It was January and the spine-chilling cold from harsh winter engulfed the Inuit community. They had to move to warmer locations to beat the weather and arrangements were made for the move. The move was already delayed due to Mama-Bozoh’s delivery.
Chief-Bozoh was pacing petulantly, cracking his knuckles, stress translated into sweat. He intermittently looked at the curtain-door of the teepee-tent, where the ritual to appease the Gods was being performed. He could hear the hissing as water sprinkled over the hot rocks turn to vapor, and the smell of freshly ground Sage, Sweet-grass and tobacco burnt, as part of the ritual made him huff, from breathlessness. Eagles hovered over the sweat-lodge. This is a good omen thought Chief-Bozoh, waiting outside the tent for the Shaman to emerge, to give his verdict.
Shaman emerged from the teepee, looked at the Chief and said, ‘Chief-Bozoh, your wife will deliver twin boys – One with the spirit of a fox and the other with that of a buffalo. The one with fox spirit has to be married to Asibikaashi with the spirit of a horse. However, she has to willingly accept and honor the wedding woes. Only then will your tribe be saved from the wrath of nature. Also, after the wedding, your tribe will find a permanent place to live contravening the spell of seasonal migration.’
‘You mean the Spider-woman with a horse spirit?’
‘Sire, how do I recognize her?’ asked the Chief.
‘She will be an efficient dream-catcher and will have great affinity to Eagles, have Red hair, dove eyed and will be living in the South.’
Chief took a bow and thanked the Shaman for his prediction and offered him reams of tobacco as a gift of honor and walked back to his homestead, wading through three feet of snow. Thoughts clamored his brain as uncertainty and fear engulfed him.
As Bozoh reached his teepee, the mid-wife emerged from the tent with a gleeful smile and said, ‘Mama-Bozoh delivered twin boys and all of them are healthy.’
Bozoh’s thoughts came to a halt immediately and he briskly walked into the tent to greet his family with a smile that stretched beyond his lips and moved into his eyes, glowing.
One of these boys will carry my legacy forward thought the proud father. He took one of them gently into his hands and rocked him in his arms as Mama-Bozoh looked on at the bonding they shared. Chief-Bozoh shared the news the Shaman gave him along with his doubts with his wife.
Mama-Bozoh said, ‘If she is Asibikaashi, she will recognize the fox spirit and will be cautious as to not get close to him. How will this prediction ever work? And if it doesn’t work, we will be stuck with this seasonal migration, leading to no progress for us.’
‘Don’t worry; we have lot of time to think it over. Also, Gods are on our side. I saw eagles hovering over the sweat-lodge where the Shaman offered prayers,’ Chief assured his wife. He laid the one in his arms down and picked the other boy to rock. His eyes tried to recognize the spirits of the boys to know the boy with the fox spirit. He could not.
After three months, they moved south and temporarily settled alongside of the Lakota tribe. The two tribes established good social and economic relations with each other and in no time, they were intermarrying.
Deecee-Lakota emerged out of her teepee. She had a towel in her hand and was drying her freshly washed hair. The warm summer sun glistened through the droplets of water dripping from her hair, as mini rainbows were made along her Red hair. She gently closed her eyes and placed the towel over her head, gave it a whisk with both her hands. She then took it off and spread it out with both her hands and gave it a whip in the air as a mist filled the air. She saw both the spirits – buffalo and fox. She opened her eyes and thought, ‘The day has arrived. I hope I choose wisely to usher in progress for all my people.’
Nana-Bozoh moved restlessly in his bed. His eyes were closed. He perspired like a man walking a nightmare. His agitation accelerated with increased tremors in his body. He then saw the face of a beautiful dove eyed woman. She smiled at him and took the feathers from her hair and made a dream catcher above his head. The nightmare disappeared through the holes and a divine calm slowly came over Nana-Bozoh though the Eagle feathers, hanging at the end of the dream catcher and trickled godliness over his head.
Meemee-Bozoh shook his brother saying, ‘Bro, wake up. We’ll be late for the competition.’
Nana-Bozoh woke up with a jolt and looked confused at his brother trying to comprehend everything that just happened. He slowly got out of the bed and walked into the washroom in a state of trance.
Chief-Bozoh was on the stage welcoming all the Pow-wow dancers and declared the bi-annual dance meet of First Nations open. He wished both his sons luck with his eyes as a smile touched both his ears. He hoped Deecee-Lakota and one of her sons win the competition, knowing the winners would be married to each other. He has already recognized Deecee-Lakota to be the chosen one for his fox spirit son.
The competition began and one by one each of the dancers was eliminated with Deecee-Lakota and the two brothers being the last contenders. The young men look at the woman standing in a long skirt with mini-mirrors and bells studded with a red tank top, wearing an amulet on her right arm and a black wig with Eagle feathers in her hair. They both wanted Miss First Nations to be their wife and vowed to themselves to emerge as winners.
The two men danced like it was the last dance of their life. After three hours Meemee-Bozoh was declared the winner and was married to Deecee-Lakota. However, the seasonal migrations did not stop.
One day, Nana-Bozoh saw Deecee giving touch-ups to her make up and said, ‘Beauty is not skin deep you know?’
‘Aww, sour grapes story eh?’ she said teasing her brother-in-law.
She turned around and continued with her work and looked at him through the mirror and said, ‘What is wrong with beauty being skin deep? You want to have a pink liver and a purple pancreas dripping beauty is it?’ she mocked.
He looked at her defeated and gave her a dry smile. It was then she recognized the true fox spirit in him and recognized the blow of fate that made her choose the man with a buffalo spirit.
She wanted to change it as it would lead all First Nations’ people into progress and prosperity. She looked through all the books on First Nation’s Law and finally came up with a plan.
Meme-Bozoh and Nana-Bzhoh stood before the fire as the Shaman performed the rites for the bow-and-arrow ceremony. Decee-Lakota was dressed in bridal costume with reams of flowers around her neck.
Meemee took out his bow and arrow and shot the arrow into the sky and then laid the weapons on the ground and knelt before all the elders seated in the arena and sang a hymn. Later he stood up and looked at his brother. Nana took the bow and arrow from the ground and shot an arrow and did the same as his brother. The Shaman then handed the groom and the bride garlands to exchange and Deecee moved close to Nana and they garlanded each other. They were declared wife and husband.
Shaman said, ‘All the children born out of this marriage hence forth will be the sons and daughters of Nana until the next bow and arrow ceremony. After the next ceremony all children born will be the off-springs of Meemee.’
Deecee-Lakota walked into the teepee with both her husbands, happy she was able to break the spell of migration, welcoming the new future with hope.