A collection of creative works by students and staff of the College of Menominee Nation. Published by the College of Menominee Nation - 2012
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. Vol. II, Issue 1 December 2012 ISBN: 978-1480262713 Cover Design by Sadie White. Logo by Michael Gomeyosh. The Scott Zager Venture Fund makes possible production of Feather Chronicles in hardcopy. Feather Chronicles selections also appear online at the College web site, menominee.edu.
Contents Foreword - Dr. Verna Fowler..............................................................................1 Wapemen - Leslie Teller......................................................................................3 The Steps of St. Michael - Justin Gauthier.......................................................5 Yoga Opens the Space - Mary Anne Hill.....................................................8-9 I Dance - D. Kakkak............................................................................................10 Healing Dance - Guy Reiter..............................................................................11 Trees in Ice - Melissa Wilber............................................................................14 For the Love of Fry Bread: A Coyote Story..................................................15 Feathers on Wheel - Michael Gomeyosh......................................................41 The Snow Sentinels - Mary Anne Hill.................................................... 42-43 Seeds of a Journey - Mark Berendsen.............................................................45 Trial Day - Mani Boyd........................................................................................47 Wolf Cubs - Sadie White.................................................................................. 50 Sled Dogs - Joel Kroenke...................................................................................51 Residue of Genocide - Jill A. Martin............................................................. 53 Courageous Youth - Portia Koebach............................................................. 56 Boys Will Be Boys - Dan Hawk........................................................................57 Mother Says - Barbara Johnson.......................................................................59 Their Flickering Campfires Burn - Harlan Pygman...................................61 Respect - Melissa Wilber.................................................................................. 65 Shannon - Sadie White..................................................................................... 66 Dosage - Ryan Winn...........................................................................................67 Thailand Market - Elyssa Hawk...................................................................... 69 Yellow Rash - Purple Spots - D. Kakkak....................................................... 72 Pamatesēw - Racquel Boyd.............................................................................. 73 She Took the Sun with Her - Delores Grignon........................................... 77
Foreword - Dr. Verna Fowler Greetings from the College of Menominee Nation Dear Reader, This edition of Feather Chronicles is published in observance of the 20th Anniversary of the College of Menominee Nation. Our first class of students enrolled in Spring Semester 1993. Beginning then and every semester since, we have been building a College that is rich in creative talent. In many ways each year, our students, faculty and staff, and friends of the College generously express their thoughts and insights on American Indian and other cultures. Their work in the visual and theater arts, and through music, poetry and prose, makes our College a more lively, spiritual and satisfying place for all. Feather Chronicles is one of our most enduring channels for sharing creative writing and art of the College. In recent years, Dr. Dennis Vickers, professor of humanities at CMN and himself a published author of fiction, has shepherded the online and print editions. New work by his colleagues in the CMN Humanities program, students from various majors, and others from the Keshena and Green Bay/Oneida campuses has been chosen for this book. Some of the best creative work from earlier publications is also included. I commend the anniversary edition to you and invite you to learn more about the College of Menominee Nation with a personal visit or through an online visit to menominee.edu. Sincerely, S. Verna Fowler, Ph.D. President December, 2012
Wapemen - Leslie Teller Long ago, there lived a young man named Maenapus. (Maenapus is pronounced: first syllable like man, second syllable like the e in we, final syllable like us in bus.) He made a promise to go without food and to offer his hunger for a powerful dream. Maenapus walked alone into the deep dark woodland forest far away from the fire of his family. After some time and many hours of walking he came to a quiet place by the water. He rested in a small wigwam-wekiam. In his thoughts he prayed for a dream to help his people. He did not eat but asked that his hunger be a gift for those that may hear his prayers. Many days passed and still the young man did not eat. He did not have breakfast. He did not eat supper. He was very hungry but still did not eat. The animals came close by. Squirrel-onawanik rattled acorns. A deer-apaehsos jumped out from nearby trees. Maenapus watched a porcupine-ketaemiw waddle past his lodge door. He called to his relatives, “Why must we hunt you?” On the next day of his hunger he wandered to the stream. Maenapus heard the splash of fish jumping and diving. He saw many perch swimming in the water. Maenapus called to his relatives and said, “Why must we catch you?” On the fourth day of his hunger Maenapus lay sleeping. He awoke to see a shadow tall in the doorway. Yellow strings were woven through the dark braids of the visitor. Four great green feathers fanned out from his head. He spoke to Maenapus, “You have good questions. You want to learn. Get up. I will teach you a game.” Maenapus was weak from hunger, but the sound of the strange man’s voice gave him courage. Maenapus sat up and crawled out of the small lodge. The two men sat back to back. The spirit directed Maenapus to push with his shoulder muscles against him — no hands or feet just back to back. The great feathered man was strong, but in dream time Maenapus began to find the will to hold his ground. The next day Maenapus was told to stand and balance on one foot and the great feathered man did the same. “Now,” the spirit said, “use your arms and push me over if you can.” Maenapus was pushed over many times, but he soon learned the game to push fast and stay balanced. 3
On the third day the great feathered man told Maenapus to use his best arm to grapple the spirit in an arm wrestling hold. They went back and forth — sometimes he nearly won and yet the great feathered man pulled him back to the center line in a draw. The more Maenapus struggled the stronger he became. On the fourth day the dream-spirit said, “You are now fast on your feet. Your body is fit and strong. We will wrestle once more. Today you will defeat me and your hunger will be over. Take my body and bury me where the rain will find me and the sun will warm me. Put me in the earth and cover me with black dirt. See that no weeds or worms disturb me. Watch over me. In time, I will wake and leap into the sunshine.” Maenapus did as he was told and watched over the grave as he promised. Day by day he watched it. Until one morning he found a small green leaf sprout upward, then another and another. Maenapus shouted, “It is the great feathered man of my dreams!” Before summer ended the green stalks filled the clearing. Maenapus and his people gathered the ripened ears and called for a great feast — just as we do today when the green corn comes at summer time. Anthropologists believe maize was first harvested in South America and later traveled north to the people of ancient times. Many Native tribes of North America have stories of how they acquired the corn pollen. The Hopi people tell of a time of prolonged famine when two children, brother and sister, were guided by a magic hummingbird to discover the means to grow and harvest corn. The Menominee people, too, have a story as related here in the tale of Wapemen - the Menominee word for corn. The tale is a part of a picture story book written for the literacy initiative, Sacred Little Ones. An illustrated version of “Wapemen” and many other stories are included in CMN’s Education program resource library. Leslie is the Instructional Support Coordinator at CMN.
The Steps of St. Michael - Justin Gauthier There were lots of stories about my dad. Fantastic stories that tied him to the famous and infamous, stories that placed him squarely in the path of destiny. There was the one where he stole Billie Frechette from John Dillinger. Then there’s one where he drank three of the four Marx brothers under the table and then sat up all night drinking and talking with Harpo Marx. There’s even a story that my dad once punched a man so hard that his arm turned into a lightning bolt. What bullshit. Truth was that my dad was a homebody. He enjoyed reading the Bible, listening to the radio for songs to dance with my mom to, and every Sunday, without fail, he would walk two miles to church for services. He seemed too steady to do any of those crazy things attributed to him. The only impetuous thing I ever saw him do was protest the sale of tribal lands outside our tribal enterprises office. Shortly after his death, I asked my mom if any of the stories were true. She smiled. “Your dad was the most romantic man I’ve ever known,” she said. A year after dad’s passing, the ghost supper was held at my uncle Si’s house. Uncle Si is old, older than most people think. He asked to talk outside. Tapping out a Camel no-filter, he offered me one. I declined, “What’s going on uncle?” “Walk with me to my truck.” The white ’61 Ford F-150 was now ten years old. ‘Whitey Ford’ as it came to be known, was a legendary rez vehicle. The sweet smell of the fresh-cut load of wood made me remember the hundreds of trees I helped to fell and section. He reached into the truck box. The old, dented Thermos he produced seemed familiar. “No thanks, Uncle, I’m kind of coffeed out,” “This isn’t coffee. This is your father. He was cremated. Only a few of us know. Most of the family thinks he’s buried, but the coffin was full of pictures and things. He wanted you to spread his ashes, said he had things to take care of here before crossing.” I hesitated to take the Thermos, memories flooded my mind, of all the times my dad had helped me, the times I’d failed to help him. I took the old Thermos, recognizing it as having sat in our woodshed forever.
I asked Si for a cigarette, taking two, one to smoke, one to pray with. Uncle Jim joined us outside. He travelled from Chicago to attend the supper. He gave the Thermos a knowing look. “Your dad was a good, strong man,” he said. The Thermos felt heavier after his words. Considering the times my father helped me made me feel petty for hesitating to take him. The silence left was suddenly broken by Johnny Gun, a reservation-born University of Milwaukee student who had been working with Uncle Jim and many others in efforts to stop the sale of tribal lands to developers and outsiders. “Jim, I need to talk with you about tomorrow,” Johnny said. Jim introduced us and Johnny greeted us each with a handshake and a nod. They settled into conversation, adopting quiet, ceremonial voices, sharing barely audible prayers that spoke of termination and restoration, prayers a sane, devout man like my father would never want God to hear aloud on account of their improbability. The Menominee march to Madison left the steps of St. Michael’s church early October, 2 1971. The twelve-day trek meant to reestablish tribal members’ stewardship of our land. Twenty or so regulars were joined by socially conscious marchers along the way. I carried my father along, supposing he would love to be a part of this. The march was covered by state and national media, depicting us as crusaders against impossible odds, vilifying us as anti-American. Madison hummed with energy as we marched, unified, to the Capitol. National Guardsmen formed a human barricade in front of the steps. Johnny Gun, Glen Miller and John Waubanascum sang a dissenting song, soaring loudly over the thunder of the drum. “BIA, I’m not your Indian anymore…” rang loudly through the courtyard. The yelling crowd surged against the guardsmen, seemingly embedded in the ground. The Thermos in my right hand vibrated with energy. A vision of ashes on the Capitol steps flashed in my mind, my father nudging me from the other side. Trying to break through, the young guardsman pushed me back. “Stay back!” I bumped into a woman, Ann Dunham, who marched with us the last few days. Glaring at the guardsman, she sheltered her young son. “Leonard, are you okay?” she asked. 6
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said. “Are you trying to get arrested?” “No, I’m trying to get my father’s ashes to the steps,” I said, showing her the Thermos. Her young son blinked, looking to his mom. “Mom, is someone in there?” he asked. “Yes, Leonard brought his father’s ashes to rest on the steps.” Chaos surrounded us as Ann knelt down to his level, whispering to him, he nodded. “Give the Thermos to my son, he’ll get it there,” she said. Hesitant, I handed the Thermos to him. Ann yelled in the face of the guardsman as her son snuck under his outstretched arms. The crowd quieted, watching the young, brown boy stride up the steps and uncap the Thermos. Dumping out the ashes, they swirled into the air. The crowd gasped as the ashes took the shape of a great bird and floated for a few seconds; thunder rumbled as it disappeared. A Guardsman carried the boy back to the crowd. He was quickly reunited with his mother, being passed from aunts to grandmothers, from uncles to fathers, he and the empty Thermos. After embracing his mother, he handed the Thermos back. “Thank you.” I looked to Ann for help. “You can call him Barack,” she said. Justin is a 2011 CMN graduate. He currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison and works as an intern/writer at Wisconsin Fast Plants.
Yoga Opens the Space - Mary Anne Hill
Yoga Opens the Space - Mary Anne Hill Find your breath, Follow it on the journey To your own heart, Steady your mind, And surrender. In the space are the miracles, Find the quiet, Find the space, Let go of the irritations, Find love, compassion, honesty, respect. The outcome is not in mastering poses, Not in ego-driven comparison to others, But in integrating peace into our lives. In the space is the miracle. The miracle is you. Mary is a writing tutor at CMNâ€™s Green Bay/Oneida campus.
