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A collection of creative works by students and staff of the College of Menominee Nation. Published by the College of Menominee Nation - 2013 The Fall 2013 edition of Feather Chronicles is the first to be published in our new online format, through the digital publishing platform, Issuu.com. The landmark 2012 edition, celebrating CMN’s 20th year was initially published on paper, but now is recreated in this online format as well. In fact, everything published in the magazine since the first issue in 2008 will be accessible in one online place, with consistent formatting that features state-ofthe-art appearance and paging. Feather Chronicles thanks CMN’s Webmaster, Sue Delrow, for developing this opportunity for the magazine and for her work formatting and uploading content. For the first time, this edition of Feather Chronicles includes a scholarly article. Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving, by a CMN student Elizabeth Rice, explores and documents dimensions of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. We expect to include additional student scholarly work in upcoming issues, both to increase interest in the magazine and to provide students opportunities to see their academic work published. Feather Chronicles thanks Humanities faculty member, Eric Jurgens, for conceiving this opportunity for the magazine and opening the communications that bring student scholarly work into our submissions process. This edition also includes prose, poetry, and images from authors, poets, and artists contributing to the magazine for the first time: Angela Schneider, Sandra Shackleford, Christopher Von Deck, Candy Mahkimetas, Michael Guyette, Kathleen Waukau, Lucille Martin, Renetta Waupoose, Bonnie Rolfs, Rosemary Warrington, and Rebecca Bork. Their work appears alongside new contributions from talented writers and artists whose creative work appeared in previous issues: Jill Martin, Mary Anne Hill, Melissa Wilber, Jes Buettner, and Madona Wilber. As always, Feather Chronicles thanks our contributing authors and artists.

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Feather Chronicles December 2013

Feather Chronicles is produced by College of Menominee Nation students and includes contributed work from students (current, former, and future), CMN staff and faculty, and anyone engaged in the college’s many community activities. Submissions are welcome; please e-mail them to DVickers@menominee.edu.

Puddle by Lucille Martin – Pg. 33

CONTENTS Hope – Jill Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Sunrise – Angela Schneider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

The content of Feather Chronicles is protected by copyright controlled usually by the author and in all other cases by Feather Chronicles. U.S. and international copyright laws apply.

Twisted Cypress – Mary Anne Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 The Eye of God – Mary Anne Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 The Box – Sandra Shackelford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Eye – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Divide – Mary Anne Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Flower – Christopher Von Deck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Ferris Wheel – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving – Elizabeth Rice . . . . . . . 17

Cover image and logo by Michael Gomeyosh. The Scott Zager Venture Fund makes possible production of Feather Chronicles in hardcopy.

Sun Through Trees – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Adventures of Onatawapen – Candy Mahkimetas . . 21 Fall Trees – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

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Feather Chronicles December 2013

CONTENTS (cont.) The Wisdom Boy – Michael D. Guyette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Snake in Grass – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Learned Haiku – Jes Buettner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Man With Hat – Madona Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Vision – Sandra Shackelford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Entering the Womb of Mother Earth – Kathleen Waukau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Puddle – Lucille Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 I Am Me – Sally Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Bee – Lucille Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Life’s Evolution – Renetta Waupoose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Holding Hands – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Outside – Bonnie Rolfs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Spider – Lucille Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Lantana – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 The Well-Groomed Lawn – Bonnie Rolfs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Angry Sky – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Feathered Glasses – Rosemary Warrington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Whitefish Dunes Trail – Mary Anne Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 The Never – Jill Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Vision – Sandra Shackelford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Grandfather’s Journey – Rebecca Bork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Footprints in Sand – Melissa Wilber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 3


Hope

- by Jill Martin

I chase hope Like the day chases the night An endless dance of dark and light Happiness and sadness I breathe hope Like the trees breathe the summer sun An endless gift of strength and annihilation Rejuvenation and suffocation I taste hope Like the wind tastes the salty sea An endless wave of joy and sorrow Sailing and drowning I steal hope Like the dawn steals the morning star An endless battle of confidence and doubt Faith and uncertainty I sing hope Like the blue whale sings its lonely love song An endless echo of solitude and longing Heartache and waste I recognize hope Like the soul recognizes itself in another An endless embrace of magic and truth Peace and despair I seek hope Like the sky seeks the earth An endless horizon of beauty and impossibility Fascination and futility I dream hope Like the poet dreams her beloved’s soul And endless illusion of destiny and choice Opportunity and misfortune

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I free hope Like the midnight frees countless stars An endless miracle of wonder and resolution Amazement and perseverance I compose hope Like the musician composes their soul to song An endless balled of inspiration and torment Awakening and sleep I believe hope Like the Winter believes in the coming of Spring An endless season of instinct and obscurity Intuition and confusion I howl hope Like the wolf howls for its long lost love An endless cry of desperation and devotion Commitment and abandonment I feel hope Like the constant ache in an old man’s bones An endless misery of memories and dreams Maybe and never I consume hope Like a rushing river consumes the earth An endless fury of creation and destruction Vulnerability and power I forget hope Like the spirit forgets to be free An endless shroud of burden and responsibility Obstruction and obligation I bleed hope Like the sky bleeds peace at sunset An endless spilling of spirit and silence Mortality and immortality I give up hope Like a romantic gives up forever for a chance at love An endless whisper of selection and serendipity Determination and inevitability 5


