I sit by the fire. Mami is making supper and Papi is chopping wood. The
warmth of the fire makes me feel warm. I know this will not last. It’s September
and the leaves are coming down fast which means winter is on its way. In the past
years we would play in the snow and play games, but this year Mami thinks I’ve
come of age to be able to start cooking and sewing with her. I can’t wait to learn
her recipes. Awww the warmth of the fire. Aponi comes running to me. It’s also
my job in the family to take care of her. I have 3 siblings, Aponi is 5, Kota is 7,
and Kaya is 8. Pretty soon they all come in to feel the warmth of the fire before
it’s too late. Our tribe is circled around the fire because without fire there would
be no sun and without the sun there would be no earth. Our fire is very
important. Mami and Papi come over now and we all sit by the fire, staring into
the red and orange blazing fireball. For a moment it’s peaceful, and I forget all
what is happening. But soon that moment ends. “Time for dinner.” says Mami in
a quiet tone. We all went over to where the food was and got our food. We had
rice, corn, and buffalo meat. It was so good. “Thank you Mami.”, I say. Mami
always tries to teach us good manners so one day when I marry I will marry the
best of the best. Yuck! Mami and Papi say I should start thinking of marrying,
but that’s well….. disgusting. I am friends with all of the boys in the village and I
don’t want to marry anytime soon. I am trying to focus on Aponi. She is so
young and she doesn’t have to worry on getting married. I watch as she plays
with her dolls. “May I be excused?”, I ask to Mami and Papi. They nod. I walk
out of the tipi. The wind has picked up. It sends shivers down my spine. I start to
walk around. I see my friend Dakota. “Hi Dakota.”, I say to her. She runs up to
me. “Hey Enola. Guess what I just heard! There’s fresh blackberries! We have to
go get some.”, she says. Blackberries are super rare in our tribe and there are sort
of like a dessert to us. “Sure!”, I say. We run into the woods. Dakota and I have
been friends since we were little. We used to play with handmade dolls and build
teepees out of scrapes, but since we are older now we don’t get to see each other
as much. Dakota has a baby sister named Awana, and so she must take care of
her. I also am very busy caring for my sisters too. Finding time is hard. I see the
blackberries. Ohhh they look so good. We each pick one and savor the flavor
trying to make them last. I close my eyes. I can feel the flavors dance on my taste
buds. Dakota and I look at each other. We both can feel it. We promise to come back tomorrow and eat one more. We walk over to the stream and wash our
mouths out so no one will suspect a thing.
As I lay in bed I think about the fire and its warmth. I wish I could feel it
now. I try to think of it but I can’t. I feel Aponi come closer to me. She must be
cold too. I wish there was fire now. The chill makes me awake. I try to close my
eyes, but Aponi shivering. Which make me shiver too. Thump thump thump. I
hear someone moving. Aponi has finally gone to sleep and so it must be Mami
or Papi. I see one spark then another, pretty soon there’s a fire. The heat calms me
down and I can see Aponi. Her lips are purple and her fingertips are blue.
“Enola”, she whispers in a small voice. She knows that she is safe and that there
When the sun rises we rise with it. It’s always the same routine. Mami
makes breakfast and Papi goes hunting. As for me I must get Kaya, Kota, and
Aponi washed up. It’s way harder than you think. “Come one you guys,
kuyana!” , I say to them. They listen for a split second, but then it’s like I’m not
there. I grab their hands and put them in the water. Mami says I need to be in control, but they never listen. She also says I need to never doubt myself and not
to let them boss “me” around. It’s easier said than done. “Time to eat.”, Mami
says to us. We all walk over and start to eat. Breakfast is so good. I eat fast so I
can go and sneak a blackberry from the bush with Dakota. “May I leave?”, I ask
quickly. Mami nodes. I run out of the teepee, Dakota is waiting for me. “Come
on!”, she says to me. We run off into the woods again. This time it feels different,
alter in a way. I know Dakota feels it too. I have this feeling that I’m being
watched over. I turn around slowly to see all around me. Nothing but trees and
bushes. But something caught my eye. It was a flash of silver and it was
reflecting off the sun. I quickly spun around, but it was gone. “Dakota did you
see that?”, I ask. “No, but this doesn’t feel right. I’m going back.”, she said. We
walk back without our blackberries.