I Dance - D. Kakkak A professional photographer, Dale works at the College of Menominee Nation. 10
Healing Dance - Guy Reiter One of the most important days in my life was dancing at my first powwow in my late uncle’s regalia. I awoke at 8:00 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2006, feeling anxious. I had received the regalia a month earlier and this would be the day that I would dance in it. It was a cold but sunny day, the window frosted, and the snow on the ground like a warm blanket covering Mother Earth. I knew I would have to relive memories of my uncle and his passing on and what he meant to me. I picked out a pair of pants and a shirt, not caring too much about what they looked like. My mind was on other things. I went downstairs to the kitchen. The house had a morning chill and the floor was cold underneath my bare feet. The early morning sunshine, shining through the forest and into the kitchen window, gave me a sense of pride and a feeling of being loved. I went to the refrigerator to take an apple out to eat for breakfast. I couldn’t eat too much because of the task that lay ahead of me. I sat down on the kitchen chair and put on my socks and shoes. I headed back up to my room to grab my coat and my uncle’s regalia. Heading back downstairs, I remembered one of the last things he told me: “Someday you will have to teach your nephews and nieces what I taught you.” I grabbed my keys from the kitchen table and went outside to warm up my truck. That first step outside into the cold was startling and immediately woke me up. I looked at the forest and pictured my uncle and me in the woods walking and talking about all the things he taught me about survival. The truck handle was bitterly cold, and I struggled to open the door. The windows were frosted and the seats were cold and lifeless. I felt proud of my truck when it started on the first try. It seemed that my truck understood the significance of the day. This instilled confidence in me and reaffirmed to me that this day was going to be a special one. I went back into my house to grab a few things and then headed out towards the sobriety powwow in Oneida. When I pulled out of my driveway and onto the road, my anxiety diminished. I put a Smokeytown CD in and started to jam out. For awhile I forgot the feelings and importance of the day as I headed off the reservation and into Shawano County. I saw the reservation in my rear-view mirror, 11
and thought about how beautiful and strong it looked on this cold winter day. I began to think of my uncle and all he used to say about our reservation, and what it meant to him. I now saw the beauty, and understood what he had seen. The reservation filled up my little mirror and restored pride in me for what my land and the Menominee traditional lifestyle meant to me. Finally I entered Oneida, and the nervousness came back as I got closer to my destination. When pulling into the Turtle School, where the powwow was taking place, I saw all the cars and people and this added to my already anxious stomach. I parked and got out into the cold day. I grabbed my uncle’s regalia and headed for the warmth inside the school. Upon walking into the school, I saw a lot of people and I felt proud. There were drums and dancers all ready for the grand entry. I reluctantly walked into the locker room and placed my uncle’s regalia on the bench and sat down beside it. I had a million thoughts going through my mind. I tried to focus, but my sorrow was overwhelming. I tried to think of all the good times my uncle and I had had and all the things he had taught me. I fought the tears from rolling down my face. My shame of crying in front of other men kept my face dry. When I had the regalia out, I looked at it and thought about the last time I’d seen him in it. I saw all the colors and the intricate bead work and the yarn that looked like grass. I saw some leftover foliage still clinging from the last time he’d worn it. All the blues and yellows and reds reminded me of him. As I put on the regalia, I felt a warm sensation come over my body. I knew it was my uncle’s loving touch, so I began to relax. As I headed to the door, I saw my reflection in a mirror. I looked at myself in my uncle’s regalia and my eyes swelled with tears. I saw him standing there looking at me. This reflection was hard to look at; it reminded me of a lot of painful memories. I started to reflect on where I had been and all the obstacles I had overcome to get to this moment. Staring at myself in my uncle’s regalia about to dance at a sobriety powwow is a memory forever etched into my mind. I pulled myself together and headed out the door. I saw all the other dancers and people and thought how beautiful they all were. I tried to focus on what I was about to do. I walked over to where all the other dancers were and got in line. A million thoughts went through my head, mostly happy 12
ones. The MC yelled out for everyone to stand and remove their hats because we were about to begin. I felt like running back into the locker room to hide, but my uncle’s spirit kept me there. He was with me now, we were together again. The host drum started its song and I realized it was an honor song. This made it hard for me to not bust down and cry my eyes out. The dancers started to move and I felt like I belonged there. We all made our way into the gymnasium where I focused on the ground. My thoughts were heavy, and I tried to keep it together. I really didn’t know the steps and stumbled a little, but I continued to move. When I got into the gym, I felt everyone’s eyes on me and I got nervous again, but something happened to me. I felt my feet get into a rhythm with the song and the other dancers. I knew my uncle was helping me, showing me. I focused on the song; I felt the song and got in sync with it. The song picked up a bit and I was in rhythm with it; my uncle and I were dancing together. I felt immense pride. I no longer felt sad. I started to lose myself in the song. I became more confident. I started to pick my head up and look around. I saw all these beautiful colors dancing in sync with one another. My uncle started to leave me and I was dancing by myself. I felt him leave my body. I was dancing beside all these other people and we shared the same spirit. We all became one, a strong spirit, and moved together. I looked around at the dancers, and I saw my uncle; he was dancing with us. I felt at peace. As my uncle left, I felt good about it. He had helped me; he’d come back and helped me to heal. For just one song, my uncle and I were together again and he helped me to dance a healing dance. I thank my uncle for everything he has done for me and continues to do for me every day. Guy is a former CMN student. “Healing Dance” was originally published in the 2009 Student Edition of the Tribal College Journal, having placed in the top entries in the magazine’s student writing contest.
Trees in Ice - Melissa Wilber Melissa is a CMN student in the Liberal Studies program.
For the Love of Fry Bread: A Coyote Story A romantic comedy about a CMN bus that breaks down on the way to The Gathering of Nations Powwow. Written by: Dezhoni Anton, Burton Arthur, Kristen Barnum, Nicole Detour, Jayleah Fontaine, Renita Freeman, Kesekokiw Kenew Grignon, Maria Pecore, Neset Skenandore, Alyssa Werner, and Sunshine Wheelock. Edited by: Ryan Winn Formatted for Feather Chronicles by: Marlow Dorner Characters Dr. Stuart: CMN instructor Ester: Traditional Oneida Elder. Max’s foster parent LL Sam: CMN student who’s lucky Betty Eagle Toe: Menominee. CMN student Maximus: 13-year-old who thinks he’s a dinosaur Susan Andrea Skenandore: Convenience store clerk George Grignon: Menominee Fry Bread Prince Drew: Non-Native CMN student. Speaks in song lyrics One Eyed John: Desert Storm veteran. Andrea’s brother Dip Hickman: Middle-aged mechanic Setting One Stop convenience store and casino in New Mexico. Sound of driving can be heard in the blackout. Styx’s song “Welcome to the Grand Illusion” is playing on the radio. Some characters are singing along. Narrator: Once there was a bus that tried to ride on Coyote’s back all the way to the biggest powwow on earth. (There’s a loud crash and tires skidding to a stop. Music cuts out.) Dr. Stuart: What the heck was that? Ester: Oh my God! Are you trying to make me go into cardiac arrest? Dr. Stuart: It came out of nowhere! I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t swerve… LL Sam: I told you to take a left off the highway, but no, you just had to trust your crinkled outdated old map over a sparkling new road sign. Betty: What came out of nowhere? 15
Dr. Stuart: I have no idea. It ran in front of me, and I hit it. Narrator: Once there was a wounded Coyote whose memory was long when his belly was empty. Betty: Well, where the heck are we? LL Sam: Right outside a gas station! Lady Luck loves me! Max: Maybe you hit a Dromaeosaurus!!! Betty: Seriously, enough with the dinosaurs! Max: We must never, ever forget them. Roarrrrr! George: It was probably just a coyote. I’m going back to sleep. Dr. Stuart: Yes, a coyote. Don’t worry; we’ll just pull into the gas station and sort this out. Ester: Was it a coyote or “The Coyote”? Narrator: A trickster will keep his promises, but he cannot be trusted to fulfill them. (Lights up on Dr. Stuart as he enters the empty gas station.) Dr. Stuart: (Rings the bell for service) Help please! Help! I need some help! (Andrea enters.) Andrea: What’s all the commotion about? Dr. Stuart: I hit a coyote or something with my bus, and I need someone to fix it. (Rings the bell one more time) Sorry about that last one. Andrea: You hit a coyote? That’s bad medicine. (Puts a pouch of Tobacco on the counter) Here, you’re going to need this. Dr. Stuart: Tobacco? No thanks, I don’t smoke. I need something like a pouch with a GPS in it. (Ester and Max enter. Ester is shuffling along with a cane in one hand and an absurdly large purse in the other. Max looks uncomfortable and nervous, rubbing his arms.) Max: What’s going on, guys? What about the dinosaur we hit? (Ester sits down at a small table.)
