This is what I remember:
My two sisters and I belong to an Indian tribe of the Sioux; our father was a strong and respected brave. He was called Napayshni, which means courageous and strong, by our people,
My sisters and I did not have the same mother; we each of us had a different mother but the same father.
My eldest sister’s name was Chumani, which means dewdrop.
Middle sister’s name was Ehawee, which means laughing maiden–quite right for middle sister, who always had a smile on her face and a lilting laughter.
I, youngest and lowly sister, was called Magaskawee, which means graceful. The sisters liked to tease me about my name because I was anything but graceful, always stumbling or tripping over something.
My mother, Hantaywee, whch means faithful, mothered all three of us. Chumani’s mother had been killed by white soldiers. Ehawee’s mother died giving birth to her. Thus it was that my mother was mother to all three of us. We loved being together and were fairly inseparable.
We lived near the waterfall where we could bathe in the waters and where our tipis were close to each other. Young braves would be sentinals a short distance from our camp, where they could watch for approaching enemy and hurry back to sound a warning. Women and young children would hide amongst the rocks, out of sight, while braves prepared for battle. Very young children were taught from birth not to make a sound when the women and children were hiding from the soldiers.
Ours was a peaceful tribe but that mattered not at all to the soldiers, who came to butcher people in including the women and children and babies. We all knew the stories brought to us by other Indian braves who managed to escape from the invaders. It was the land of our forefathers and their forefathers before them but the white man coveted our lands and sent soldiers to murder the tribes.
My grandfather, father of Napayshni, had the gift of seer. He knew of the advance of white soldiers long before they arrived. He had visions of things to come; sometimes he was deeply saddened by a vision; Many of the elders of the tribe ridiculed Grandfather before these came to pass.
“We are strong and powerful” the braves would boast. “Our arrows will stop any who come here” Not until the white soldiers came did they acknowledge grandfather’s vision.
In a vision, grandfather saw the land littered with dead carcasses of buffalo, as far as the eye could see. Our tribe refused to believe such a thing could come to pass. Grandfather also saw a big black monster, bellowing smoke, a monster that could go faster than any horse. The braves roared with laughter over such a thing.
when she reached her sixteenth birthday, eldest sister, Chumani, began to have visions. Her visions were nor like anything Grandfather had seen. Chumani saw a white father who was not a white father, who came to earth in a flying canoe that was not a canoe.
Ehawee and I listened intently to Chumani’s vision. “How can that be?” we asked. A flying canoe that is not a canoe? a canoe that can fly like a bird?”
Chumani, her head aching from visions would become abrupt with us. “I don’t know!” she cried. “I only know what I can see! and the lights! the flashing lights on the flying canoe!”
And then the white soldiers did come and butchered our braves, our women and children. My sisters and I hid deep inside a cave within the rocks. My mother, Hantaywee was slain as she tried to run for safety. My father was slain as he tried to rescue my mother. The soldiers set fire to our tipis and when anyone tried to escape, the soldiers killed them. We hid deep inside the rocks. Chumani sat on the ground, her eyes closed, seeing it all unfold in her mind’s eye, telling us what she saw.
When the soldiers had killed everyone and burned all our tipis, they returned to their fort. Chumani said “the soldiers are filled with joy, boasting of the many Indians they had killed, even babies and children. There will be a feast in the fort, to celebrate the many murdered Indians…I cannot look any longer,” she moaned.
Ehawee and I went back outside where the fires from the tipis were dying down. We found the bodies of our mother and father. We were unable to find the body of respected grandfather.
When we had done what we could do, we returned to the cave and found Chumani; “The flying canoe is coming for us” she said. “they will save us and take us beyond the reach of white soldiers.”
So it was that we walked beyond of all the dead bodies of our people until we came to a wide open space, where we watched until a large flying canoe came down to land. A place inside the flying canoe opened up and steps appeared from inside the canoe and reached the ground. A voice beckoned us n the voice of the Sioux to come forward and be saved.
“But our people!” Chumani cried, “Nearby, there are countless bodies of our people, including our mother and father, who we have buried–but there are so many others–”
“Be not of sorrow. the bodies of all your people have disappeared- no trace of them will ever be found. No one will know what happened to them. it will give the soldiers much to think about”
I no longer remembered what happened after that –whatever transpired on the flying canoe has been removed from our memories. Long afterwards, my sisters and I were brought back to the land of the Sioux. Much was changed. Houses had been built and we saw the big black monster that view smoke. We learned it was called a locomotive. It could go faster than a horse.
We are the last of the Sioux with pure blood. what now? We asked ourselves. Chumani refuses to reveal her visions any longer. Ehawee is no longer smiling and laughing.. Only the water with the waterfalls remains, no longer stained with the blood of our people.
There is no trace of a battle between white soldiers and Sioux Indians anywhere.”At one time”, Chumani told us, “many white soldiers were found near where our village had been. all of the soldiers were dead. No Indians were among the dead soldiers. People around the area avoided it and would walk miles out of their way to prevent going through that place. People said it was haunted. Some people reported seeing a very old Sioux indian man around the haunted area. Soldiers claimed to have tried to capture the old man, but as soon as they got near the area where he was last seen, he simply disappeared”