War and History Fiction posted September 18, 2015


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oy-si-yo

by flylikeaneagle


"Reina, did you know that you touched the hearts of a nation? A simple act of kindness has spread through out the land. Your people will never be forgotten. Reina, did you know?" The Great Spirit spoke as Reina stood up. She no longer felt weak and tired from walking. She spread out her arms to hug the unseen Great Spirit and disappeared into the light. Her body laid upon the green grass.


O Great Spirit, shine your Light
Brightly in the day and night.
Heal our hearts and land they stole,
Our sad stories must be told.

Oy-si-yo, oy-si-yo,
Hello, let's be friends.
Oy-si-yo, oy-si-yo,
Our stories will never end.
Oy-si-yo...

Hear our cries and see our tears
The souls of man are lost we fear.
O Great Spirit, shine your Light
Brightly in the day and night.

Oy-si-yo...

"Why does Grandma sing this song, Momma?" Sally Whitedove watched Grandma Bluecloud as she watered and tended to the wildflowers and small vegetable garden outside of her house. She seemed to be dancing up and down as she sang.

"My mother remembers the sadness and pain, my precious daughter," Betsy Bright Star replied. "We once connected with the American people in the South. The Europeans came to America. They settled on our land. We learned their ways. Our ancestors were peaceful. They worked the fields into fine cotton and tobacco farms. We had large orchards and cattle grazed our pastures. Our people were peace- loving, attended Cherokee schools and played sports."

"I know that Grandma liked to sew. I liked the large bird in her colorful quilts."

"Yes, she is very bright and talented with her hands. She has taught us her ways. We must remember her stories, Sally. After dinner, we will ask her about the meaning of the large bird. Now, help me make dinner."

Grandma Bluecloud smiled at her precious family as she shared the story of the trails. "My sister, Reina, and I were very talented in painting," she stated. "Yes, we would find the perfect small stones. We washed them in the river near our home."

"Reina and I gathered wildflowers and made paint with colors from the petals. We applied the bright colored paint on our faces, clothes and rocks. We were both artists with our horsetail paint brushes." Grandma Bluecloud smiled. "Yes, people would ask us to paint designs for them, We earned a little extra money to buy fabric at the markets. We made our own clothes and quilts. People liked our bright colored paints and designs."

I looked over at Grandma Bluecloud, who was rocking back and forth in her chair, tears flowing. The family gathered to hear her stories.

"Tell us more, Grandma." I looked into her brown doe eyes. "Tell us the stories that made you sad."

"Yes, my dear Whitedove, you are a bright star like your mother." She looked distressed as she wiped her tears.

I looked at my Grandmother's tanned weathered hands. Her eyes seemed tired and sad.

"My sister, Reina, and I washed stones in the river. We saw men in military uniforms come near our home. We took our bags of stones and ran barefoot back to our home. The men told us to leave. We no longer were allowed to stay on our beloved farms. We ran inside and grabbed our paint bags, extra clothes, blankets and shoes. We saw our parents talk to the men. They had guns and the law on their side. My parents had to leave their home and farmland at gunpoint. The white men found gold in our state of Georgia and wanted the Indian land for themselves."

"The next thing I knew is that we were walking, seemed like miles," Grandma Bluecloud continued. "We gathered at a large farm corral. It was already full of native people, not cattle, our people were penned up." She started crying.

I saw my mom hold Grandma's hands. "Do you want some tea, Momma?"

Grandma sipped the hot tea, "Thank you. Yes, babies and older people died along the trails. We didn't have much to eat, mainly dried corn meal and pumpkin. They wouldn't let our men fish or hunt for game to eat. When we camped at night, we had no fires in the woods or the wilderness. It got very cold at night so we huddled together. We walked for miles in hot weather, rainstorms, snow and freezing temperatures. We sang songs to our Great Spirit to encourage us. So many died along the way. The soldiers pointed their guns at us as we walked. Some of our people were offered rides on the wagons when they were weak. The food was of short supply for so many people. The weather conditions made the trip longer than they prepared for. The soldiers took our babies when they cried. Then, they hit them on the trees. Our elderly and weak ones dropped and died. We cried and walked on."

"How did you survive, Grandma?" Sally asked. She watched her grandma pull the colorful quilt around her shoulders. Her beautiful black hair was braided. She wore soft blue sweat slacks and jacket to keep warm. I admired the painted, beautiful bird artwork designs on her clothes.

"What happened to your sister, Reina?" Sally asked her Grandma.