Ester: Calm down, Maximus, calm down. I’ll get to the bottom of this! (Looks at Andrea and Dr. Stuart) Did we hit a coyote or “The Coyote”? Dr. Stuart: Ester, Max, please, I’m trying to fix this. (Turns to Andrea) Miss, no one was in the mechanic’s shop next door. Is there any chance you could call someone in who can fix our bus? Andrea: No problem. The shop is owned by Dip Hickman, and he’s the best mechanic in town. He does have a little bit of trouble getting to work on time, but I’ll call him up and have him here in no time. Help yourself to the casino while you wait. Dr. Stuart: I’m fine. I just need to make a phone call. Is there a phone I can use? Ever since the crash I can’t get a signal on my cell. (Andrea shows him the payphone and she uses her desk phone to call a mechanic.) Narrator: Once there was a wounded Coyote who made it difficult for people to communicate. Max: This must be a sign that we aren’t supposed to go to Albuquerque. Does this mean that we can go home? Ester: Don’t worry, Maximus. I think I know what’s going on here. Andrea: So why are you guys heading to Albuquerque? Ester: We’re going to The Gathering of Nations Powwow. I’ve been going the past twenty-nine years, and I would like Maximus to finally experience his culture. Have you ever been? Andrea: Sure, it’s the largest powwow on earth. I went once a long time ago. Max: And you hated it, and so we shouldn’t go either. Andrea: I had a good time, but there was one guy who I cringe about whenever I think of him. Narrator: Once there was a woman who made a feast for a man who didn’t appreciate it. (The lights dim on the gas station, and up on a mobile booth at The Gathering of Nations Powwow. Andrea is selling her fry bread at the booth. George enters and crosses over to her.) Andrea: Fry bread for sale. The best you’ve ever tasted. Fry bread for sale. 17
George: (To himself) Okay, George, don’t blow this. Just say hi and that you love her fry bread. How hard can it be? Andrea: Well, hello. Are you here to try the best fry bread at the powwow? George: I am the Fry Bread Prince. I’m the only son of the Fry Bread King. You know, the man who has won the fry bread contest at this powwow every year for the past decade? Andrea: Well tell your old man that this year he’s going to come in second. George: Really? We’ll see about that. Andrea: Well no one has ever said anything other than that my fry bread is unforgettable! They like it so much I always get asked for my phone number by my customers! I just know I’m going to open up my own bakery soon! People are obviously eager to get more. Just look at all of these men’s business cards. George: Alright, I’ll try a piece. Andrea: Here you are, my prince. George: Ugh, how is this possible?!? I don’t know the word…. Andrea: See I told you it’s the best! George: …for how terrible this is! Wow, I can’t believe how many people lied to you. Andrea: Excuse me?!?! George: Let me spell it out for you. Those guys wanted your number so badly they choked down the worst fry bread that I’ve ever tasted! Andrea: I don’t believe you. You’re terrible! George: I don’t intend to be mean, but I want our relationship to be based on honesty. Andrea: Our relationship? What are you talking about? George: I am just saying that I can overlook the fact that you can’t cook, but I want us to be honest about everything. So if I could just get your phone number, then I’ll call you when you calm down. Andrea: Just leave! 18
George: Okay, you’re mad. How about if I just leave my card with you? My number is on it, and so you can call whenever you’re ready to talk. Andrea: Unbelievable. (Andrea walks off with mobile cart.) George: I wonder if she’ll call. (After a beat, George walks off too.) (Andrea goes back behind the counter of the gas station; lights up on the full stage.) Andrea: It’s ancient history now. So are you two dancers? Ester: I used to be. But now I just go to sell my beadwork. My grandson, Maximus, is going to help me this year. He isn’t looking forward to going, but I think he will enjoy himself once he gets there. I even made him a special ribbon shirt for the event. Max: I’m a dinosaur. I don’t need to go anywhere or wear anything special… (He turns away from Ester.) Dr. Stuart: (On the phone) I told you twice already! We don’t know what we hit! One moment we were jamming out to STYX, the next we hit a bump and our hood was smoking like a chimney. Let me tell you, the smell is disgusting… Max: Don’t worry everybody. We’ll be fine. My Dino sense says so. (Drew, Betty, and LL Sam walk into the gas station. Drew slowly turns her head looking around at the knick knacks and native things on the wall in the gas station. Betty is chomping on a piece of gum and texting on her phone. LL Sam follows.) Drew: ♪♫♪ Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t it make my collection complete?♪♫♪ Betty: What? It’s a normal gas station in the middle of freakin’ New Mexico. What’s so neat about it? Drew: ♪♫♪♫They’ve got gadgets and gismos a-plenty, They’ve got whozits and what-zits galore! You want thing-a-mo-bobs? They’ve got twenty! But who cares? No big deal, I want more.♪♫♪
(Drew continues humming while she is looking through the store at every single object very excited by what she is finding.) Betty: Drew, will you quit with that stupid singing already? LL Sam: If you ask me, her singing is like some sort of disorder. Ester: I agree. Drew have you ever been tested for Tourette syndrome? Betty: To be clear — no one asked either of you. Ester: Betty, when I was your age we respected our elders. If you listened half as much as you typed on that pager of yours, you might learn a thing from those of us who have been around for awhile. Betty: This is coming from a woman who allows her thirteen-year-old grandson to act like a seven year old! Max: Don’t talk to my Dodo that way! Roar! Drew: But there are key chains and feathers, blankets and shoes, everything is so… NATIVE! This is amazing.... ♪♫♪♫ but I still, haven’t found, what I’m looking for.♪♫♪♫ (Drew continues looking through the native things.) Dr. Stuart: (Hangs up phone and heads outside) I’ll be outside waiting for the mechanic. Betty: Dang it! I can’t get any reception in this place. I’m going to go sit outside too. Then again, anything has to be better than hanging with Barney and the gang. (Betty walks through the door directly into One Eyed John.) One Eyed John: Well, hello there beautiful. What’s your big hurry? Betty: (Nervous) Um, me, well…I was just going out to try to get a signal on my phone. One Eyed John: Consider it a sign from the Creator. You keep your nose in that thing, and you’ll miss what’s going on in the world around you. LL Sam: So, did you have your nose in your phone when you lost your eye? Betty: (Smacks LL Sam) Shut up… LL Sam: Ouch! 20
Max: Dodo, that man looks like Billy Jack. But, you know, with an eye patch. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Blinded by the light. Reved up like a deuce, another roller in the night. Blinded by the light.♪♫♪♫ Andrea: (Points to One Eyed John) This is my brother, One Eyed John. He lost his eye in Iraq, and now he uses his disability check to drift in and out of my life as he pleases. One Eyed John: How’s it going, Sis? I’m hitching to Gathering of Nations. You want to come? Andrea: Sorry, Bro. But some of us have to focus on the important things in life. You know, like a job. One Eyed John: Come on, the last time you met somebody special. Who knows? Maybe this time you will find a guy who can take care of you. Narrator: Once there was a girl who fell in love with a man who couldn’t lie to her. (The lights dim on the gas station, and up on a mobile booth at The Gathering of Nations Powwow. Andrea packing up her fry bread booth as George enters and crosses over to her.) Andrea: (To herself) I can’t believe that I actually thought my fry bread was any good! I can’t cook. Who am I kidding? I have no business being here. I don’t know anything about being an Indian, and I don’t belong here. George: Hey. Andrea: (Jumps) Holy Mother of God, you scared me! Geeze, how long have you been standing there, creepster? George: Not that long. I was just stopping by to say that I was sorry, and that maybe you should just try a different recipe. I mean, your fry bread was absolutely terrible, but maybe I could help you out a bit. Andrea: You have some nerve, don’t you? You came all the way back here just to insult me some more. Seriously, you have five seconds to get away from my booth before I smash this bowl on the side of your head. George: Wait, let me explain. Andrea: One… 21
George: Did you use a family recipe? Andrea: I don’t have one. Everyone but my brother is dead, and he’s off fighting in a war. Two… George: What about extended family? What tribe are you? Andrea: Didn’t you hear me? I don’t have any family left. I’m Wisconsin Oneida, but I didn’t grow up there. Three… George: Wisconsin? Really? I’m Menominee. I must know a hundred Oneidas in Wisconsin alone. Andrea: So what? Four… George: (Cowers to brace for blow) So if you don’t hit me, I’ll teach you an Oneida Fry Bread recipe. Andrea: (Lowers bowl) You will? George: What? Oh, sure. It’s a good recipe too. It’s not my Dad’s recipe, but I bet it’ll place you in the top five easily. Andrea: Alright, I’m listening. Show me what you got. George: Okay. First, for the love of the world’s taste buds, throw all that stuff you call dough away. Andrea: (Andrea throws the dough in trash) Okay, now what? George: First you mix up all the ingredients. (George gets behind Andrea and wraps his arms around hers, and shows her how to mix the dough right and throws some sugar and salt into the mix.) Andrea: This better not be some trick to put your arms around me. I’ve had enough guys trying to do that this weekend. George: It’s not a trick. Focus on the dough here. Andrea: I am, I am. (Pause) So is this what you do? Insult women at powwows and then teach them how to cook? George: (Let’s Andrea work the dough on her own) Nope. This is a first for me. Andrea: Liar! George: I mean it. I barely talk to females. The only reason I built up enough courage to even come up to you was because I knew I could just talk about fry bread. 22
Andrea: (Rolling her eyes) Yeah, right. A handsome guy like you, you probably have girls waiting in line. George: Okay, add a little more water. Andrea: (Adds water) So who taught you how to make “Oneida fry bread”? George: My Dad taught me a hundred recipes, and his Mom taught him. Who taught you? Well, you shouldn’t have listened to whoever it was. Did you even taste your bread? Andrea: To answer your question, I taught myself, thank you. I found the recipe in a magazine. It was a low calorie recipe for diabetics. Yes, I tasted it, but I thought all fry bread tasted like that. George: (Shaking his head) A low calorie fry bread recipe? Could there even be such a thing? It’s a good thing you ran into me, because no fry bread should taste like that stuff you tried to serve me. Andrea : Dang! Give me a break. I did get some pretty good business. George: Look, I have to run, but it looks like you got it. Will I see you at the 49? Andrea: Count on it. (Andrea goes back behind the counter of the gas station. George exits stage; lights up on the full stage.) Andrea: That was a long time ago. Besides, it’s not like you should be one to talk. You don’t seem to be settling down anytime soon. One Eyed John: (To Betty) Well, maybe I would if I found the right girl. Betty: You can hitch a ride to Gathering of Nations with us once our bus is fixed. Drew:
♪♫♪♫ Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride.♪♫♪♫
One Eyed John: That’d be absolutely awesome. LL Sam: Drew, I’m not sure if anyone ever said this to you before, but you’re kind of a freak. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ She’s a super freak, super freak. She’s super-freaky, yow♪♫♪♫ (Dip Hickman enters with his toolbox. Dr. Stuart follows him in.) 23
Dip: What seems to be the big freakin’ emergency? Andrea: Their bus broke down, and… Dr. Stuart: Like I said outside, I’m Dr. Stuart, and our bus is broken down. I know that you have not had a chance to look at it, but can you please fix it as soon as possible? Dip: I can fix anything, or I ain’t Dip Hickman! Now sit back and watch a master at work! Dr. Stuart: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Dip: You can thank me by paying cash money, son. None of that phony plastic stuff, you hear me? (Dip leaves out the front door to examine the bus.) Andrea: Dip doesn’t take credit or debit cards. He thinks they’re the devil’s work. Dr. Stuart: What? But we aren’t carrying enough cash to pay for the repairs. That’s ludicrous. LL Sam: Don’t worry about it, Teacher-Man. I see the lights of a gas station casino. Give me ten minutes, and we’ll be loaded. (LL Sam exits for the casino.) Andrea: We have an ATM. Betty: Don’t bother; it’s pointless to try to stop that fool once he sees a slot machine. Max: Where’s George? Ester: Oh, I’d imagine that he’s still sleeping on the bus. That young man needs to wake up once in a while. One Eyed John: George? Hey Andrea, wasn’t that the name of that guy you were always talking about? Andrea: It was, but that was a long time ago. Do you really think that the George sleeping on the bus is the same guy? Are you still taking your PTSD meds? One Eyed John: (To Betty) She’s just kidding about the meds. Betty: It’s cool. I don’t trust any Vets who aren’t on meds.
Ester: Wait a minute now. What’s the full name of the George fellow you met at Gathering of Nations? Andrea: I don’t remember. One Eyed John: Lying is bad for your spirit. Max: I never lie. Dinosaurs don’t know how. Ester: Was it George Grignon? Andrea: What did you say? (Disoriented) Um, I need to get something from the back. Betty: Wait a minute, she’s hiding something. Drew:
♪♫♪♫ Tell me more, tell me more, was it love at first sight? ♪♫♪♫
Betty: (Grabs Andrea’s arm) Spill it. We want details. Drew:
Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh.