I dare hope Like the thunder dares the sky to split An endless rain of chance and regret Living and dying I fear hope Like the heart fears rejection An endless assault of ecstasy and emptiness Enchantment and actuality I abandon hope Like the leaves abandon the trees in Fall An endless descent of dance and deliverance Chaos and escape I forsake hope Like the soul forsakes the confines of our mind An endless insanity of love and doubt Feelings and thoughts I crave hope Like the desert craves the sky to cry An endless thirst of indifference and addiction Insignificance and obsession I bury hope Like an old dog buries its treasures An endless panic of hide and seek Wishing and forgetting I love hope Like the heart loves with abandon and no regrets An endless immersion of worship and possibility Passion and potential I am hope Like I am a heart and a soul An endless faรงade of everything and nothing Someone and no one Hopeful and hopeless ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 6


Sunrise

- by Angela Schneider

Surrender all that no longer serves you. Let all that remains buried in your heart come to the surface and be healed. Let there be space for new energies to enter. A new beginning transforms darkness to light.

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Twisted Cypress - by Mary Anne Hill

I am a twisted Cypress Rooted into a bedrock cliff High above the Big Sur Ocean I am twisted and gnarled Buffeted by a thousand pellets of salt water And never ceasing wind I have stood through jet streams of time I have been sculpted into smooth curves I am sinewy, tough, and lean As the sun falls lower and colder My limbs turn from hazel to silver My foliage fades emerald to olive I dig in, conserve my energy and breathe My arms are blown to the East Away from the never ending assault Of water, wind, fire and time I am a Cypress, beautiful, elemental, Curved, knotted and strong I will not be defeated. I endure.

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The Eye of God – by Mary Anne Hill 9


The Box

- by Sandra Shackelford

This is a story about my Great Aunt Bell and what I found in the nursing home after she died. I'd driven down to Louisville, Kentucky to attend her funeral. I was packing up her things when I found a box. When I opened it, I discovered treasure, among other things, an old sepia toned photograph. My father was a storyteller. I inherited my love of stories from him. Ever since I could crawl, I ended up on his lap. I'd snuggle into his plaid work shirt taking in that earthy smell of him and beg, "Daddy, tell me a story." It never took much coaxing. His stories weren't ordinary. For one thing, they didn't come from books. His stories seemed to come out of the air. He'd grow quiet for a minute. Then his eyes would light up as bright a copper pennies and he'd start spinning a yarn. Unlike made up characters, Snow White and Cinderella and Goldilocks, my father's people were real. There was old man Tuzzy Dohertry who ran the pool hall in town, and my dad's pals, Banty Dancer and the Chicken Sisters. Their older sister, a quiet girl and a fine pianist, had the misfortune of being given the name Maude the Mule. Of all the stories my father told, I liked the ones about his grandmother, Charlotte, and her daughters -- Lena, Bell and Ruth -- the best. Aunt Bell lived the longest. She died at ninety-five. I was 10-years-old when I met my Great Aunt Bell. Our family had traveled to Louisville one summer, seven of us crammed in our old Oldsmobile. Bell was big and severe looking. I don't know that I ever saw her smile. Her white hair was pulled straight back and tied in a frugal knot at the back of her head. On that first meeting Aunt Bell stood over me, hands on her broad hips. She took in every miserable inch of me, squinty eyes moving from my head to my toes. They burrowed into me, uncovering every mean thing I'd ever done. I couldn't understand a thing Aunt Bell said. She must have thought I was dumb but she talked like she had a mouth full of mush. Her words stuck together. And when they did come out, they oozed from her thick and sticky sweet and very, very slow, running as Daddy used to say, "like molasses in January." As Aunt Bell got really old, her mind traveled backward not forward. She was locked in a previous time, stuck like an old truck in the mud. Even in the nursing home where things moved slow, life seemed to rush around her. Still she told stories. Hers weren't funnily like Dad's. Hers were spooky, filled with sinister plots and suspicions. She'd tilt her head, squint and shake a bony finger in my face and say, "Oooooh, Child,", recalling what she 10


suspected was some wrongdoing by her sister, Ruth's husband, Pony Brown. "There's a mouse in the buttermilk somewhere!" I loved Aunt Bell. She and my great grandmother, Charlotte, and sisters, Lena and Ruth, had raised my father. His mother died of tuberculosis. The bigger her baby grew in his mother's womb, the weaker she got. The day he was born, she died. If it hadn't been for his grandmother and his aunts, my father would have died and I wouldn't be telling this story. His mother passed her disease on to him. A scar, shaped like her hand, was imbedded in his cheek. One of his fingers was missing a joint. A couple of his toes were malformed. As an infant, his bones were as soft as the Kentucky clay. For the first two years of his fragile life, Bell and her sisters, young girls themselves, carried him around on a pillow. When he grew stronger, they played with him as if he was their very own doll. They dressed him in outfits made from flour sacks. When he finally grew hair, they rolled it in rag strips. In the morning, when they unwound them, his black curls sprung to life, bouncing like springs on his tiny shoulders. Anyone who didn't know better would have sworn baby Roy was a girl. It was late afternoon when I left Aunt Bell's gravesite. The sun was riding low in the sky when I returned to the nursing home to gather up Bells things. The light crept into the room, settling on her empty rocking chair. The nurses had already stripped her bed. The sheets and blankets were crumpled on a cart by the doorway. I approached the cupboard closet and opened the doors. I lifted out Aunt Bell's flannel nightgowns. They were feather light and smelled like an old woman and laundry soap. Then I saw it. The box. It was pushed back into a corner. I'd almost missed it. I stood on my tiptoes and reached in. I sat down on the bead and opened it up. Inside was a photograph brown with age. A child in a shapeless dress stood on the cane-bottom of a chair. The day was sunny. The child's hair hung to his shoulders in limp, dark coils. I sat on Aunt Bell's bed for a long time studying that picture. As the room darkened, I made out the scar on the child's cheek and saw, too, the funny misshapen toes and the unusually short finger. I raised the photo and pressed it to my heart. I've kept that photograph all these years. It reminds me of who I am and where I came from. I am my father's daughter, the one he entrusted with his stories, kin to a line of strong southern women born of the Kentucky soil. I'm grown now, an orphan myself. But I am not alone and I never will be. I have my father's stories and the memories they have inspired, a priceless treasure, an inheritance more precious than gold. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 11