"Reina and I painted wildflowers on stones. Whenever we saw someone die, we would say a prayer and placed painted stones in their hands. We wanted to keep their memory alive. Many of our people died from hunger, bad water and white man's diseases." Grandma recalled. "Our God honored our prayers. White wildflowers grew where people died. Many of us saw the visions of The Great Spirit wearing seven eagle feathers on his head. We saw seeds fly down from Heaven onto the land. Our tears watered these seeds. They were transformed into white rose flowers where people died. Sometimes, we were in areas for weeks waiting for the weather to get better. We wept and grieved for our loved ones."

People gathered and listened to Grandma Bluecloud. They sat close and held the younger children in their laps. Grandma sang her songs. We listened and sang along.

"We walked and walked, never able to stop.
Always walked from sunrise to sunset,
never able to stop and say good-bye.
We walked and walked and walked.

Our babies cried and with the soldiers died,
our loved ones dropped and we all cried.
Our Spirit kept us strong on the trails,
as we walked and walked and walked."

"Yes, Reina and I placed stones in the hands of our loved ones, family and friends, who died along the way. We were teenage sisters with dreams of a future. Reina discovered that I was pregnant by Howling Wolf. The soldiers killed him when he tried to hunt some deer for us. They thought he was escaping. He was a skilled hunter."

Our Great Spirit appeared to us at the Great Mississippi River, in a vision. We saw the headdress of eagle feathers on our God. He raised his arms up and spread them over the wide river. He covered us with His feathers and gave us strength to go on. The White Men came with large steam boats to take us to our new land in Oklahoma."

I asked, "What happened to your sister, Reina? Did she cross over with you, Grandma?"

"Reina, precious Reina, gave me her bags of stones that we had gathered at the river back home. We stood side by side. Reina smiled and hugged me as she said, "I love you, my sister." She told me she wanted to keep a part of Indian land with her as she traveled on our journeys. The rocks that we used on the fallen loved ones were what we found along the path. Reina's rocks were gold nuggets from Georgia."

"When we were looking up at the Great Spirit, Reina also looked up. He smiled and took her home." Grandma Bluecloud started to cry. "Yes, Reina gave me her food so that my baby and I would make the trip over the river. I didn't notice that she was getting weak. She just fainted and was dead on the green grass. Reina's spirit and the Great Spirit became one."

"She died, Grandma?" I asked looking at her braided long hair and sad eyes.

"Yes, my dear, Whitedove, she flew into the arms of The Great Spirit"

My mom asked, "What did you with the gold nuggets Reina gave you?"

"I hired the Indian men and built a home for my new family. You, Betsy Bright Star, were the baby I carried along the trail. You were born after the house was built. I eventually added separate cabins for a bed and breakfast business. I wanted to have a warm place for travelers to stay and share their stories."

"Is this how Cornerstone Corral started, Grandma?" I asked. "Why do you use the bird symbol on your quilts and artwork?"

"This, my child, is the Phoenix bird that died and came back stronger. This symbol was on our newspapers back home. We had hope along the trail as we sang songs and huddled together. Even though Reina and others died, we wanted to share their art work. songs and stories. I started Cornerstone Corral to honor our people and their memories. Their lives were seeds on the land. We must remember the harvest of joy in our new land. Now, we can trail ride and share the beauty of Oklahoma with others. I taught many young ladies like you both, to design crafts in the way of our Cherokee people."

Bright Star smiled. "Yes, our heritage lives on with our memories and hope for our future. Our Great Spirit blessed the work of our hands and protected us. This land is like the land that we left. Our stories and memories live on. Yes, we must remember all the lives lost of the Cherokee, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks and Seminoles on the Trail of Tears."

"Oy-si-yo! Let our friendship begin! Oy-si-yo!" Grandma smiled at all of us!

"Oy-si-yo! The people sang as they danced in circles around the fire. "Oy-si-yo! Oy-si-yo!"

















Ghost contest entry

Recognized


Resources are from History Stories of The Trail of Tears from the National Park Services, History Channel, Wikipedia, U tube and Native Indian family stories.

Over forty treaties were signed to give up the Native Indian land to the United States. President Andrew Jackson set a policy to relocate the Indians from the eastern states to land on the other side of the Mississippi River during the years 1830-1850. Gold was discovered in Georgia. The Native Indians were moved out of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. Thirteen groups of Cherokee left the land east of the Mississippi. The last group was led by Chief John Ross, leader of the Cherokees. Sequica developed a written language for the Cherokees, a newspaper called, "The Phoenix," and schools for the children.

The Phoenix bird is mentioned in Job 29:18. God multiples Job's days like the Phoenix. Hebrew words are khol and Milcham.

I tried to fictionalize the history stories. I pray that your souls may be in health and remember the lives of the lost. May you have hope and friendship. Oy-si-yo!





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