Narrator: Once there was a boy who taught a girl how to feed nations. (The lights dim on the gas station, and up on the 49 at The Gathering of Nations Powwow. George is onstage talking to himself. Andrea walks onstage, but George doesn’t see her.) George: (To himself) Okay, George. You can do this. You helped her make fry bread, and she actually took second place in the contest. You’re the man. You’re her hero. Just be cool. Andrea: Hey. George: (Jumps) Holy Mother of God, you scared me! Geeze, how long have you been standing there? Andrea: Only about a minute or so. What was that part about you being my hero? George: Oh that? That was nothing… Andrea: Un-huh, do you talk to yourself like that often? George: What? Um, no. I was just, singing a song that you probably never heard. No big deal. Anyway, congrats on taking second place in the fry bread contest. Andrea: Thank you, but if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have placed at all. What you did really means a lot to me. 25
George: Well, it was my pleasure. Andrea: Good, but tell your Dad that he better enjoy being the best while it lasts. If I took second with fry bread that I only made once before, then by this time next year I will be unbeatable. George: You’re being a little cocky for someone who just yesterday had the worst fry bread at this powwow. Andrea: Maybe a little bit, but now I have the second-best fry bread and the potential to win it all. George: Is that so? Well, it looks like you’ll be getting business cards for legitimate reasons now. Andrea: I only kept one of them. (She pulls out one business card and shows it to him.) George: What do I win? Andrea: For now, just a dance. George: What about later? Andrea: That depends upon how well you dance. (They dance) One Eyed John: Okay, that’s enough of a trip down memory lane. That’s my little sister we’re talking about. (Andrea goes back behind the counter of the gas station. George exits stage; lights up on the full stage.) Betty: There is no way the George on the bus was ever that cool. I mean, he does talk to himself a lot, but he doesn’t know how to flirt and he sure as heck cannot dance. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ I can’t dance. I can’t talk. The only thing about me is the way I walk. ♪♫♪♫ Andrea: Well, my George couldn’t dance either, but he sure could do other things. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ And when I get that feeling, I want sexual healing. ♪♫♪♫ One Eyed John: Susan Andrea Skenandore, and if I hear one more word about my little sister doing the Super Bowl shuffle I’m going to have to put my extensive military training to use. 26
Max: Did you know that a T-Rex could rip through a tank with its jaws? Andrea: I’m thirty-two-years old, John. Get over it. Betty: I think it’s kind of sweet. Ester: Susan Andrea Skenandore? Is that your full name? Andrea: What? Ester: Is Susan Andrea Skenandore your full name? Andrea: Yes, but everyone calls me Andrea. Why? Ester: It looks like Coyote kept his end of the bargain. (Dip Hickman and Dr. Stuart come thru the front door.) Dip: Whooo-ee, it sure is hot out there. Betty: Did you fix our bus? Dr. Stuart: Can you believe that he hasn’t even started yet? Dip: I done told you, son. I had to get my garage door open, and then I had to tow your vehicle inside. Now, you don’t expect me to fix anything without air conditioning, do you? I didn’t think so. Dr. Stuart: Can I buy a soda? (Puts money on the counter) Dip: Make it two, Andrea. His treat. (Dip grabs a second soda and walks out of the store.) Dr. Stuart: He’s the best in town? Seriously? Andrea: He sure is, but then again he’s the only mechanic in town. Dr. Stuart: This is great. Just great. (Dr. Stuart exits the store) Betty: So back to George. Didn’t he used to be called the Fry Bread Prince before he became a Debbie Downer? Andrea: What did you say? Max: What’s a Debbie Downer? Ester: A Debbie Downer is someone that is depressed and brings everyone down with them. It’s not something that you need to know, because you’re perfect the way you are. 27
Drew: ♪♫♪♫♪’Cause you’re amazing.... just the way you are.♪♫♪♫♪ Betty: Yeah, you’re just DINO-mite. Andrea: To be clear, I’m glad I’m not riding on your bus. One Eyed John: Agreed…how did you make it here without killing each other? Betty: The things I’ve been through on this trip are almost unspeakable. Andrea: For real? Betty: Yes, it’s like I’m the movie star on a bus full of nobodies. Drew: ♪♫♪♫♪ The millionaire and his wife, The movie star. The professor and Mary Ann, Here on Gilligan’s Isle. ♪♫♪♫♪ One Eyed John: Not to be rude, but she has Tourette’s right? Betty: That’s what we’re hoping. Max: Well, I believe that my dino-senses say that we are close in solving the mystery. Drew:
♪♫♪♫ DONT STOP... BELIEVINGGG!♪♫♪♫
Andrea: Wait a minute, what mystery? Betty: The one about our George and your Fry Bread Prince. Andrea: So do you all seriously think that the George in the bus is the same guy I fell in love with years ago? Betty: Wait, did you say you fell in love with? Like really in love with, and not just a hook-up? Max: What does hook-up mean? Is it like…oh, wait a minute. I got it now. Andrea: Yes, I loved him, but it’s been so long now. It’s just really, really complicated. Betty: But you still love him? Andrea: I…I don’t know what to say. I did love him, but… Drew:
♪♫♪♫ It must have been love, but it’s over now! ♪♫♪♫
Narrator: Once there was a girl who dreamed she would have a child, but her lover’s eyes were too filled with tears to see. 28
(The lights dim on the gas station, and up on the day after The Gathering of Nations Powwow. Andrea is onstage pacing.) Andrea: It was just a dream. It doesn’t mean anything. It felt so real, but it’s not like I took a test or whatever. It was just a dream. Where are you George? George: Hey. Andrea: Oh, thank God you are here. (Hugs him) George: So you heard about my Dad? Andrea: What? No. What happened? George: The doctors don’t know for sure, but they think he had a heart attack in his sleep. Andrea: But he’s okay, right? George: No. They said that there was nothing they could do. Andrea: I’m so sorry, George. George: He’s had a couple of bypasses, but I thought he was doing great now. Andrea: So what are you going to do? I mean, how can I help? George: I don’t know. I can’t even think straight. Andrea: Well, okay. Look, this may seem off topic, but I wanted to tell you about this dream I had… George: My Dad just died, and you want to talk about dreams? Andrea: Yes, but it’s complicated. George: Look, I know you don’t know me or my father well, but he was my whole life. Andrea: And I’m sorry, George. But I have to tell you about this dream… George: (Raises voice) Is this some kind of joke? Because this whole “I had a dream thing” is not funny. Andrea: Stop yelling at me and just listen. George: No, you listen. My Dad just died and so I don’t want to talk about your dreams, and to be honest I can’t even talk to you right now. 29
Andrea: What are you saying? George: Nothing. I’m just saying that…I have to go. (George exits the stage.) Andrea: Bye, George. (Andrea cradles her stomach and is silent for a beat.) (Andrea goes back behind the counter of the gas station; lights up on the full stage.) Betty: Wait, you and George had a kid together? Does George know? Andrea: No, and it’s not the same George. One Eyed John: Hold on a minute. I’m an uncle? Andrea: No. Well, sort of. I gave it up for adoption. One Eyed John: When was this? Andrea: Fourteen years ago. You were off fighting in some war. George ran off without talking to me. And here I was with a baby all by myself. Drew:
All by myself. Don’t wanna be all by myself, anymore.
Betty: This is amazing. It is like a Lifetime Movie. What’s your name again? Ester: Her name is Susan Andrea Skenandore, and I have been looking for her for years. Andrea: (To Ester) What did you just say? Betty: I can see it now, The Lifetime Movie of the week: “For the Love of Fry Bread: The Love That Got Away at a Powwow and Then Came Back to a Gas Station, The Susan Andrea Skenandore Story.” Andrea: This is crazy. Betty: I know, right? Maybe Jessica Alba could play you in the movie. I absolutely love her. Andrea: But we do not know if it is even my George that is in that bus. Betty: Oh, yes we do. Our George’s Dad called himself the Fry Bread King, but so does everyone, so who cares, right? But I was at George’s house once and he had all these trophies that his Dad won at The Gathering of 30
Nations Powwow. He took top prize in the fry bread contest like ten years in a row. Andrea: It was eleven years. Oh my God, do you think it’s really him? Ester: I do. And I can see that Coyote kept his promise. Max: Hey everybody, do you think that Coyote played tricks on the dinosaurs? I mean, Coyote has been around forever, right? One Eyed John: Was it a boy or a girl? Andrea: What? One Eyed John: The kid you gave up for adoption. Was it a boy or a girl? Andrea: It was a boy. One Eyed John: This is amazing. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ It’s amazing, with the blink of an eye you finally see the light. It’s amazing when the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright. ♪♫♪♫ Andrea: Would you all just stop talking for a minute? I have to think. (LL Sam walks in.) LL Sam: Okay, I’m up about a grand. How much do we need? (Pause) You all look so serious. What did I miss? Betty: Andrea and our George had a kid together fourteen years ago. George is still sleeping in the bus, and he has no idea that Andrea is here or that he is a father. LL Sam: Dang, the second I leave all the cool stuff happens. Max: It wasn’t that cool. There is still no sign of a large reptilian herbivore. LL Sam: So did someone go get George? One Eyed John: No, but I’d like to get my hands on him. No one knocks up my sister and then runs off without answering to me. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting, huwah! Those kicks were fast as lightning. ♪♫♪♫ Andrea: If you put even one finger on the man I love, I swear that I will poke out your other eye. 31
Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Blinded by the light. Reved up like a deuce, another roller in the night. Blinded by the light.♪♫♪♫ Betty: You sang that one already. Drew: What? You think this is easy? Let’s see you try it. (Dr. Stuart enters.) Dr. Stuart: Ok everyone, gather around. There’s been a bit of a setback, but we’re really making progress on the bus out there. Betty: Is George still sleeping in the bus? Dr. Stuart: I guess he is, but anyway Dip the mechanic knows what’s wrong with the bus. To put it lightly, it’s going to cost us. Ester: How much? Dr. Stuart: Well, we’re looking at some hospital bills on top of the repairs. Come to find out, there was a coyote hiding under the hood and it did a number on Dip’s face. Ester: I knew that old man would come through for me. Max: Are you sure it wasn’t a dinosaur? They can be small too. (Dip enters the gas station with scrapes on his face.) Dip: You guys owe me big! Some fuzzy critter scraped me all to heck, and then bit me once or twice for good measure. Ester: (Flapping her shirt) DANG it’s warm in here! Max: Are you okay, Dodo? Is this one of your flashy things? Dip: You’re asking HER if she’s okay when I just got bit by a rabies infected fur ball? That’ll raise the price a bit. Betty: So how much do we owe you? Dip: Well, for the repairs, the hospital bills, work I’m going to have to miss, plus all my pain and suffering, we’re looking at three grand cash, money. Betty: Are you kidding me? LL Sam: Alright everyone, how much cash do we all have? (Everyone starts handing over what they have in their pockets) LL Sam: So we have about fifteen hundred. I’ll be back in a flash. 32
(LL Sam takes the money and walks towards the casino.) Dr. Stuart: Look, we’re going to pay you. So can you please get back to work? Dip: Are you trying to rush me, son? Dr. Stuart: No, I’m just anxious to hit the road. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Hit the road, Jack. And don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more. Hit the road, Jack. And don’t you come back no more. ♪♫♪♫ Betty: Whatchu say? Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Hit the road, Jack. And don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more. ♪♫♪♫ Dip: So is she simple or something? Betty: It’s complicated. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated? I see the way you’re actin’ like you’re somebody else gets me frustrated.♪♫♪♫ Dip: It seems to me that they should have some sort of medicine or something for her. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Your love is like bad medicine. Bad medicine is what I need.♪♫♪♫ Dip: That’s it. I’m going back to the garage where I can work in quiet. (Dip exits.) Dr. Stuart: Okay everybody, hang tight and we should be on the road in no time. (Dr. Stuart exits.) Ester: Maximus, why don’t you go with them and check on George? Max: Sure, Dodo. Do you want me to wake him up? Ester: Not just yet. I’ll let you know when. (Max exits.) Andrea: Look, I need to go. I don’t think I’m ready for this.