Eye

- by Melissa Wilber

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The Divide

- by Mary Anne Hill

Stretching across most people’s lives is a line of demarcation. The line is both invisible and indelible. It marks an event that forever bifurcates memory into that which came “before” and that which happened “after.” For me, that defining event was the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Everyone in my generation remembers where he or she was on that day. The women can tell you what they were wearing. They remember because the assassination of an American President was unthinkable before that. We knew that it happened to Lincoln, of course, as well as to Garfield and McKinley, but they rested in the distant historical past. This was the first assassination that appeared on television in our living rooms. Television made this assassination personal and immediate. In 1963, Baby Boomers were young and invincible and we were convinced that the youngest President ever elected, was too. He inspired us and introduced an exciting dream of a new world. He gave us a vision of peace and endless possibilities. He was handsome, witty, smart and optimistic. He was going to take us to the moon! Before the assassination occurred, the thought that this spirit and idealism could suddenly vanish was just beyond belief. Some have said that the shots in Dallas turned a generation from optimism to cynicism. In the fifty years since, both my sense of innocence and safety have been casualties. Destruction can come in an instant, out of nowhere, to anyone. This awareness altered and darkened my “ever after.” On that bleak day in November, I was a twenty year old college student in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I climbed up to a quiet cubicle on the second floor of the Student Union to study for a two o’clock French test. The study areas adjoined the TV lounge which had closed, glass-paneled doors that blocked the sound, but not the light. I was gazing at the ceiling trying to memorize French verbs, when I suddenly noticed movement below. One of the few African students on campus ran across the room toward the TV lounge, his dark face shining with tears. I stood up in shock and looked at the faces of students who had been sitting quietly holding books and 13


highlighters. An anxious voice violated the silence and asked, “What happened? What’s wrong?” “I don’t know,” was my answer, “but it must be something bad.” In one motion, we dropped our books and hurried into the TV lounge. There were not enough seats as people poured in, standing, sitting, scrunching into each other. Nineteen sixty-three was way before the digital age, and the concept of constantly streaming news and information was found only in science fiction. There was one TV in the entire student union at the time. It was a small-screened, black and white Motorola, mounted on the wall, as every eye strained to see the fuzzy images. Students, staff, professors, all pressed close to get within earshot. On screen, the reporter, Walter Cronkite, was handed a piece of paper, stopped, took off his black framed glasses, rubbed his nose, put on his glasses, looked at us, and said, “A flash from Dallas, Texas, President Kennedy died at 1:00 pm, Central Standard Time, 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.” Nobody moved or even seemed to breathe. Walther Cronkite was like our father. He was the most trusted man in America. He was welcomed into our living rooms every night. He was the person we relied upon to keep us safe and to tell us what to do. He was fighting back tears, visibly upset. He could hardly speak as he fought for composure. We all looked at each other in shock and dismay. At first, the room was silent. Then, someone said, “This is a joke, right? It’s like War of the Worlds? It’s some kind of ad for a show or a book? This isn’t funny. I don’t think they should be doing this!” It was easier to think this was a hoax, rather than to consider it might be real. I, for one, went right into the heart of denial. I looked at my watch and thought, “Oh boy, I need to get over to Dempsey Hall and take my French test, like right now!” I spun out of the lounge, grabbed my books and jacket, and ran down the steps, out the door, across campus to the next building. I trotted up the grooved, wooden stairs and looked at a large oil painting of giant soap 14


bubbles floating above a sink full of dirty dishes. The painting was one of the WPA projects for artists during The Great Depression of the 1930s. The snapshot of that awful painting, like a thumbprint in the eye, is etched in my memory, forever associated with the killing of Kennedy. I walked down the hall to Room 210 where my French class met. Scotch-taped to the door was a hand-scribbled note that read: “Class Cancelled Due to the President’s Assassination.” Other students began to appear at the door and we looked at each other in shock and incomprehension, saying, “Can it be true? Did this really happen? It’s impossible. This could not have happened here.” None of us seemed to know what to do or where to go. We just wanted to take our frigging French Test and go back to normal. We wanted to return to college life, filled with beer, all night discussions, and radios tuned to rock and roll. We wanted to re-enter our carefree world where every day was Saturday. When we were ready, we wanted to take the reins and ride into a dynamic new world of idealism and promise. However, our world of possibilities and dreams, (in the words of Mathew Arnold) “so various, so beautiful, so new,” seemed to have been snatched away in an instant, leaving “neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.” Seven seconds in Dallas broke the back of my generation. We all crossed the divide and life, as we knew it, would never be the same. The assassination marked the difference between what was and what might have been.