I find myself by the fire a lot now. I spend this time thinking. Thinking
about winter. Winter is always hard now since the settlers, but it’s becoming so
difficult. I hear Mami and Papi say that this winter is going to be trouble. I hope
that’s a lie. In the winter there’s disease that hits and many die. Grandma got sick
and went to the stars. I hold my breathe and make a wish. I have a superstition
that if I hold my breathe my wish will come true. What childish nonsense.
“Enola? Are you ok?”, a voice asks. I open my eyes. It’s Aponi. “Hau Aponi.”, I
say to her. “Why does summer have to end?”, she asks in a whiny voice. “Well, I
don’t know.”, I say. ‘Oh.”, Aponi says quietly. We sit there for a moment and
hold each others hands. I think she understands me. Aponi is small for her age
and even though she is 5 I can still hold her. “Hiyu!”, said Kaya and Kota. “You
need to come! I learned ‘magic’!!”, said Kaya. They pull me and Aponi to make
sure we follow them. They lead us down to the water and Kaya grabs a rock and
skips it on the water. It does 3 skips then disappears into the water. “See, see, see!
It walked on water!”, she says. I nod my head slowly. Ohh she has lots to learn. I
have tried many years to skip rocks, but I don’t have good hand movement. The
water is beautiful against the sunset. Each color reflecting on the water. But all the
colors disappear. A big boat appears, the sails covering the sun. It’s huge and about a hundred white men on it. I have heard stories of white man, but never
seen them up close. Papi and Mami where saying that they have taken our land
up by north and they want more. Aponi squeezes my hand in fear. “Lets go.”, I
whisper to them. We tip-toe away. “Mami… by the water….men…”, that’s all I
could say. I was spaced. “Enola, who’s by the water?”, Mami said. “MEN!!!
THEY WERE BIG AND SCARY!” said Kota. For the first time in my life Mami
and Papi were scared. I was scared then too. I tried to relax, but I couldn’t, I
didn’t know what was happening. I wanted to find Dakota. I wanted to tell her
what happened, but my feet wanted the opposite. I was frozen in fear. Aponi was
crying from confusement and Kota was yelling. Also Kaya was talking to Mami.
Papi went and told our chief and Mami told the other families what we had seen.
I tell Aponi to go to the teepee. I go to find Dakota. I found her outside her
teepee. “Dakota, there are white men by the water. Help me spread the news.”, I
tell her. She also seemed in shock. “I heard my papi taking to your papi about a
treaty. I heard it’s about our land.”, she said. My heart stopped. This is our land
and it belongs to us. “Come on we need to talk privately.”, I whisper.
We run into the forest and sit by the blackberry bush. “What did you see?”,
Dakota asked. “Well there was a big boat with about 100 men.”, I said. “What do you think will happen?”, I add on. “I don’t know.”, Dakota said through her lips.
I look at her. Her face is a lot more pale. She seems worried. I grap two
blackberries and give one to her and give myself the other one. We eat it. I taste
it’s sweetness and savor it. “Whatever happens we will be together.”, I say before
When we get back from the blackberry bush everyone’s in their teepee. The
sun has set and its dark outside. The moon is full and bright. I can almost see it
winking at me. Before I go back to the tipi Iwhat another look at the ship. I tiptoe
in my moccasins back to the water. The boat is anchored in the water and there is
smaller boats by the bay. I can see fire that catches the corner of my eye. I walk
over to it careful not to step on a stick. There are voices now, but I can’t make out
the words. This is risky. Why am I out here? I back up and get ready to leave.
CRACK! I stepped on a stick. I run carefully back to the teepee. What have I
The sun comes up and it’s warm rays hit me. Again we had another cold
night. That means winters on its way. Mami and Papi are gone already this
morning. Odd they never told me. Kota, Kaya, and Aponi are still sleeping
peacefully. I slowly get up so I don’t wake them and I sneak out. The village is
quite, well more quiet than normal. I look around. No one’s here except some
children. Where is everybody? It’s a brisk morning. Cold enough to see your
breath in the air. I see smoke where the chief is at. Then it hits me. They all must
be having a tribal meeting! I run toward the center of our village. I bend down so
I can see through the curtain. “What should we do?”, says a voice from inside.