Betty: Are you kidding me? I’ve been listening to you tell your lost love story for how long now, and you’re not even going to give me a happy ending? Drew: ♪♫♪♫ All this time you were pretending, so much for my happy ending. (Oh, oh, oh, oh) ♪♫♪♫ One Eyed John: Come on, Sis. This is a once in a lifetime chance. You have to take it. Ester: Listen up everyone, because I don’t have much time. Betty: Great, here comes another trip down memory lane. Ester: One night a long time ago a man knocked on the door asking for help. He looked ill and as though he hadn’t eaten in days. So I offered to feed him and let him rest for the night. Then night after night he came, leaving before morning break. He was nice enough, and I had plenty to share, so I started leaving my door unlocked and food on the counter. Betty: What does this have to do with anything? You gave a guy some food? So what? I could go to the shelter and they would feed me too! One Eyed John: Just listen to her story. Elders’ stories are sacred. Ester: The difference, Betty, is that the more he came the more I started to realize that this was not just any guy. I started seeing signs of the trickster in him. Once I finally caught him in a lie, I was able to get the truth. Betty: So who was he? The great Maeqnapos my grandpa is always talking about? Ester: No, it was Coyote. Betty: So you’re trying to tell us that you were actually helping out “The Coyote”? Ester: Yes, and since I helped him out without any questions, he promised me he would help me one day when I really needed it. Betty: Are you going crazy on us or something? Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Crazy on you. Gonna go crazy, crazy on you, yeah! ♪♫♪♫ One Eyed John: Coyote saved my life once. It was over there in the war. My whole platoon exploded on an IED, but somehow I survived because someone pushed me out of the way at the last second. It was so loud that my ears were ringing, and I had no idea which way was up. But I swear that 34
when I looked around, I saw Coyote trotting off over a sand dune. He was the only one who could’ve saved me. Ester: He must have owed you a favor, just like he owed me one. And today is the day that he keeps up his end of his promise to me. Andrea: What are you talking about? Ester: I don’t have much time left, Andrea. I was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer five months ago. They said that there was nothing they could do, and so I should try to enjoy what little time I had left. They gave me three months, but it seems I stretched it out for a couple more. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Living on borrowed time…♪♫♪♫ Betty: Drew, not now. Ester: No, she’s fine. I love John Lennon’s music. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Living on borrowed time…Without a thought for tomorrow. Living on borrowed time.♪♫♪♫ Andrea: So what does this have to do with me? (LL Sam runs back in.) LL Sam: Alright, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is my machine is starting to hit. Bad news is that I ran out of money. Betty: How do you run out of money when your machine starts to hit? LL Sam: Well, I went all in. So I just need ten more dollars. Come on, guys. Quick, let’s have it (No one gives up any more money.) LL Sam: Betty, just let me borrow ten dollars! I swear I’ll get the money! Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Money Money Money Money…. MONEY! ♪♫♪♫ Betty: Look, sometimes you just have to realize when something is a bad investment and cut your losses. LL Sam: Come on, Betty. Pretty please. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Come on, come on, kneel before the money. Come on, come on, listen to the money talk.♪♫♪♫ Betty: Fine! I will give you ten dollars just because I’m feeling a little nice. You better win or else… 35
LL Sam: Oh thank you, pretty lady! I will go to that machine that’s been making crazy noises, put this ten dollars in, and boom the money should be here in no time. (LL Sam runs off.) Ester: To answer your question, Andrea, my story involves you because I want you to raise Maximus for me. Andrea: What? You cannot be serious. I just met Max, and I’m not a mother. Ester: You met Maximus fourteen years ago, and you are a mother. Andrea: What? (Pause) Oh my God. Ester: I told the lady in adoption services about my illness, and she agreed to let me take a peek at Maximus’ records. Andrea: It’s not possible. Ester: I had a heck of a time finding you, but the good Lord knows I tried. I exhausted all the ideas I could think of, but then Coyote came through for me. One Eyed John: Wait a minute. Are you saying that the dinosaur is my nephew? Ester: Yes, and I’m glad to know that you’ll be here to help teach him his culture. I’ve tried for years, but he won’t listen to me. This is the first year I could even drag him to The Gathering of Nations Powwow, and I had to tell him that I was dying to get him to listen to me. Now it seems that his first year there will also be my last. Andrea: I need to sit. This is all just a little too much for me right now. Betty: This is the most amazing thing I ever saw. Andrea: It’s amazing alright. Betty: Wait, does George know he’s Dino-boy’s father? Ester: No, I just found that out myself. Maximus’ birth certificate said his father was… Andrea: Unknown. I named him Maximus after George’s father. I wrote “unknown” on the certificate because George had no idea I was pregnant. One Eyed John: Coyote works in mysterious ways. 36
Drew: ♪♫♪♫ It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright. She moves in mysterious ways.♪♫♪♫ (Max enters the gas station.) Max: George is still sleeping. What did I miss in here? One Eyed John: Sis, he has Mom’s eyes. Max: What are you talking about, Willis? Ester: Max, I think it’s time you go wake George up. Max: Okay, Dodo. (Max exits the gas station. LL Sam enters.) LL Sam: Guess what, sports fans? Betty: Did you lose the ten dollars I gave you? LL Sam: I sort of lost the ten dollars… Ester: Oh no, not now. Betty: You sort of lost it? LL Sam: Yup, but before I lost it, I doubled it and then doubled it again. Betty: Meaning that we now have thirty dollars? LL Sam: And then I doubled it again, and again, and again. One Eyed John: Does he always take this long to tell a story? LL Sam: And then I hit the mother lode. Ester: Thank the heavens! That’s just wonderful news. Drew:
♪♫♪♫ Celebrate good times, come on.♪♫♪♫
Betty: So you won enough to fix the bus? How much is it? LL Sam: How much did I win, or how much did I walk away with? Betty: You kept playing after you won enough to fix the bus? That’s it; I’m going to hurt you. LL Sam: Easy, tiger. I kept enough to fix the bus, but if you all agree I think I can double it. Just give me the word. ALL: NO! (Dip and Dr. Stuart enter the gas station.) 37
Dip: Alrighty, I got your bus running as good as can be expected, and so now someone’s got to pay me. Dr. Stuart: Yes, of course. Sam, tell me you have the money? LL Sam: I sure do. You said twenty-five hundred, right? Dip: Are you some kind of funny boy? I said three grand, cash money. LL Sam: Okay, easy. I have it, but before I give it to you I want you to know that with your permission I can triple it in the casino in about ten minutes. Just give me the word. Dip: Boy, are you simple too? Pay me already. Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Be a simple kind of man. Be something you love and understand.♪♫♪♫ One Eyed John: So do you guys even put on the radio with her around? LL Sam: Here’s your three grand. The offer still stands though. Dip: (Walks towards the door) Darn crazy out of towners come down here crashing into every dang critter they can find and expect me to fix it up nice for them. Like mama always said, “Some people are so stupid they stare at the orange juice can all day because it says ‘concentrate’ on it.” (Dip exits.) Dr. Stuart: Whew. That was something, huh? Can you believe something as crazy as this could happen to us on this trip? Andrea: Trust me; you don’t know the half of it. Dr. Stuart: Well, I’m going to gas up and then let’s head out. Betty: Just so you know these two are coming with us. Dr. Stuart: Fine, but someone besides Sam needs to read the map. LL Sam: It’s not my fault that the map you brought was from 1973. Dr. Stuart: That map is a relic, and it works just fine. It seems that I’m going to have to have a talk with Bill Van Lopik about what exactly he’s teaching in that geography class of his. (Dr. Stuart and LL Sam leave.) One Eyed John: Well, let’s lock up, put a “closed for cleaning” sign on the door, and then hit the road. 38
Drew: ♪♫♪♫ Closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.♪♫♪♫ Andrea: I don’t know if I can do this. Betty: What? Leave? See George? Be a Mom? Andrea: All of it. It doesn’t seem real. Ester: Andrea, what are the chances of us breaking down and coming to this gas station? This is destiny. Maximus needs his mother, his real mother, in his life. I can tell that there is something missing in his life, something that I can’t give him. Andrea: But why would he even give me the time of day? I gave him up for adoption, and I can’t even forgive myself for that. Ester: I know for a fact that he wants to meet his real parents. He will forgive you. Andrea: If you’re sure he wants to meet me, I’ll tell him when I’m ready. But I’ll need to talk to George first so that I can tell him that we have a son together. (Pause) How am I supposed to do all of this? I live here. My life is here. Ester: Maximus should be your life. Plus I’m pretty sure you can work in Wisconsin at the Oneida One Stop gas station. Andrea: But I don’t even have a place to live. Ester: I own my house, and you can stay with us as long as you need to. My Will leaves the place to Maximus, and so my dying won’t get in the way of your reunion. Andrea: You have my whole life figured out, don’t you? Ester: I have had a lot of time to think about how I could help Maximus after I’m gone, and I told myself that I would not let this opportunity pass me by. Andrea: Well, I suppose I could leave here for a while to see how it goes. I’ve had vacation saved up for the last five years. I could take a couple weeks off and go to the Gathering of Nations with all of you and then see where this all takes me. Betty: Great, now let’s go tell George. This will be like one of those hidden camera shows. 39
(Max enters.) Max: All aboard, the dinosaur bus is leaving! (Max exits.)
♪♫♪♫♪Come on ride the train... and ride it! CHOO CHOO! ♪♫♪♫♪♫ Drew:
(All exit except Andrea) (Andrea contemplates the decision for a few beats. She slowly smiles and then runs out the door to join the others.) Narrator: Once there was a Coyote who kept his promise to help a child find his mother. (Lights out) “For the Love of Fry Bread: A Coyote Story” was written and produced in a staged reading by the College of Menominee Nation’s Spring 2012 Playwriting class. It was also produced on July 31 and August 1, 2012, at the Norbert Hill Center in Oneida, Wisconsin, by the Summer 2012 Theater Production class.
Feathers on Wheel - Michael Gomeyosh Michael is a 2009 technical education graduate of CMN.
The Snow Sentinels - Mary Anne Hill
THE SNOW SENTINELS MAY THESE SNOW SENTINELS BE SILENT GUARDIANS PROVIDING LIGHT, PEACE, AND SERENITY FOR ALL WHO TOUCH THEIR WHITEWASHED INDIGO BRANCHES . MAY THEY BE A SYMBOL OF WEATHERING ALL STORMS, EVEN THE MOST PAINFUL, INTENSE, OR UNSEASONAL. MAY THE CAUTERIZING WINDS, TAKE AWAY THE UNWORTHY ASPECTS OF OURSELVES, LET THE MELTING MOISTURE SATURATE THE NEEDLES ADDING NOURISHMENT, SO THE JOYFUL RESILIANT PARTS CAN GERMINATE AND BLOSSOM. LET US GROW BRILLIANT AND STRONG TOGETHER, IN CELEBRATION OF OUR CAPACITY FOR RENEWAL.
Mary Anne Hill Mary is a writing tutor at CMN’s Green Bay/Oneida campus.
Seeds of a Journey - Mark Berendsen My interest in Muscular Dystrophy started several years ago when I was a sophomore at Notre Dame H.S. As I was walking down the high school corridor, I happened to notice a pamphlet on the ground. Initially, I kicked it, as I walked by. For some reason, I stopped and picked it up. It was an advertisement to become a camp counselor for kids with Muscular Dystrophy. I was interested enough to call the number on the pamphlet to get further information. I was asked to appear for an interview, and was offered the job. This is how I got started working as a volunteer in the summer programs for children with Muscular Dystrophy (MD). As you may know, each year, Jerry Lewis hosts a telethon. The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon solicits donations to finance research that will benefit those desperately hoping for a cure. During my volunteer experience, I learned a great deal about the disease. Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is a medical condition in which those affected gradually waste away, experiencing weakening of their skeletal muscles. MD strikes both adolescents and adults alike and in some cases the symptoms are more severe than in others. There are many types of MD, such as Duchene Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which occurs in early childhood at about two to six years of age. Some types of MD include weakness of the muscles, hips, pelvis, and thighs. Eventually, all voluntary muscles are affected, including heart â€“breathing muscles. Survival beyond the age of 30 is very uncommon. Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) is a less severe form and occurs in adolescence or adulthood. This disease progresses slowly, and varies with the person. People with BMD survive into mid-to-late adulthood. Those with DMD die young. My personal involvement with a boy named Allan affected me deeply. Allan was the camper I cared for a couple of weeks each summer. As a volunteer, I was able to provide nurturing, just as his parents would have. Allan and I had many great summers at camp together. In all the summers together, we never discussed his illness, until the summer before he died. That last summer, he told me he was going to outlive his friends who were dying all around him. Allan believed researchers were going to discover a cure for MD. With those courageous words, Allan made me think about my own life and how easily we all take things for granted. We never think twice about running a red light. We drive after drinking, without once considering the potential serious consequences. Allan helped me think 45
about life at a deeper level. Because of our relationship, the idea of becoming a nurse was born. Allan’s words planted the seed. Later that year, my father, Donald, was admitted to the hospital suffering from esophageal cancer. Surgeons operated on him, and as a result, he had to be fed by a tube into his stomach. Caring for him required a lot of nursing hours. While I was in the hospital with him, I observed a nurse who was caring for him. She was changing his feeding tube, and in the process, she dripped fluids from the drainage tube onto him. He couldn’t complain because of his feeding tube. I expected the nurse would surely come back to change his soiled gown. After 30 minutes of waiting, I realized that she was not coming back. I went to the nurse’s station and requested assistance for my father. It was then that the seed of becoming a nurse began to grow. It grew beyond the dream stage. It was in that moment I promised myself that when I become a nurse, I would take more pride in my work and myself and treat people as if they were members of my own family. In my family traditions, like those of the Menominee Nation, we believe in caring for the sick and elderly alike. I’m convinced nursing is the career path for me. I’m confident the College of Menominee Nation will help me make this dream come true. I’m amazed to think this journey started when I kicked a piece of paper down a high school corridor. Mark is a Nursing student at CMN.