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Flower – by Christopher Von Deck

Ferris Wheel – by Melissa Wilber 16


Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving - by Elizabeth Rice

Upon looking for scholarly articles on the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, I was disappointed as to the lack of scholarship. I have come to the realization that a reason for the lack of scholarship could be that the Thanksgiving Address is tied into the culture of the Haudenosaunee. It is a way of life, not just a formality. When reading the Creation Story, you can begin to understand the significance of the text. The principles of the address have some bearing on the Kaianerekowa- The Great Law. The message that is portrayed within the address is extremely important to not only the Haudenosaunee and other Native Americans, but to all people, for we are all tied together with the Natural World. The “Thanksgiving Address” is just what it implies. It is a recognition of gratitude for all of Creation and has been passed down for generations within the Haudenosaunee people. Though there is no writer recognized, there are many different translations of this address. Some longer and more in depth than others. (Cornelius, 203-224) The address is typically in oratory style and given before and after ceremonies, political meetings, and social gatherings. Often times, burning of the sacred tobacco accompanies the address. It is sometimes called the “Gano:nyok”, meaning “the words that come before all else”. (“Haudenosaunee Guide”, 10). The Thanksgiving Address remains an integral part of the beliefs of the Haudenosaunee people. Oneida Language teacher and Faith Keeper LeAnne Thompson said, “It [Thanksgiving Address] is still important today because all of these entities continue to exist and support our life on earth. Our thanksgiving address starts with those things on earth that are closest to us, other people, the earth, grasses, etc., and continues into the sky world to include the sun, moon, stars, and more.” She goes on to explain how the importance of each of the entities and how they support our lives here on earth is explained and taught to the children from a very young age. The Thanksgiving Address should be taught to children a little at a time, starting right when they are babies. “Babies are already listening to words and know the names of things before they can speak them. At first, 17


they only recognize the existence of such things. As they grow, they are able to understand and elaborate on the specific function of each entity in the address. As an adult, the thanksgiving address becomes their own and can be very personal and as lengthy as they wish.” (Thompson) This is how the thanksgiving address becomes integrated into the lives of the Haudenosaunee people. This is why I say that it is more than just a formality, it is a way of life. The worldview is different for many cultures. “The main cultures of the world worship a specific being, whether it be God, Jesus, or some other human being who once was. The Haudenosaunee people have a “Creator” as well, only they do not worship him any more than they do the other entities that are mentioned in the thanksgiving address.” (Thompson) The Creation Story begins in the sky world with a pregnant woman and the “creator” comes later. The Creation Story tells about how the fallen woman made the earth grow, gave birth to and raised her daughter, the birth of her grandsons whom she called Swiskera (Mischievous One) and Teharonhiawako (Holder of the Heavens). Teharonhiawako would later become the Creator. As the story goes, Teharonhiawako walks about the earth and creates all kinds of beautiful creations, and his brother Swiskera walks behind him altering his creations. One example is the rose with its thorns. The way it is looked at is balance, for all the beauty on this earth, there is also a “dark” side. The last of Teharonhiawako's creations were four beings made of different colored substances he found in the Natural World and shaped into human forms. They were colored yellow, black, white, and red. He wanted the beings to look after all he had created in the Natural World, they would need a superior mind to be able to do that. The beings could not get along with each other being so close together, so he placed them far apart on the land and instructed them each to learn to survive in their environments and eventually learn to respect each other as well as other living things, it would be after then that a messenger would go to each of them and bring them back together to coexist. (Teachings, 3-8) Kevin J. White sums it up pretty well in an article titled Reflecting on the Bounty of the Natural World- If we Look. “In contrast to Western society, among many of the world's indigenous cultures, the human is not a pinnacle 18


of creation. Rather humans are often the weakest of creation and in the need of the most aid to continue to exist within this natural world. Humans often need to be reminded to be grateful and observant of the natural world around us. In our modern rush to meet this deadline and that goal, we often forget to think about nature and all its bounty.” In the aforementioned article, White was referring to a narrative by J.N.B. Hewitt which refers to the Creator walking around checking things out. The Creator talked to a few of his creations; a deer, a bear, and a snipe, to see how they would protect their young and still aid the humans that would be coming to live here on Turtle Island. To me, this shows that we all have a responsibility to each other and to the creations, as well as them to us. We are to coexist peacefully and take care of the creations as they provide us with things necessary for our survival. If we as people would implement our own version of a thanksgiving similar to the Haudenosaunee's, we would have a greater respect for nature and the elements that aid us in survival.

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Works Cited Barnes, Barbara., ed. Traditional Teachings. Cornwall Island: North American Indian Travelling College. 1984. Print. Cornelius, Carol. Iroquois Corn in a Culture-Based Curriculum: A Framework for Respectfully Teaching About Cultures. Albany: SUNY 1999. Print. Haudenosaunee Guide for Educators. National Museum of the American Indian. n.d. Web. 25 Sept 2013. Thompson, LeAnne. Personal Interview. 13 Oct 2013. White, Kevin J. “Reflecting on the Bounty of the Natural World- if We Look”. Being Three Feathers. 9 Sept 2013. Web. 1 Oct 2013.

