Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In the eyes of Blue Lark

I am the mysterious brother. The youngest son of four sons, I have always been compared to my older brothers and found lacking. I hate that. When I was born, the people celebrated with a large feast. You see, I am the son of War Chief Kicking Horse and his wife, Quiet Turkey. There are always higher expectations for me. My people, do not pass on the war chief's position to his son automatically like the peace chief does. Anyone in the Kishpoko division can fight for the position after my father's death. My father was a great man. For three generations, our people had been scattered throughout the lands in the south, east and west after the Iroquois defeated us in the Beaver Wars. Many Shawnee began to lose our conservative way of life. They adapted to whatever tribe they lived close to. Many of our elders grew concern Our Grandmother, the great creator, would punish us for our disrespect. Some of our elders decided to make the dangerous, long trip back to our lands in Ohio. Shawnee from all directions walked back into our homelands. The land sacred to use because Our Grandmother had given them to use after she created our people. My father was one of those elders. He was already a hero to our people close to the Cherokee's lands. He was a brave and wise leader. The people still speak of his acts of bravery and his wisdom.

I was born in the spring of 1747 within our village along the Ohio River. My mother told me I had been the easiest child she had ever carried. I was born into the Kishpoko division, the warriors, since my father is of that division. There were always expectations. When I was a child I ran free through the village. Little Owl is two years older than me, but we were never close. He was father's favorite son. Our eldest brother, Long Eagle, favored Little Owl as well. They even looked and acted alike. Although five years apart in age, you could never separate them. In 1764, when the white man killed Long Eagle with the smallpox infested blankets it tore my brother's heart. Upon my ninth spring, I began my endurance training. As war chief, my father was expected to train all boys in the ways of our forefathers. Everyone expected more from his boys than the rest. His father, grandfather and great grandfathers before him had all been war chiefs. He knew the people expected more from his sons. Father would have Little Owl and I race around the village ten times, bob in the frozen lake, and go without food some days. We did extra training than any of the other boys in the village. I hated every moment of it. My brothers taunted me relentlessly. As I grew older, my father expected more out of me. He taught me hand to hand combat, how to hunt, track, and other skills I would need to be a strong provider and protector. When I was thirteen, Little Owl went on his first battle during the French and Indian War. He came home with a head injury. Seeing my older brother close to death and suffering afterwards had scared me. I knew upon my fifteenth spring, father would hand me my first weapon and expect me to join him on the battlefield. I didn't look forward to that!

I had never been good in battle. As I grew older, it quickly became apparent I was better in the area of healing and long shooting. My father didn't appreciate those qualities in me. He said I was too weak to do any good to our people. Daily he urged me to become the strong warrior my older brothers had become. As if I could change how Our Grandmother had created me to be! Where I didn't find favor in my father's eyes, I found it in my mother's. Mother loved me unconditionally. She took pride in my gifts. My mother and I had always been close but she never revealed to me her secrets. Let me tell you. Listen well. Something is not right about my mother! She doesn't act like your typical Shawnee woman. Every winter when we travel to hunt in the Cherokee lands, she interprets for my father. There are Cherokee men who look similar to me. There are Cherokee women who look like my mother. I have often seen her have more than a cordial relationship with the Cherokee. She is their friend! What Shawnee woman is friends with a Cherokee woman? Aren't they supposed to be our enemies? My life is complex but one thing I know for certain. Despite my faults, I am and shall always be Shawnee.

Blue Lark is one of the characters in "Calico" Book 1 of the Children of the Shawnee series by Allison Bruning. It is available on amazon.

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