Trial Day - Mani Boyd “Wake up! Wake up, Suzy! We’re gonna be late!” My head is pounding from all the shots I was handed last night at the bar. My stomach turns at the mere thought of me moving an inch to the left or right. “Get up! Suz, you have to bring me to the center, I don’t want to miss the trial,” Mary yells. I try my best to scrape myself out of bed. My head is pounding more with every inch of movement I make. It’s like my blood is acid, and it’s slowly burning my eyes and brain. “We have an hour before the trial starts, so get in the shower, and I’ll make brea…” Before my sister got out the last word I felt my stomach turn, which gave me a surge of energy that led me straight to the bathroom faster than I thought possible at this point. As I was puking out last night’s liquid dinner I could hear Mary in the other room bitching about my drinking and saying something about being late. But at this point, I don’t care. I slowly get up off the bathroom floor and turn on the shower, HOT. Maybe the hotter the water, the better I’ll feel. Nope. As I’m standing under the water wishing this hangover would just miraculously disappear, I hear my sister come in, probably to comb her perfectly straight black hair. “Suz, we got a half hour, so hurry up,” Mary said with a hint of annoyance behind it. “Shut up, I’m done,” I try to yell back. I get out feeling no better than when I started, but at least I smell better; I hope. I grab whatever I have that looks clean and grab my brush and a rubber band and quickly throw my hair up. Maybe my curly hair just might take pity on my condition and look presentable. I won’t count on it. I grab my sunglasses and walk out the front door, which Mary is so graciously holding open. Of course she is dressed to perfection in a schoolgirl-sweater-type shirt that is way too warm for today and dark jeans that fit perfectly to her athletic body. By the way she looks so refreshed no one would ever guess she was right alongside me last night taking shot after shot and… my stomach turns. I stop short with a sudden blast of realization, Mary wasn’t drinking all those shots. I was! Every time I bought a round she wouldn’t buy back. She 47
would just hand me the shot I just bought her. Well maybe that was a good thing considering I made her promise to drive before we even got to the first bar, and I don’t even remember the ride home…or do I? I don’t care; I just want this stupid trial to be over with so I can get back to my comfortable bed. “Let’s get this over with,” I said while tossing her the keys. I jump in the passenger side and slouch down while putting on my dark sunglasses. Mary gets in and starts to adjust the seat. I don’t know why because she was the last one to drive, I think. She fixes the rear view mirror and starts to adjust the side mirrors. “Hurry UP! You’re taking longer than I did to get ready!” Mary smirks while starting the car. Our local community center has many different names in this small town, like Community College or Training Center for the local law enforcement and Rec Center. But today it’s Court House. Today is the big trial where the bank manager, Howie Manchester, is getting prosecuted for embezzling from the local bank here. It’s a big deal considering there isn’t another bank in like forever in all directions. There isn’t much of anything really. Howie was the manager for about 30 some years and was well liked in this small town. Everybody knew and loved him and his wife, who passed on a year ago. He wasn’t someone who would be expected of stealing anything let alone the massive amount people say he took. He came from a rich enough family; Manchesters were at one time the most respected family around. They even had this small town named after them. There were some other things he had done, but I can’t remember, and that’s why we are going to this trial to find out what exactly he’d done. “Howie, always willing to spend money, guess because he never really worked for it,” Mary said, waking me from my thoughts.“Yeah, I wonder who will buy my drinks now at the bar,” I reply back. We giggle a bit but go back to our thoughts. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get to town from our old farmhouse. Then if this is going to be as big as Mary says it will, it will take a bit to find a spot to park. We don’t say much more on the ride; I just sat back and tried to imagine how it would feel to not be sick. Mary started humming some tune that was playing on the radio and tapping her hand on the steering wheel, so I changed the station. I don’t really care to what; I just wanted her to stop. 48
We get to the community center and find out that we are about the first people here. Great, I could have slept a little more. Mary parks, and we get out. I don’t take off my sunglasses as we walk in the building. There are some people there, but they are setting up chairs and fixing the tables to make it look like a courtroom. Mary picks the third row back from behind the prosecutor, and we sit. I lay my head back and close my eyes. I don’t know how long we sat there, but the room kept getting louder and louder and all of a sudden everyone stopped talking. I open my eyes to see what was going on and noticed that Erin Mayer was walking down the now courtroom. She is the lead witness in this case. She had been Howie’s assistant for almost his whole career and now she is going to be telling all his secrets. Ruining his dignity and all, poor Howie. Somehow I feel sorry for the guy, I can’t help it. Erin sits down behind the prosecutor and looks back at us. Mary smiles; I don’t care really and ignore her. Erin turns around and looks down at some papers she has in her lap. We sit for a little longer when all of a sudden I hear people screaming and yelling in the entranceway of the center. Mary jumps up and then down to the floor. I snap my head up and look in the direction of all the commotion. It’s Howie, he has a rifle! I slam myself to the floor and peek though the chairs. He looks old, face sunk in as though he hasn’t slept in days, eyes bulging and hair a mess. He peers though the crowd and stops short in his tracks. He holds up the rifle and shoots. BAM! BAM! Erin is standing up now, and I notice that someone lying at her feet probably got in the way of the bullet that was meant for her. I look back at Howie, and he sets his sights back on Erin. Without thinking I jump up and grab the closest thing I could find and fling it in his direction. Howie sidesteps the chair I threw and shoots again. This time I feel pain. As I fall to the floor, I look at Erin; stupid woman didn’t move a muscle. Mary jumps on me and grabs at my neck and starts rambling on about staying with her. Where am I going? I start to feel dizzy, and blackness takes over. I close my eyes. Mani is a student in the Bachelor’s Degree program in Business Administration at CMN. “Trial Day” was originally published in the 2011 Student Edition of the Tribal College Journal, having won first place in the magazine’s student writing contest. 49
Wolf Cubs - Sadie White Sadie is a CMN student in the Liberal Studies program.
Sled Dogs - Joel Kroenke My sled dogs keep me humble as they share their energy with me. They put forth a lot of effort and expect little in return. Each is an individual whose focused efforts contribute to the success of the team. They know how to have fun in simple ways. They like to be rubbed and praised. They howl nicely. They also provide me with good excuses to enjoy the beauty of the winter woods both during the day and at night. Joel is CMNâ€™s Director of Facilities.
Residue of Genocide - Jill A. Martin He calls himself Residue of genocide A sad, bitter statement From a sad, bitter man The weight of his hate Crushing him Like 500 years Of garbage and concrete Crushing the bones Of his ancestors
He bleeds A desperate longing For all that has been lost Slaughtered Buried Under the guise of progress The residue of genocide Some days The scar turns His soul to glass Pictures Of ancient memories Etched in future dreams Breathtaking But easily broken
He feels it In his bones The deceit, the pain The genocide The weight of the concrete It cripples him
A simple reminder Of what was lost Taken Can shatter him A thousand pieces Crushed By the rushing footsteps Of greed Capitalism Fascism He crumbles Until there is nothing left Except those that love him More Than they love themselves He crumbles Residue of genocide
He has a wound In his soul A scar That cannot heal A generational scar Branded in his center At birth He cannot forgot What has been done Some days The wound festers Reeking the decay of His culture His language His people His soul The forgotten His agony and tears Held back By anger and fire
He dreams Of the slaughter His battle cries Echo 53
In the midnight darkness I let him sleep At least there he can fight
Blackens his soul He cannot forgive The unforgiveable
The warrior awakens Reality shreds his soul He bleeds the forgotten stories Stains the present Splatters the lost Over everyone he sees They gasp in disgust Turn their eyes Towards the almighty dollar Desperately wash The residue of genocide From their hands They are tainted Forever He won’t let them forget
His words Sting and scar Those that do not understand Those that hide This blood stained country The residue of genocide Behind the farce Of democracy Progress Sweep it Under the rug He trips over the deceit Everyday And curses He counts The Mohicans that remain He says so sadly “Not even enough To fill a cruise ship” One by one They die One by one The residue of genocide Fades Forgotten Soon the ship Will sail away Forever
They accuse him Of racism Disregard The historical trauma The slaughter The beatings The assimilation He doesn’t hate them He hates What has happened He hates That they forget He hates That he can never have What is lost
He begs you Not to forget See this stained world For what it truly is
It burns him Like a raging fire
Some day Your scar will fester Someday The ancestors will Knock at your door Someday You will drown In your sorrow Someday You will see The residue of genocide Someday You will be The residue of genocide Someday You wonâ€™t let them Forget
But his wisdom is lost In his frantic flailing For words Drowning In his anger His last attempt To be saved You abandoned him Turned your back Let him drown In his sorrow For his people His only assurance is that You were branded too Your youthful hope Ignorance And desire For wealth, fame, and power Provides a swift But feeble bandage Inadequate for old age
Jill is Director of Sponsored Program Administration at CMN.
Courageous Youth - Portia Koebach To swim in depths too dark to see, to feel on thigh a brush of cold fingertips, just out of reach in the black, silent deep, a hush. With silence drumming in my ears, legs pumping in the cold, I swim as though the ancient wyrm breaks forth from days of old. Portia is 2008 CMN graduate, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from American Intercontinental University, and works for CMN as a Network Administrator. “Courageous Youth” was originally published in the 2008 Student Edition of the Tribal College Journal, having placed in the top entries in the magazine’s student writing contest.