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Sun Through Trees – by Melissa Wilber

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The Adventures of Onatawapen - by Candy Mahkimetas

Once upon a time there was a boy named Onatawapen. He was a very young boy who had respect for his elders and community members. He did all he was told in a timely manner. One day he went to visit an elder who told Onatawapen a story about how a special plant helped with sickness. Onatawapen sat and listened intently. He was very interested in this story due to Kekiah having a sickness that he did not understand that made her hurt most of the time. After the elder was done with the story, Onatawapen thanked him, said goodbye, and walked home. As he was walking he had an idea that would take him on an adventure to try to find this plant for Kekiah. The next day Onatawapen woke up as the sun was starting to shine and decided this was the day to look for the special plant. He made a bundle filled with food to nourish him during his journey, and filled a survival bag with all different things he thought he would need during this adventure. After Onatawapen packed his bundle and bag, he went to peek on Kekiah who was still sleeping and whispered to her, “I will find this plant for you, Kekiah, so you will not have to hurt any longer.� Onatawapen did not know which direction to take so he made the decision to walk north. Along the way he saw two odd-shaped, colored stones and decided he might need them for later. He picked them up and put them in his bag. Onatawapen started to get thirsty. He came upon a creek, and he grabbed his water pouch and filled it. He decided to take a moment to quench his thirst and rest. As he sat there he noticed a lot of plants around the creek. After he drank the water, he started to look for the special plant. He went up and down the creek and was getting frustrated because he could not find it. Walking and looking for the special plant half of the day, Onatawapen came upon a nice place to set up camp. He laid his blanket on the ground and went into the woods to collect branches for a hut and wood to make a fire. He laid the firewood near his blanket and looked in his bag to find something to spark a fire. He then remembered the odd-shaped stones he picked up. He grabbed some dead grass and bundled it up and then took his stones and hit them together to make sparks. 21


By this time, the sun was starting to set. Onatawapen had his campfire going and decided to lie down on his blanket. He fell asleep. While he was asleep, he dreamed of the place to find the medicine. A young woman dressed in buckskin came to him and told him, “You will find what you are looking for by the tree at the south end of your camp. The trunk of the tree will have a symbol that resembles a man’s face. Onatawapen woke up in surprise as he remembered the woman who spoke of the special plant. The sun was starting to rise and he decided to go to the south end of the camp to see if the woman spoke the truth. He looked at every tree trunk until he came upon the tree trunk that resembled a man’s face. He looked on the ground and there he saw one single plant near the trunk. He dug the plant from the ground, wrapped it in cloth, and put it in his bag. Onatawapen was so excited to find the special plant that he did not notice he was running as fast as he could to get home to Kekiah. It did not take him long to come across the creek where he filled his water pouch. He kept thinking about giving Kekiah this special plant. Finally, after a long day, he arrived back home. The sun was starting to set as he walked into his house and saw Kekiah sitting by the fire. She was gleaming with happiness that Onatawapen was home, as she did not know where he went. Onatawapen gave Kekiah a hug and explained about looking for a special plant to help her hurt no longer. As Onatawapen cut the leaves from the plant, he had Kekiah boil a pot of water and set the leaves in the pot. Kekiah was worried for she did not know if this special plant would help. As the pot was cooling, Onatawapen explained to Kekiah about his adventure and the story the elder told him. Then Onatawapen gave the special medicine to Kekiah and asked her to drink it to help relieve her pain. The following morning Kekiah awoke Onatawapen in surprise and told him how she felt young again. Onatawapen was very grateful to the elder and the young woman dressed in buckskin for the health of Kekiah was no longer a concern, and she was hurting no more.

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Fall Trees – by Melissa Wilber

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The Wisdom Boy

- by Michael D. Guyette

The lazy sun shown down on the small Indian village. She had been in the sky almost the entire day, but she knew her job was not done until her children finished playing on the beautiful round ball beneath her that she kept so warm. Her children were young boys beginning to be hunters. Soon they would be warriors, and they played games that warriors play with make-believe weapons. As the young brave watched from afar, he wanted to join them, but the older boys just laughed at him and said, “Leave us, boy. You have no right to be here with us. You are no warrior.” He wandered away just as he was told. Blinded by anger, he ran to escape the shame for not being old enough to be a warrior. Before he knew it, he was deep into the forest, a place he usually knew well. Now he was lost in a world that he no longer knew. His feet felt the slowly dying leaves underneath as he continued to run and brush away the tree branches that slapped him in the face as if to say, “You are a long way from home, lost one.” As the night grew darker and colder, the young brave found himself farther and farther from his village and more afraid than he had ever been before. He took shelter in a huge cave where he started a small fire. After hearing all kinds of strange noises, he finally fell asleep. But, as he slept his fire went out and the boy began to shiver. He woke up and looked for a stick to restart the small fire, but he noticed that the stick was not a stick at all. It was a snake with a tail that rattled. The snake began to speak. “Are you sad and cold, little one? Because if you are, we have something in common. I feel the same way. I am a cold-blooded reptile.” The friendly snake said, “Let me lie next to you and we will both be warm.” To the boy’s surprise, the snake did just as he said he would do. The snake told the young brave, “You know, boy, I, as a snake, have a very special power. I can shed my skin and let go of all my bad feelings. You can 24


