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Lizzie
Page 11


The young women, Lizzie, David, Henry  and Sam all sat around the square shaped table while Esther served their dishes. After they finished their meal the family lingered at the table. The rain was keeping  them inside..

"I have been meaning to talk to you children and now is a good time for it." Sam wasn't relishing the thought of what he had to say.  You girls are almost grown women. David and Lizzie you are still young. Our older girls know from the things we've gone through that we do the things we have to do because it is a necessity. Now, we have come to a time, again,  when me must do a necessary thing."

Sam was preparing them for a decision he had contemplated and prayed over for many months.  "Lizzie, you are still a child but you have shown that you are a capable person. You have accepted the challenge of learning the  white man's language.  Fannie, Creth and Annie have not been that interested in the books and I understand why they would rather speak our language. I do not have to tell you children how our lives have been.”

“We are all families. They call us clans.  White Eagle has his family. Red Leaf has his and so on. When there were a lot of us we had leaders.   If one of us or the other fell, there were others for us. Today, this is not so. That terrible trek from the Black Hills has  taken away so many men.  Those elders  could have  been  with you women to direct in case something happened to me. We must be thinking of a plan.. David is still too young to lead.  Henry's poor health is a reality.”

As we move into the white man's world,  there are many things required. How to keep the little land we have and whether we are able to  survive will be dependent on how well we speak and read the English language.

Lizzie looked at her father, and somehow she knew what he was going to say. It was  as if she had always known much would be expected of her. At the moments of difficulty when she was unsure  she was doing well, Sam had been beside her, encouraging her, letting her know how important it was to master this thing the whites called education. She felt no foreboding The girl did  not even think twice about it. Her father always knew best.

"You know what I'm going to say, don't you Lizzie?" Sam questioned her directly.

"Yes, Father, I know."  Lizzie answered. There were those teachers at school who had seen her gift with learning and had already suggested she might want to continue school at Chilocco. It was a boarding school only twenty-six miles to the north, close to the Kansas line.

"You are a good girl, Lizzie. You can do it. From what I have seen of these people around us, I believe the most dedicated to a good cause are those of the boarding school, Chilocco. Some of these teachers  have come from far off places. They gave up their family and comfortable homes. They  offered their own lives to have our children educated in their Christian way. You must follow their instructions carefully and completely. You must conduct yourself as they want, being obedient in every part of your life. Things will go well with you.  I'm sure of it."

"For you, my older daughters, there will be much required of you, also. As Lizzie obtains this knowledge which will enable her to accomplish a good life, there may be times, in fact, there will be many times you will need to rely on her. I am leaving these instructions with you now, while I am clear thinking and I will be reminding you as we go along.

Documents, leases, paperwork, legal matters will be a part of this new life. Lizzie will learn and will  help you hold your land. Do not waste Lizzie's hard earned knowledge. Use it, in every possible way,  to help you in your lives.  Lizzie, since she is the youngest,  will need to be always benevolent to you, her older sisters and brothers--it will be something for which you girls must work.  Honor your younger sister even though she will achieve a place in the white world. Unite with her in order to survive. This they did and they all prospered.  They had a close family. Their support of each other lasted many years.


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