“We should move early. Relocate to winter land.”, said the chief. Everyone says
their ideas and they decide to leave the village. Leave? This is so abnormal. We
never leave early. This is my home. I put my trust in them. Hopefully they know
what they are doing. When I get back Aponi, Kota, and Kaya are just waking up.
Papi taught me to build a fire in case of emergency. So I build one for them. It’s
another September day and I feel the cold wind brush against my face. Our tribe
says wind brings change. I hope that’s not true. I try to act happy around the little
ones so they don’t suspect anything. Mami left us breakfast so we dig into that.
The food is tasteless, but it’s fine. I need Dakota. “I’ll be right back.”, I say to them. I walk swiftly to Dakota’s teepee. “Hello?”, I ask. Dakota comes out. “Hi,
where is everybody”, she says. “They are at a meeting. We might have
to..well..move.”, I whisper. “We can’t this is my home. I wanted Awana to grow
up here and do the things we did in our youth. We can’t, we just can’t move.”,
she says. “I feel you. But it’s not for sure.”, I say.
Mami and Papi come back from the meeting. It’s hard to read their faces.
“Hey guys we need to talk. At the council the chief decided we are going to
move soon. When the sun goes and comes five times we will move. The chief
says they signed a treaty. For our land.”, she said. No this can’t be happening we
can’t move. My whole life is here! I fight the tears. It burns, in my heart too.
Why? Why now? Ugh, this is so unfair. What about Awana and Dakota? The
tears are coming out now. Aponi will never be able to do what I got to do here.
This can’t happen! “Enola, it’s ok.”, Mami says in a calming voice. I nod my
head. “Ok.”, is the only thing I can get out, but it isn’t ok. Nothing is ok,
I sit by the fire outside. It’s still cold out, but the fire helps. Why is my life
changing. I hate change. I really really really don’t want to move. The wind hits my cheek. Winds of change, whispers a voice in my head. Maybe if I hadn’t told
anyone about what I saw by the water, maybe we wouldn’t have to move.
“Maybe it’s for the best.”, says a voice. I turn around. Mami is standing behind
me. I think she knows what I’m thinking. Someday when I’m a mother I’ll be
able to sense others feelings. “Enola listen to me. Our chiefs sold our land to the
pioneers. They say we will have tools and better land. It’s for the best.”, she says.
The way she says the word ‘our’ makes me shiver. I nod back to her. As I lay in
the teepee, Mami’s words float in my head. Our land. I don’t know why it’s
bugging me. I close my eyes and think of all of my memories from my home.
Playing with Dakota, eating blackberries, running in the meadows, and playing
with homemade dolls. I feel as if they will stay here and I will forget my home.
But then again it’s for the best. I hope so. Mami would tell me that things change,
friends leave, but life waits for no one. I guess I don’t want to let go and I wish
time would stop, but it doesn’t.
The day finally arrived. The sun was hiding behind the clouds and the
wind was cold and strong. It was only fitting. “Move out!”, yelled a man. Come
on Enola. Time to go.”, said Mami. “One moment, please.”, I say running. I run
quickly into the woods. I grab two blackberries. I run back to my family. We all
start walking. “Goodbye home”, I whisper under my breath. As we are walking
my feet ache as I carry Aponi. She uses to be light weight, but now she feels like
an elephant. We haven’t had much rest and food, but the sooner we get there, the
sooner I can rest. The sights are beautiful! The leaves are falling as we walk and
gives it a magical feeling. The wind blows and almost knocks me over. It gets
more cold, and my fingertips are turning blue.
As we walked into our new territory there wasn’t many trees or grass. We
all started setting up our teepees. Once we finished there was a big
announcement. “We shall celebrate our new home with a dance to thank the
Gods!”, said the chief. I love our celebrations! The village made a big fire and we
all started dancing. We danced to celebrate fire, our new home, and a good
winter. We danced till sunrise! I had so much fun. I realized that our new home
isn’t even that bad. “Dakota!”, I yell before she goes away. “Hey Enola”, she says. “Hey I have something for you.” I grab a blackberry and give it to here.
“Something to remind you of home.”, I say. She smiles. “Thank you.”, she says.
At that exact moment, I realize that the winds of change aren’t that bad at all.
Sometimes even fun and exciting. I think know I understand Mami’s quote.
“That time will just continue with or without you.” So from now on I won’t hide
from the winds of change. I shall face the wind. From now and for forever, I will
be chasing the wind.