shed your skin too, and your sadness will go away. Soon you will be full of new life just like me.” This made the young brave happy. “Thank you, Snake. I feel better just knowing your powers have helped me.” The young brave was confused but listened. Soon he began to feel better. After a while the snake said, “I must leave you, but I will send you to my friend, Deer, and she will help you find your way home. Just follow the tree line.” As the boy followed the tall pines and smelled the fresh green leaves, he found Deer just as Snake said he would. He thought to himself, “What a beautiful creature, so brown and gentle!” Her big black eyes stared at him as if to say, “Welcome, young brave, How can I help you?” The young brave said, “Deer, why don’t you run away from me?” “Because you are gentle and loving just like my Deer spirit. If you see me again, use my body to feed your people and they will be nourished by my gentleness. Now I must go,” said Deer. “I will send you to my friend, Bear, to greet you. Look for the next cave and you will meet him.” Just as Deer said, Bear was waiting for him. “Hello,” Bear said, stretching his great paws with their razor-sharp claws and opening his mouth wide to show his fierce white teeth. His great brown coat reminded the boy of his bearskin blanket back in his village, the one he used to keep warm on those cold winter nights. “Even the Great Bear is afraid of your world. Here, in the animal world, we have spirits, too, and it is the animal spirits you have been talking to, my young brave. But when your people need food, I will be that food. This will help your people live in harmony and happiness and one summer day, your people will celebrate my Bear spirit.” “I thank you for using my bear spirit to help your people see my peaceful vision.” Then Bear said, “I must sleep now. The Great Spirit of snow is coming and soon this great ball we live on will become a beautiful white world. Now, I must rest, but before I sleep, I will lead you to Great 25


Eagle. She, too, is a spirit. She has strong eyesight. She will lead you to your people. She is the bringer of dreams and the deliverer of prayers and truths. Her great wing span and razor sharp talons will bring happiness and sustenance to her young offspring so they will carry on another brave’s dreams and prayers to the Great Spirit.” As the majestic raptor spread her giant wings and lifted off into the bluest sky, she looked back and said, “Follow me, young boy, and I will lead you to your village. I will leave you one of my feathers so you may send your prayers and dreams to me, any time you want me to listen.” Then she flew off towards the village. The young brave followed her. All the people in the village watched as the young brave ran down the steep and rocky hill, Great Eagle feather in is his hand. The people in the village gathered around. Everyone agreed, the boy who ran away came back as a great warrior. But the village chief and the old medicine man spoke up, “He is no hunter or fighter. He is a young man of great wisdom.” When the young soon-to-be warriors knew that he was now a Wisdom Warrior they felt sorry they treated him badly. They all ran to him and apologized. “We’re sorry for our unfriendliness. Will you please forgive us?” The young brave answered, “Of course, my brothers. You are my people. We must stick together.” They hugged the young brave and said, “Welcome home. We missed you.” Young Wisdom Boy thought to himself, we all have our faults. Soon we will be forgiven for not having the wisdom to understand and to accept our people as they are. As the young brave awoke the next morning, he knew he was not a man, but a boy of wisdom and medicine. He now knew what his purpose was - to teach the people in his village about all the different spirits and the wisdom that all the wonderful creatures knew. And, how to live in a wonderful native world. As he stood on the highest hill in the village, he heard the sound of the Great Eagle. He looked up and said thank you to all the wonderful spirits who helped him home. He walked back down the steep hill, stood at the bottom, smiled, and said “A-ho.” 26


Snake in Grass – by Melissa Wilber

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Learned Haiku - by Jes Buettner

Social constructions, Stereotype and label, Oppression unites.

Man With Hat – by Madona Wilber

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Vision - by Sandra Shackelford A toothless conscience swallows the woods. Unsatisfied, it belches and wants more, reaching out to snatch the bread of childhood from my plate. I will not share one bone from these sacred burial grounds of memory, hoarding a summer afternoon when a warrior stopped, his eyes sad instruments that cut upon my wrist an oath to love this land. Blood-sisterhood affirmed, he rode on pursued by yellow movers of the bleeding earth.

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Entering the Womb of Mother Earth - by Kathleen Waukau

A sacred sweat lodge was given to Indians for purification of the body, mind, and spirit. It is also used for healing purposes to heal sickness within the body and mind. The lodge is in a circular form in order to emphasize the roundness of Mother Earth. It is made of willow branches and is covered in blankets and canvas to prevent any air or light from coming in. When inside the sweat lodge, there is one man that holds many positions the doorman. He is the one who pours water into the sacred fire upon the Grandfather Rocks in the center. He is the one who calls on the spirits and protector’s healing and taking away the sickness and giving it to Wanka Tanka*. Wanka Tanka, I hear your voice gently whispering through the trees. I feel your cleansing breath upon me when the sacred water is poured upon the rocks. With each breath I feel your strength and your power within me. I feel my love for this powerful faith healer and my love for my father that sits here beside me. In the darkness of the sweat lodge I share my wants, needs, and my helplessness with you Wanka Tanka. The glow of the rocks in the center of the fire is like your hand reaching out to touch me, to heal me and give me the guidance I need to have for the understanding and knowledge of this Red Road you have given me to follow. The Red Road is of balance, and living right and following the rules of the Creator. This road, if followed, is a pathway to truth, peace, and harmony within your life. *Wanka Tanka = Dakota name for Great Spirit

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Puddle – by Lucille Martin

I Am Me - by Sally Hill Who are you? I am Me, Not you. I am Me‌.I am strong. I am beautiful, I am smart. I am Me, Not you. I am Caring, I am Blessed. I am Loved. I am Me, Not you. I am traditional, I am Native. I am Me, Not you. Who are you?

