A stringed ensemble and celestial chorus comes from the edge of the clan’s
campsite where cacti spokes stretch above midnight snow. Eyes turn,
and then view a young maiden dressed---from head to toe---in white buckskins
with turquoise trim. She treads the cold carpet unable to find warmth for the soles
of her feet, but ambles toward the chief and his council of elders. A Cotanka falls
from her mouth, the choir fades away, and The Tribal Nation walks toward her,
awestruck of each other’s presence. She’s overpowered by their dignified state.
They watch her demeanor, her countenance, her dignity as she speaks with knowledge
beyond her years. The men motion her inside the towering tepee and sit on warm
blankets while she tells them they are a chosen village. She bends, then draws forth
from her moccasin, a pipe adorned with feathers from
a great Eagle. This sacred bundle holds prosperity for them and the promise of
guardianship of their land forever. When she offers the pipe to the chief, she gives
him peace for all future treaties, harmony in unity with his people, wisdom with the
expertise she possesses, truth with integrity even if hurtful, and spirituality between
their souls and the phenomena of nature’s elements. A shrill piercing sound invades
the sanctity of the tepee as three feathers drop inside the door. She turns to leave
but the warriors want to hear more. She bends again, hands the feathers to the chief
and explains the pipe is working. The men watch her once more, the Cotanka shines
atop the snow, and the symphony comes from the opposite corner of the reservation.
The sage and brush crack and crunch as they give way to heavy steps of a white
buffalo calf. Black hair runs down its back.
Carol Dee Meeks