking to some object at a very far distance. She said nothing. She
nodded her head in a friendly way as the acquaintance spoke and, on
occasion, she would lower her head again. Something about her spoke
strongly, but it wasn't her voice. An attitude of quiet acceptance was
with her, and there was no comment. She smiled wistfully as the
acquaintance parted company with her, but still she was silent.
"I saw White Wing the
other day and she did not speak to me, not once," the girl complained
to her Mother. "She was pleasant and all, but she was very certainly
removed from my company."
"She is one of the old
ones, still." "She carries on her ways." The Mother
instructed her daughter, because she knew she was also ignorant about many
of their ways.
"Why was she so
quiet?" The girl asked.
"It is because her
husband divorced her." "In the old ways it was the greatest
curse and shame." "She cannot become a part of any of her folks
and their association." "Literally, years ago, she would have
been ostracized from the tribe." "Maybe, she would have died of
starvation, or shame." "The men would not bring their family to
this." "They were never cruel enough to bring this upon the
woman and their children." "The children were even shamed and
often they became careless, having accidents or in some other way lose
their life in a suicidal way."
"It seems so sad."
"How does she exist with that sort of sorrow?" "I don't see
how she cannot want to go on living." "In her whole personality
there is such a morose feeling, you can seem to almost touch the
thing." "It just doesn't seem right." The young woman
thought out loud.
"It was our way,"
The Mother stated simply.