Boys Will Be Boys - Dan Hawk He broke out in laughter, his eyes wide open, with a look I have seldom seen in my lifetime. He said, “That was a true story… that is a true story.” This tale took place a couple of years and a half a century ago, on the Dawes-checked Oneida Indian Reservation. The Jordan allotment housed a small Indian farm on a narrow stone’s throw of land that ran from First Ridge down the eastern valley to Duck Creek. During spring thaw, it was a torrent covering much of the creek basin. Upon receding, it left behind glacial ponds of life. Grandpa was a remnant of a mysterious Iroquois secret society known as False Face. He always seemed to know when something wasn’t right or when us kids had messed up. One late spring day, Grandpa sent Ted (who was twelve) and Albert (who was eight) to fetch a pail of milk from Old Bessie, who was near the creek bottom on the neighboring property. As boys would have it, they played all the way down the tractor lane, swinging the empty pail and throwing sticks and stones. At the end of the lane they crossed the Peterson barbed-wire fence. They walked on the cow path along the bank like railroad men, one leg longer than the other to keep from falling in. Old Bessie, like a Red Cross volunteer, was glad to give that day. With a full pail of milk Ted and Albert started back up the valley. As boys would have it, they found some baby toads. Ted started to gather them up and soon had a wiggly handful. Somehow, one jumped out of his hand … right into the pail! Pretty soon all of the baby toads were getting spa treatment in Bessie’s warm milk. Ted and Albert realized Grandpa was gonna’ be mad and they were gonna’ catch hell! So they scooped up the baby toads and let them go. Fifty years later, my Uncles Ted and Albert still blame each other and laugh about getting away with it. They got one over on my Grandpa, and then I told my Mom, who had lived with Grandpa, that she ate toad soup! And, as boys would have it, I broke out in laughter. Dan is a CMN graduate. “Boys Will Be Boys” appeared in the 2007 Edition of the Tribal College Journal, having placed in the top entries in the magazine’s student writing contest. 57
Image by NOAA-NASA GOES Project. Mother Earth
Mother Says - Barbara Johnson I breathe for your every breath. I cry for your never ending thirst. I blossom for your hunger. I cringe for your greed. I bleed for your arrogance. I am damaged for your needs. I grow for your gluttony. I diminish for your development. I shrivel for your waste. I scream for your hushed silence. I provide for your emptiness. I satisfy for your never ending wants. I rectify for your guilt. I wait for you to notice me. I wait for you to breathe beneath trees. I relinquish for your mistakes. I replenish for you to eat. I burn for you to taste. I freeze for you to learn. I brighten for you to blacken. I expect for you to respect. I sustain for you to wake up. I rewind for you to take the time. I close my eyes for yours to open. I die for you to selfishly live.
Barbara is a Liberal Studies student at CMN.
Their Flickering Campfires Burn - Harlan Pygman Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play, Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day. Chorus Home, home on the range, Where the deer and the antelope play; Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day. The red man was pressed from this part of the West He’s likely no more to return, To the banks of Red River where seldom if ever Their flickering campfires burn. Chorus Excerpted from Home on the Range adapted by John A. Lomax (1910) Tim’s eyes squinted as he stepped outside. One hundred eighty days in the tribal jail with its sparse fluorescent lighting and no windows added to the impact of the western South Dakota sun. He scanned the parking lot. Heat waves danced above the pavement but no sign of his cousin, Johnny. Absently, Tim’s fingers wrapped around the glossy pamphlet in his jeans pocket with the round green image of the five clans of the Menominee Nation. Maybe Michelle was right. The idea of taking something as hard and strong as steel and forming it into anything you wanted gave him a sense of power and control. An opportunity for creativity. Making something. Making money. His uncle Paul has been an underwater welder in the Navy for eleven years. Loves the Navy. Never could let the Navy or the open spaces go. A rez car rattled up next to Tim. Through the open window his cousin said, “You’d think they’d know better than to let you out again.” 61
Tim slid in and slammed the door. Johnny’s hat from the pow-wow four years ago in Rapid was on backward. On his T-shirt, the Original Homeland Security stood at alert, which Tim saw as ironic considering the outcome. “Captain Morgan in the glove box.” “Not now.” “What did Michelle say?” “Next time they’ll turn me over to Percef.” The Pine Ridge Correctional Facility was run by the Federal Government. With 168 inmates, it was way over capacity and was known for the resulting violence. Tim didn’t mention the College of Menominee Nation pamphlet or Michelle’s phone call to their admissions specialist. “They feed ya lunch?” “Yeah.” “Let’s take the dancer to Rapid. My aunt’s havin’ a Tupperware party tonight and wants a ride back tomorrow. Sick of the Grey Dog, she says.” Tim remembered a girl he met at the last Tupperware party. An Archeology grad student from Radcliffe, or Rutgers or whatever who just wanted to “get laid by an Indian”. He closed his eyes. “Sounds good. Take me home first.” He stretched out on the seat. The wind on his right foot out the window vibrated the top of his sock where the elastic had worn out. Three miles out of town, the gravel ground under the car’s tires when Johnny turned sharply, winding his way between the trash-burner drum, the rear bumper of his sister Mary’s old Monte Carlo and a dozen weathered pallets scattered and hidden among the desert weeds in the front yard. Tim’s dad was home but there was no sign of his sisters. “Gotta finish puttin’ that tire on the dancer and take this back to my brother. I’ll pick you up in a couple.” “Later.” The sound of Tim’s boots echoed on the wooden steps. He could taste the arid dust the car’s tires had kicked into the air. Again his fingers wrapped around the glossy pamphlet. The trailer’s door was hanging open but no sound came from inside. As he walked in, he could hear his dad slide a drawer shut in the back bedroom. It was always dark in here. Funny how he could only smell the stale pizza and beer 62
spilled for years on the couch and carpet when he’d been gone for a while. But Tim’s trips had only been to the tribal jail and to Rapid. He had never been as far east as Pierre, had only been into Nebraska far enough to track a deer and really had no idea where Wisconsin was. Michelle said it was beautiful there with forests and rivers. The college would help with grant money and he could get on track and develop a skill like welding that he would enjoy and could use to support himself. “Can’t count on any per capita at Pine Ridge,” she said. “You wanna count on the government?” Sometimes she seemed a little abrasive but Tim knew his PO cared about him. Probably more than his dad. The silence and tension triggered something in Tim and he pulled out the pamphlet as his dad came into the living room. “Michelle says maybe I should think about making my own future. She gave me this.” His dad looked at the cover but didn’t take the pamphlet. “We’re not Menominee,” he said and walked out the door without closing it. *** Tim could hear Johnny coming in the dancer and opened his eyes. Rolling off the couch, he grabbed a package of Twinkies and went out to get in the truck. Homeland Security remained vigilant on Johnny’s shirt. This time Johnny just handed him the Captain and Tim felt the warmth in his throat. Tim was starting to feel more like himself. He liked Johnny’s aunt who was three years younger than Johnny and Tim. The Tupperware parties (which always had plenty to offer but no Tupperware) were loud and wild. And it was good to get out on the road after being cooped up for six months. Johnny kept the speed limit through Pine Ridge and rolled out of town on US-18W. Straight for forty-one miles then turn right and go another seventy. Then PartyTime. The road was flat with occasional antelope in the open areas and deep draws on either side where Tim had hunted deer. No telling where the cougars were. Tim pushed in the cassette of pow-wow dance music and said, “Let’s dance.” Long ago, they had discovered that the old F250’s suspension was loose enough to rock the truck from side to side by jerking the steering wheel with the rhythm of the music. Sometimes Johnny tapped the brakes snap63
ping their heads back and forth to add emphasis. When his timing was on, Johnny could lift them from their seats momentarily as the truck danced. The trip usually took something over an hour and a fifth of Captain. The stars literally twinkled as the desert’s heat radiated into space. If anyone had been out there, they could have heard the truck coming from over five miles away. The antelope seemed to materialize in front of them like Star Trek’s awayteam on a planet’s surface. Its deep brown eyes electrified by the headlights became pools of orange light. They seemed to be looking directly at Tim, fearless and unblinking. And the timing couldn’t have been worse. Johnny was rocking the dancer up on the right tires when they hit. The dancer rolled like it was choreographed, breaking the latch on Tim’s door on the first roll. His body rotated inside the truck and his wildly grasping hand seized the dreamcatcher which tore from the mirror as he was thrown in an arc to the pavement. On the third roll, the old gas tank which had jarred loose tore open spraying gasoline into the hot desert night air. The side of the truck ground on the pavement showering sparks like a welder’s grinding wheel igniting the gasoline as the truck slid to a stop. The moon rose as it has for millennia, nearly full, illuminating the gradually rising terrain, rising to touch the sky in the Rocky Mountains. Stillness marked the land less than fifty miles from the site of the greatest of the Native Americans’ victories near what is now known as, of all things, Custer State Park. Unconsciously, Tim’s fingers grasped the pamphlet with the five clans of the Menominee Nation, pulling it from his pocket where it fell onto the dreamcatcher as the newly mounted tire quit spinning and the flickering flames from the burning truck cast shadows across his face like the campfires of his ancestors had for over a thousand generations. Harlan is Trades Program Coordinator at CMN.
Respect - Melissa Wilber Melissa is a CMN student in the Liberal Studies program.
Shannon - Sadie White Sadie is a CMN student in the Liberal Studies program.
Dosage - Ryan Winn She said, “Love me, but not too much.” She said, “Hold me, but not so tight.” She said, “Fix me, but not so it’s permanent.” She said, “A drug can be either medicine or poison.” “The difference is in the dosage.” She said, “The same is true for expressions of love.” She said, “The same is true of my empathy.” Ryan is Chair of the Humanities Department, oversees CMN’s annual play writing and theater productions, and is a faculty member . 67
Thailand Market - Elyssa Hawk Leaving my home for the Thai market on a dry hot day on the back of a moped is what I looked forward to daily; just a place that was another chore for the maid. I clung to the house maid as she twisted the handle for speed. The hair whipped my face, stinging it. Even so, it was better than sitting still at the stoplight in the stale heat of the afternoon on my extremely white skin. Over the three train tracks I clenched my eyes shut waiting for my “bum” to be bumped around on the worn out cushion that is practically no more. There was the faint smell of yummy food and the sounds of clucking chickens. Who would want to buy a whole chicken and how would you carry it on a moped? Funny thoughts raced through my mind at the pictures that I came up with. Oh yeah, down the hill. Tummy tickle. The colors are now visible. Blue. Green. Red. Yellow. Everywhere you look, beautiful! What would I get for supper tonight? Ugh, gross! Oh my, we just passed a cargo GMC truck full of one of the delicacies of Thailand; the stink fruit. The highly sour bitter smelling fruit seemed to show up at the market following the foreigner. How could that foul thing be tasty? I’m the only one in the whole town who refuses to be drawn by that nasty nose hair curling smell! We walked down the sidewalk to the side entrance of a huge pavilion with about 50 years worth of sun washing the used-to-be-blue tin roof. Before we entered one of the many entrances we passed an older gentleman trying to sell goldfish out of what looked like one of my grandma’s pink plastic tubs from the hospital. Every time he saw me he asked if I was allowed to keep one of the best goldfish ever to be found. I would twist his arm, telling him that our fish had sharper teeth then a vampire, and would gobble up such a fine fish. (Honestly, we had this huge killer fish in a cement tank in one of the yards… it ate rocks! Freaked me out!) The fans click as they rotate blowing glorious delicious smells my way. The shade was inviting as I looked for a young coconut with a tiny umbrella sticking out the side. Well, maybe not the umbrella. Around the corner I knew I would see one of my favorite stalls. Ladies who liked to whisper about the foreigner. I found them delightfully funny as they would argue about what I would pick out. Sawatdee Ka! Their faces twisted their noses crinkled and right then I knew they must be sisters. Shock was always an element when I opened my mouth to speak. 69
Foreigners really rely on people knowing how to speak a bit of English to be able to bargain for food and random tourist crap. Everyone knew numbers. I used the market for a way to test my ever growing vocabulary of the Thai language. They used me as a test of the small amounts of English they thought they knew. Soon conversations at the stalls grew to me speaking Thai and ladies speaking English. What a sight to see! Squawk! Cluck! What? I turned around and there were various chickens locked up in little bamboo cages. My first thought was always who would want to buy one whole live chicken and take it home. Here in Si Sa Ket, so I was told. Many people buy them live and butcher them themselves. I guess it is cheaper. Still an American I like my meals to be partly prepared. A wide range of people were maneuvering through the market. Most people had favorite stalls for certain items, as did I. There were three stalls that I favored for different reasons. The most amazing stalls didn’t come to the market until the sun lowered in the sky and the darkness rolled in. Calories were not being counted when my taste buds dragged me through the scattered crowds of people to the carts. Ro-tee is a crepe like pastry that is made before your eyes on a round hot stone. I always ask for sliced bananas and sweetened condensed milk, although you can get it in a variety of ways. It doesn’t sound like much, however, my mouth waters just thinking of the yummy dessert. Snack in the bag, nice and warm against my leg, and then I do a 180 degree turn facing the opposite direction to head for dessert number two. (It is Friday night so I allow myself both since I won’t be back at the market until Monday after school. Weekends were my adventure day outside of the town.) This next cart wasn’t always there every night. Tonight the layer of Christmas lights that wrapped around the top was a warming sight. Here you get cold coconut milk with ice cubes in a plastic bag that we would see a child carrying out the pet store with a fish in. I found it extremely odd the first time I was handed a thin bag of liquid. I was afraid it was going to leak out over my clothes. You also get to choose some jelly/gummy things, I never found out what they were really, that would also be added to the bag. Again it doesn’t sound like much. Then again these stalls are the reason I venture to the market once my homework is done. Hmm… you can’t write a paper on a empty stomach now can you?