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Bee – by Lucille Martin

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Life’s Evolution

- by Renetta Waupoose

The snowflake twists, turns and spins to the ground Light reflects the different colored snowflake As the snowflake falls past, there is no sound The world’s noise invades my ears, I awake Reality settles and time resumes The snowflake that was once free is now trapped Dreams come to a halt, the scent of death looms Before life began it was already mapped Can an alternate route be traveled now? Is there a set of rules to be followed? Before we evolve is there a life’s vow? Is there a dream that our minds have swallowed? The snowflake represents our life at start The rest is something made up by the heart.

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Holding Hands – by Melissa Wilber 34


Outside

- by Bonnie Rolfs

My precious childhood was spent here With dancing leaves on sun-soaked trees, Outlining my world - my yard. Sharp little rocks and gravel glittering like a million broken mirrors Bare feet cure bare hearts. Soft air carries the scent of new life An oncoming spring. Fresh blades of grass, Flicker like tiny green flames. Pebbles of cool mud to wiggle my toes in, Bird nests resting in low branches, A ray of sun, A ray of hope. The world is in motion Always changing, always growing, And as it moves it makes a sound: Cars on the high-way, Swaying trees, Swirling wind; They all come together in an incessant imperfect symphony, My favorite song of all time. Outside.

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Spider – by Lucille Martin

Lantana – by Melissa Wilber 36


The Well-Groomed Lawn - by Bonnie Rolfs

An Indian paintbrush kisses the grass with red Vibrance. It is slashed at its stem by the mower blade Severance. The rolling sea of green becomes a still water Obedience. A dandelion sprouts to mirror the sun. Defiance. It suffocates and withers under the smog of store-bought poison Silence. The well-groomed lawn Ugly, Lifeless, Soulless.

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Angry Sky – by Melissa Wilber

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Feathered Glasses – by Rosemary Warrington

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Whitefish Dunes Trail – by Mary Anne Hill 40


The Never

- by Jill Martin

I dream of my destiny It circles the confines of your truth Burns through my thoughts Until I choke on the smoke of the never I dream of my destiny It dances the song of my soul Sings through my eyes Until I fall at the feet of the never I dream of my destiny It follows the path of your words Hunts through my memories Until I lose myself in the never I dream of my destiny It chases the winds of possibility Soars through my hope Until I break my wings in the never I dream of my destiny It aches the bones of my future Carves through my Marrow Until I am scarred by the never

I dream of my destiny It swims the depths of my mind Dives through your defenses Until I am drowned in the never I dream of my destiny It stirs the words in my soul Rises through your reality Until I am drifting in the never I dream of my destiny It believes the warmth of my skin Races though my veins Until I am feverish with the never I dream of my destiny It mourns the loss of nothing Cries through the echoes Until I am buried in the never I dream of my destiny It holds the world of my maybe Lies to my heart Until I give up to the never

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Vision

- by Sandra Shackelford

A toothless conscience swallows the woods. Unsatisfied, it belches and wants more, reaching out to snatch the bread of childhood from my plate. I will not share one bone from these sacred burial grounds of memory, hoarding a summer afternoon when a warrior stopped, his eyes sad instruments that cut upon my wrist an oath to love this land. Blood-sisterhood affirmed, he rode on pursued by yellow movers of the bleeding earth.

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Grandfather's Journey - by Rebecca Bork

Kneeling by his limp body, I knew it was the time but it didn’t make the pain easier to bear. I couldn’t stand to look into his dark, shallow face anymore. I could feel that the warmth of his body was still present. The wrinkled hand that lay in mine felt strong and alive. My aunt Stella and I went into the sweat lodge earlier that night to pray for Saquamo. She was a carrier of the pipe so she led us with the chanting and the pouring of water onto the pit of burning rocks that lay inches from our folded legs. This lodge was small compared to the others. Stella and I built it especially for this occasion. Bent willows supported the heavy quilts that enclosed the eight-foot circle. We crawled in on our hands and knees through the lodge’s small triangular opening that faced east. As we entered into the darkness we said, “All my relations.” I pushed myself as far up against the willow structure as possible to keep my legs from touching the blistering heat. Once we were both inside Stella pulled the covering over the entrance and handed me some sage sprigs. She spoke, “Wakan tonka yuwukon meyeh, yuwukon neyeh. Nene padahmayeh. Oh father, bless us. Bless this lodge in which we gather. We are here to ask that you have mercy on my father Saquamo. Ahoe.” Then the chanting began, “Ne ya son yah qon ne so qay. Ne ya son yon qon ye ko.” The half gourd Stella held contained water. In the darkness, all we could see was the red glow of burning rocks in front of us. Stella, sitting across from me, poured a small portion of water onto the fiery forms. I watched the steam rise as it made a rushing sound. The light was brilliant. What looked like a million falling stars appeared on the rocks’ surface. I sat in awe for a few seconds until the team came from above and landed on me like a heavy blanket. It took my breath away. I thought I had swallowed fire. Hair that once fell unnoticed around my face turned into burning hot wires. I gasped for air. “Stella, I can’t stay here!” “Hold out a little longer and pray for strength,” she replied. Sweat ran down my face like a flowing stream and I crawled inside my shirt to escape the furnace. Stella’s chants grew louder as she poured more water onto the rocks. I sang loud with her as the steam rose. Holding the sage she gave me to my nose, I breathed its vapor in. It was strong and good. I tore the crucifix I wore off my neck as it started to burn its image into my chest. My body grew numb and I became delirious. Stella threw tobacco onto the rocks and I watched the sparks fly as its thick smell wrapped around my throat. I shut my eyes and prayed. I prayed for endurance. I prayed for Grandpa. In my illusion, I knew that soon he would make his journey. Stella’s voice grew louder and she continued to pour water on the rocks. We 43


