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Dust In Her Hair

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  • Dust In Her Hair

    The announcer said, “We have a tie in the young women’s traditional, Southern Plains style, so we have number 341 and 430 that are gong to dance off!” the announcer continued and said, “O.K. Prairie Island Pontiacs from the Windy City, Give Us A Good Contest Song!”

    There was a wail! It was loud and it carried far, and in a flash the drumsticks all came up over their heads and banged down on the drum. They sang a song, an old contest song from years ago. Winny stood there and remembered her father used to sing that song, years ago with his drum group the Southern Cross, she knew it well.

    She turned to start step into the song slowly making her moves slow and graceful, putting the eagle fan to her forehead and moving it to the night sky fanning away and remembering the way her father used to sing.

    The crowd in honor of the young women dancing traditional stood up and took off their hats as the two made their way around the arena, slowly, dancing softly on the hard ground. Their buckskins with long fringes swaying with the steady beat. She could hear him, Toe Jams, his high-pitched voice. “He can sing like the old timers.” She had heard his voice and knew it’s sound.

    She concentrated on the dance, moving in the steps of her mother and grandmother. It was a contest song, but also a dance of unity, of remembrance, hope and of honor; tying in the old and the new, from across the plains they had come and she was ready. She looked to the right and saw her friend “Bones” next to her.

    They had practiced together when they were small growing up side by side. Both of them had lost their fathers as children. These two girls had danced together all these years practicing day in and day out over the long fall and winter. Bones came along side her and the two of them danced side by side.

    Winny looked at her and they were shoulder to shoulder. Bones smiled and they danced step for step, together in perfect harmony. It was like watching twins moving as one. Bones had decided there would be no clear-cut winner and Winny knew it too.

    It is unusual to see two competitors dance as one, because usually they want to win, it is the goal after all those nights and winters of practicing. These two danced in perfect step with each other. Winny cleared her mind and closed her eyes and they danced as they did when they were children and their fathers sang for them.

    They danced around the circle. The sound of the other drums groups hitting their drums in recognition of their desire to finish together pounded out, a sign of respect. Dancing exactly alike was something not seen at all from those competing to win.

    The shrill of eagle bone whistles came up like a flock of eagles taking flight. It was dusty, and in the distance there was thunder and lightning, a steady rumble coming from the Easter sky, then went to the South and then the West. AHO! the crowd said.

    The drum groups, 12 of them all together all began to join in the singing and the high voices of the women singers from the crowd came in and the pow wow grounds was in a place beyond any contest.

    It is what you live to see, the coming together of all the hopes, dreams, best wishes, laughter and tears of a all Indian people joined as one. They all knew the song and they sang it together and it was no longer a contest song but an honor song. And so it was on that night long ago.

    There was no winner it was a tie. Elders and, the young and old came into the arena, Men and ladies it was like dancing on a cloud with the dust, as if they had crossed into a place not many get to go to or even see. In the distance you could almost see their fathers looking on and so proud of these two little girls.

    Afterward the drummer Toe Jams and Winny met at the edge of arbor breaking through the crowed and walked over to the stew stands together to have a burger and coke.

    They walked slowly and talked the night away, "Two Jams" and “Dust In Her Hair”.

    It was time to go home. Toe Jams thought about the wonders of home, the high mountains of the North Country way up high beyond Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories of his mother's people and the other place he knew; the windy streets, asphalt and noisy cars. The Law School called John Marshall that place where words become like iron made from scraps of paper honed on the edge of truth and in old yellow pages thoughts of old men, with twisted whiskers and knowing eyes. Toe Jams stood far from his world way up north

    Tonight he stood in the Rocky Mountains in the Uintahs having driven a day and a night to sing the old songs. He let the cares of the world slip away for just a bit hitting the high notes and learning new songs how they can sing those boys from White River and Rock Boy banging their drums and pounding out their hearts singing as one; just a pow wow some say but no more than that

    He came to sing and found that words of iron and scrap paper were not all there was in the world of men. The sway of a buckskin and a gleam in the eye of girl from a place called Anadarko slew him. She stood there with glistening black hair and a laugh that he would hear all the days of his life. She was just over there standing with her mother. He met her two hours ago and the dancing was soon to be over she would be gone by morning headed back to the Red Earth people

    He looked her way and she saw him gazing at her. She waved him over and he counted each step wondering what to say her mother. She was standing there, a Southern Cheyenne mother in buckskin.