So many of my favorite memories were created outside of the borders of the U.S. of A. The magical orient is exactly that, Magical! It is a place I still dream of yet today. Elyssa is student in the Bachelorâ€™s Degree program in Business Administration at CMN, and is looking forward to her next international adventure.
Yellow Rash - Purple Spots
(If you see purple spots, get to the doctor)
- D. Kakkak A professional photographer, Dale works at the College of Menominee Nation. 72
Pamatesēw - Racquel Boyd Frost covers the ground. The first good snow is yet to come, but the earth is frozen hard. She enters the lodge, smiling. It’s her first visit to this clan this year. The circular lodge hugs the fire’s warmth, keeping it in a way square homes can’t. She settles into her place in the west, the warmest spot in a wekiam. The soft, tanned tips of her māhkasenon peek out beneath her wool blanket. Everyone waits in earnest for the traveler to begin. She is renowned among the clans for her ability to give life to the old stories that swim in her mind. The traveler bows her head. Everyone is silent except the fire. It crackles and dances, casting the lights and shadows of its movements around the circle. She disappears beneath her robe. At once she reappears, the leather mask adorned; she’s storyteller now. Young children snuggle nearer their mothers, older children lean in closer for a better look. We watch and listen. Rock forward and back, sing. A lullaby, verse after verse. The sun sets, cycling endlessly in a pattern that weaves in and out, fading from light to darkness. A ceaseless pattern of purple, blue, red, orange, yellow, and back again, sometimes adding magenta or maroon. Winnow grain, waving forward and back. Sing a prayer to the seed. Give thanks, repeating word after word. The sun arcs its path across the sky as wind scatters husk, swirling to the ground. Round basket, moving constantly. Toss the rice round, catch it up, throw it again. Grind corn, laboring forward and back. Sing to the corn, to give thanks or to make work pleasant, or to the child in the cradleboard. Their path is a circle, the grinding stones, the one curved to fit the other. Constant shaping, slowly, circle back, forth, and around, grinding meal as day turns to night and back again. Scrape hides, stooped and bent. Drag the blade forward and bring it back. As you do this, sing or hum, or pray. Be glad for this work. You have been provided for. Stretch, scrape, and sing. Boil rice with meat, stir forward and back around. Serve rice, pass it around. Eat and be satiated. Pray, and be thankful. You have everything you need to sustain life. 73
The night fades in bands of color across the sky. If you mark them out, you see the pattern. Purple, maroon, red, orange, yellow, white, yellow, orange, red, maroon, purple. Forward and back, like a circle, it’s round. These same colors stripe the evening and morning skies. It is a blanket; wrap it round you. Hold your lover tight beneath it in the night. See your wife, her body is round. Her breasts, her hips, her eyes. In the turning of the moon, her belly grows round. The seasons turn. A child is born. The cycle of life from birth to maturity begins. You will complete the cycle to death, but first you will see your grandchildren come ‘round. The earth circles around the sun, marking off time like a clock, circling and circling and circling. Its journey makes a song, each verse beginning at each season, chanting the same song on and on and on. The constant movement of sunrises and sunsets makes colors like an Indian blanket. Colors fading in and out from purple to maroon, to red, orange, yellow, to white, then back to yellow, orange, red, maroon, to purple again. Hold the blanket around yourself, forming a circle, sacred, protecting… Better still, hold a little one, warm him, protect her in the circle. If you have no little one, then wrap the blanket ‘round your love. Encircled in each other’s arms there is strength, warmth, and sacredness. Hold one another ‘til the sun rises. When spring comes ‘round, harvest sap. Give thanks in prayer and song. Process syrup and sugar, stir constantly round, round, round till it’s just right. The liquid flakes to sugar, sweet and good. Summer comes back around. Time to gather sweet berries, plump and round. Purple and blue, Magenta and Red, the blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. They make beautiful dyes and put smiles in children’s eyes. What a good thing given you. Give thanks and sing. Before summer’s end, bring together voices around the drum. It’s time to dance and celebrate life. The powwow circle needs dancers; wrap yourself in a shawl colored like an Indian blanket. Dance around and around and around, twirling in circles, circles, circles, keeping time. The Harvest Moon succeeds the high of summer. Leaves falling around, around, around circling toward the ground. The green of summer fades to gold and then orange, and red, and brown. The seasons make a pattern of colors like an Indian blanket fading from darkness to light.
The golden splendor of autumn transitions slowly to the pretty white of winter, fading colors like an Indian blanket. The earth turns round keeping time and an endless succession of color, like an Indian blanket. Weaving white then yellow, then orange, red and purple. Back again from purple, to red, orange, yellow, and white. It’s winter time. Time for repose. Keep warm. Wrap the universe, the heavens, life around your elder. It will shelter her while outside, the winter howls, moaning the song complete, the cycle of one year and beginning another, moving forward and back time, and time, and time again. Creator likes circles. He built the universe in them, crafting circles upon circles upon circles unending. Look around. Everywhere are circles. The stars, the sun, the moon, the planets, the fruits of plants, the animals all have the same roundness of form you have. Even if a blanket looks flat, it is round as earth. Put it around you. Hold it tight. Inside the circle, you live. “Spring’s come back around. Can you feel it enlivening your blood, moving it, stirring it like the sap of a maple? Make sugar, suckle the sweet cakes. Now this is living…” Racquel is a 2011 CMN graduate. “Pamatesēw” was originally published in the 2011 Student Edition of the Tribal College Journal, having placed in the top entries in the student writing contest.
She Took the Sun with Her - Delores Grignon Damn, that sun is hot! It’s too early for the sun to beat down that hard. The water comes out of the pump feeling like ice, but the metal of the milk can is warm, causing it to sweat and be slippery. I hated hauling water! Fill up the tub, fill a pan for cooking, fill for the sake of having the can full. My sister was an ole pro; she filled the can without complaint, and dragged me behind her. I hated that! Every morning it was the same thing: wake up, go outside, listen to the birds sing, scope out the footprints in the dew, and look for something to eat. On good days Mom was there, and the smell of powdered eggs cooking or French toast, sometimes with a little vanilla in the mix. She’d hum while cooking, stopping only to yell out the goals she set for us that day. It always included a good house cleaning first. If that didn’t take too long we’d have an adventure, finding giant snails in the creek, or swimming to the island at the far end of the lake. It was fun to see what it looked like after a year of seasons. Then there were the gray days. Big billowing gray clouds floated in the sky. Fog slowly retreated back to the brush. Birds didn’t sing as loud or maybe they slept in. It seemed too cold to look for tracks in the dew, and the outhouse seemed a mile away. On those days, no eggs were cooking, no one hummed, and worst of all my big sister was in charge. This always meant we (the younger, less powerful) had to do the cleaning. We never bothered with hauling water, because no one cooked, no one made us wash up, and there was enough to drink. My sister bossed us around for a few hours before she’d get gussied up to go off with friends. She told us to stay there and behave. Who was she to tell us what to do? She wasn’t there. She didn’t know what was going on. It was just me and my little sister. I was the big sister for the day. We could play all day long, anything she wanted. Instead of a sit-down meal with veggies, we could eat commot fruit out of the can while watching TV. My favorite show was on at 6:00 pm, and I could watch it without being interrupted to bathe in that damn wash tub that made me smell like metal. There was fun to be had! It’s 1:00 pm and we are still in our jammies. “C’mon, Sister,” I say, “shall we go swimming?” “No, I don’t wanna; it’s too gray out,” she tells me. “The water must be cold and dark. You can’t see the turtles.” 77
“Oh that’s an old story; there ain’t no turtles,” I protest. “Mom wouldn’t have us swim to the island if there were killer turtles in that lake.” “How do you know? Why would people make up stories about turtles snapping off toes if it never happened? I don’t want to go swimming, and you can’t make me!” Boy, what a ruckus! It was just an idea. Our big sister would make us go. She made things sound exciting. She turned something you shouldn’t do into something you had to try! If that didn’t work there was always brute force. I decide we can try something else. “Let’s go outside; get dressed, okay?” We play house, but her babies keep crying; that is no fun. We climb trees and use the skinny ones to lower ourselves to the ground. We race and I pretend to lose. We draw elaborate homes in the dirt and pretend to be rich. We call each other “Dah-ling,” but end arguing who is richer. After a while we go inside to eat. She has the fruit cocktail; I have the plums. We watch TV, fall asleep. I wake up and notice the sun peeking through the clouds just above the lake. Just that small ray of light seems to warm things up a bit. My little sister is still sleeping; she looks so cute. Geez, she is hard to entertain though. My older sister is outside, I can tell. I can hear her giggling. She would be batting her long eyelashes no doubt. She probably has some young fella hanging on her every word, wishing she would show him the slightest interest in a kiss. I steal a peek out the window. “Get back in the house!” she yells. There she sits, with her long brownish-blonde hair and green eyes. Bossing me again. Oh well, I’d better straighten up the house before she comes in. I need to clean up my little sister, the commot cans, and the mess we made in the bathroom. I think I’ll try to heat up some food left in the refrigerator, too. The sun will be going down soon, so I put my little sister in her pajamas, warm up some food, and settle her down at the table. My big sister comes in the house and looks in the kettle to see what is warming up. She takes a plate, and begins telling me and my little sister all about her day. We cuddle up on the couch with a blanket while she spins stories about handsome boys and pretty Menominee girls laughing and talking. They played games by “The Roots” and teased each other with silly jokes. I wish I was older.
The sky is filled with pinks and purples now. Tomorrow will be a good day, I think to myself as I doze off to the voice of Johnny Carson and a car coming up the driveway. It must be Mom. Delores is a 2004 CMN graduate. “She Took the Sun With Her” was originally published in the 2012 Student Edition of the Tribal College Journal, having placed in the top entries in the top entries in the magazine’s student writing contest.
The College of Menominee Nation is an accredited Land Grant institution that enrolls American Indian students from dozens of tribes across the continent and non-Indian students from many neighboring communities in Wisconsin. Chartered by the Menominee People, the College infuses its educational programs with American Indian culture, preparing students for leadership, careers and advanced studies in a multicultural world. Learn about the Collegeâ€™s B.A., B.S., A.A. and A.A.S. degree programs; technical/trades diploma offerings, and Sustainable Development Institute at the CMN website: www.menominee.edu
Celebrating 20 Years of Nation Building ~ One Student at a Time ~ 1993-2013
Published on Oct 31, 2013
Feather Chronicles Fall 2012, College of Menominee Nation's literary magazine of short stories, poems, photos, and other creative work.