prayed and we wept. When all was done, she said a prayer of blessing with the pipe. We stayed there for three hours. Where there once was hope in Stella’s eyes, there was now an empty vacant look. ***** Now, on this cold hard floor lay Saquamo, my grandfather. I wished him the warmth of the lodge while unzipping his woolen jacket, allowing him to breathe more freely. A look of peace was on his old face as I stroked his long grey hair. Stella shook as she stood up. The floor creaked as she walked across the room to the doors. Was she leaving? Was she going to leave me alone with him? I begged, “Don’t go!” “Wait here and do as you’re told!” Stella said as she left. The doors swung open and banged shut again. There I was kneeling by his limp body all alone. Saquamo lifted his eyelids partially, “You’re young, “he said, “but I must make you to know how I came to be this way.” I was young. I was five. These dirty white walls and old rattling doors knew his secret. The rotten pine beams that hung above knew. Stella knew, and I to would soon know. In a twisted sort of irony, this place seemed appropriate for death. What once had been an old WW2 retreat for the injured and fatally wounded was now going to be the death place of my grandpa. As he told his story, I slowly drifted away from these dirty white wills that smelled of rotten pine. I was taken away from my pigtails and earmuffs. My surroundings became less vivid. I could no longer feel the cold floor where I sat and the vast darkness that crept in through the cracked doors seemed to disappear. I was taken far from these old buildings and went beyond the cold desert night that lay behind them. Grandpa’s voice was so soft and deep I got lost in it. I was now watching him. I was watching him up in the fresh mountain air. He was no longer dying on a cold bed back at the retreat. His face was smooth and beautiful without a wrinkle. He looked so young, so handsome. His legs were normal. His hair was long and black. The wind blew it gently off his shoulders as he buttoned his dark flannel shirt. I watched him as he walked inside a little old house that seemed no bigger than a bedroom. There was no running water, no lights, and no electricity. Cedar and pine trees surrounded it on all sides. Grandpa’s hidden house overlooked a small village, alone with no neighboring houses. Inside was dark except for two candles on either side of him as he sat on the floor. His face was serious; he was praying. A small wooden bowl sat in front of him. It contained sweet grass, tobacco, and sage. He took a match to it and I watched the smoke rise and float across his face. I could smell the thick odor. It was the smell of the lodge. It was the smell of prayers. It was the sweet smell of home. He said things. He did things with his hands that I didn’t understand, and then he was gone. I followed him. I followed his voice 44


deeper into the mountains. The night had come and the air chilled me now. We traveled and traveled and then we stopped. We stopped in front of a huge moss covered rock and Saquamo undressed. He spoke in a language foreign to me and then fell upon the earth. In disbelief and amazement I watched him change. I now knew what happened to his legs. I didn’t understand but I knew. I knew as I saw his body transform into that of an elk. There by the rock, Saquamo stood tall and powerful. He went and I followed his words as he ran. Saquamo the elk ran through the fresh cedars and tall pines. Through the streams and creeks, I rode upon his back. The mountain was his and he was free. It is here he learned the secret of the wolf and bear. It is here, deep in the mountains, where he learned the ways of the eagle and hawk. And it is here he learned of the horrifying reality. Womdee, the eagle, bent his wings and spoke, “Saquamo, I have seen you before. I know of your secret. I know of your medicine. It is good. That is why I tell you this. I am not the only one who knows. There are others of the forest. There is one from the shadows that knows also. He has worked evil against you. He has used his medicine in the worst way. His spirit is not his own. If you go to the rock to become human again your lower body will remain the elk. If you don’t go to the rock you will remain the elk until you die. It’s up to you, Saquamo. The spirits are with you no matter which direction you choose.” Womdee stretched his wings and was gone. A yellow hue slowly crept its way over the mountaintops as the moon disappeared. We came closer to the moss covered rock and Grandpa’s voice grew weaker. I saw the worries in his eyes as he lay beside the granite stone. He chose to change. I rode upon his words back to the old building where he now lay dying on the floor. We were once again surrounded by cold darkness. I lay in his arms and watched his eyes close. I felt his breath cease. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks onto my neck. Grandpa, Saquamo the elk, had started his journey back home. There was a moment of silence then the doors came open and there stood Stella. She had prepared the ceremony. She cleaned grandpa and hid his legs beneath her blanket. He was buried privately. Now, when I look to the mountains and see the moon I smile. Saquamo is there drinking of the streams that give him strength, and breathing of the fresh crisp air that gives him life.

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Footprints in Sand - by Melissa Wilber

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Feather Chronicles Fall 2013  

Feather Chronicles Fall 2013, College of Menominee Nation's literary magazine of short stories, poems, photos, and other creative work.

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