“I had always seen things out of the corner of my eye. A shadowy figure who turned out to be a bush with a lamp post behind it, or a cat where none should be that was actually a pile of laundry. It’s that feeling you get when you have had little sleep and your imagination is doing its best to interpret the world while being handicapped by fatigue. Sometimes we are startled and sometimes we ignore it. Maybe, we forget what we have seen?” – Dr. Eldon Rook
There is nothing more comforting than watching the sunrise over the reservation. The sun creeping in, sweeping over the land waking up what is left of a culture that most people only learn about in the historical accounts of its destruction. In my early days I spent time with my grandfather learning of our spiritual heritage and respect for the land. He would tell me stories of the Weindingo and the Winter Wife. I came to love our culture and the Chippewa way of life.
When I became old enough to be considered a man, my Grandfather spoke to me of taking a the tribes traditional vision quest. He said even though it can be a difficult trial it can give clarity to ones pathway in life. After considering this I agreed and the next week me and several of the men from the reservation went into the woods where the sweat lodge sits in a clearing.
Hours passed by the sweat lodge did its work. The heat from the fire and the summer devoured what moister I had. I felt faint, that I might collapse under heats oppression, suddenly the men grabbed me and drug me through the clearing into the the deep woods and warm night. A camp fire had been prepared. I was set in front of it. As they chanted they began to paint on me the marks of the great spirit and the bear. Then the men fell silent and disappeared into the night.
The woods began to creak and moan. Never in my wildest dreams did I think something that large could move so stealthily. It towered above the trees and was wider than three busses. It was a peach to white color, dotted with red bug like eyes, it had an odd symmetry. It moved through the forest without disturbing a single leaf. To move through a tightly packed forest like the ones on the Bad River Bands Reserve it had to be able to flow like water or smoke. Yet it was solid. What few features I could see were distinguishable only when the fire light flickered across it. Then it moved into the woods and the feeling of awe was gone. I knew what I had just seen, but was suddenly unfazed. Like watching a big budget movie and dismissing the special effects. I laid down under the trees that night and slept.
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