    He thought of the days gone by when he would have come across the plains with stolen horses, a hand braided bridle and with a bustle of eagle feathers taken from the bird by hand in way of the old ones

    He walked up there alone. He thought how would it be to have known her for a few more hours. His drum stick was spinning and he had to hurry, his drum group was packing. They were driving all the way back home to Chicago and he walked slowly. He came up to them counting his steps and in the light of pow wow grounds late that night came to say good bye to this woman "Dust in Her Hair"

    Her mother looked at him as he said, "Hello, I am Toe Jams".

    She laughed to hear it. She smiled at him and said, "Tell me your name?"

    He looked at her and said, "I am David, David Red Elk"

    "My mother comes from Yellow Knife, I am Dene. I am staying in Chicago, the Windy City going to school".

    Winny's mother said, "Help us carry these folding chairs to our campsite".

    He picked them up easily and she quizzed him about his father. He told her he didn't know him. He left them when they he still was small.

    Winny's mother she said, "Änd you mother, tell me about her."

    "She is at home in Yellowknife, she works as a seamstress."

    Winny's mother said, "I spent some time there years ago in Chicago. During Relocation, it took many of us there. My man was an iron worker".

    "Oh," he said,"my father was also one. He worked high steel, that is what my mother told me anyway."

    She took a long look at him as they got to their camp. Something twinkled in her eyes. "Your mother...would her name be Winifred, from Yellowknife, Winifred Bugler!"

    He stopped in his tracks and looked at this woman. He really looked at her and remembered....remembered a picture, it sat up high on the wall. It was from the time he was a child he would see it everyday. He saw it come to life, she was here.

    He said, "I have seen a picture. You were standing with my mother... years was at Haskell, outside one of the dorms. It is all faded."

    The woman stopped and embraced him. "I have found her! I have found her! My friend. My old dear friend. You are her child."

    She stood there and held him for a long time and cried for joy.

    She sat him down and began to tell him a story of how he came to be.

    "Dust in Her Hair" sat down and wondered what was going on. She just sat and listened as her mother said. "It was a night like this...a long time ago...and I was getting ready to dance at Haskell, there was a student pow wow..." and she talked on into the night from there...

    Johnny Rustywire [email protected]
    <a href="http:''">Navajo Spaceships</a>

  • #2
    Geeeeezie pete.......don't leave me hanging here..........then what??????

    Good story........ part about the dance off brought tears and cold chills to me.
    "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume


    • #3
      OK so it was a tie.....then what happened? Haskell rascals.....aye
      *BE EASY*


      • #4
        Awww He!! Naw! What's next!?!?


        • #5
          What is the rest of the story? I got cold chills reading it!!!!!!!!!!
          Becky B.


          • #6
            DAng so far that's good.... you need to continue that baby on and enter it in the next writing contest here!!!!
            Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


            • #7
              I agree! Tell us the rest of the story!
              Courage is just fear that has said it's prayers.


              • #8
                Read Toe Jams before Dust in Her Hair

                You all need to read Toe Jams, it is the first of the story about Dust In Her Hair

                yours truly,

                Johnny RustywireRead Toe Jams before Dust in Her Hair, It is Part One


                • #9
                  Ohhhhhhhhhh I did read it first............I think most of us did........... but we want to know more!!!
                  "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume


                  • #10
                    Awww, your stories are always so wonderful Rustywire! LOL, you must get tired of me telling you that, hahaha. Anyway, i love readin them when you post it on Indianz.


                    • #11
                      Hey Johnny...

                      Hold up wit the story...

                      I gotta go get anudder cup of coffee.

                      Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?

                      "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

                      Mr. Rossie Freeman


                      • #12
                        Come on Paul harvey, tell us what the rest of the story is......*L*

                        ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 50cal
                          Come on Paul harvey, tell us what the rest of the story is......*L*

                          I know right?!

                          Come on wit it!!!
                          SHAKE IT!!!!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Singing Otter
                            Come on wit it!!!
                            Fo' sho!!!

                            Hurrup dude........ don't make us finish writing it for ya!!!!!
                            Last edited by Mato Winyan; 10-07-2005, 02:03 PM.
                            "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mato Winyan
                              Fo' sho!!!

                              Hurrup dude........ don't make us finish writing it for ya!!!!!

                              You did NOT just say fo' sho. You're fired.
                              SHAKE IT!!!!


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