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    Some will see this next story
as quaint and/or amusing; some will see one thing or another; some will see nothing at all. However, if you look into it, this simple story has many facets of Truth within it, all germane, all revealing and filled with little golden nuggets of wonder, if one but takes the time to realize them.


Photo attributed to: Amelia Susman Schultz


Lucy Young, Wintu of Northern California  1939

     “….Although she was nearly blind from cataracts and over ninety years old at the time, her storytelling gifts remained sharp.  The humorous, poignant events she recalls here probably took place in the 1840’s, just before gold was discovered in Humboldt and Mendocino counties.  Later in her reminiscences Mrs. Young describes her family’s terrible experience during the told rush itself.  The gold rushers and homesteaders who flooded into California then were responsible for murdering over 50,000 Native Americans between 1848 and 1878 alone.”

    My grandpa, before white people came, had a dream.  He was so old he was all doubled up.  Knees to chin, and eyes like indigo. Grown son carry him in great basket on his back, every place.

     My grandpa say, “White Rabbit” – he mean white people – gonta devour our grass, our seed, our living.  We won’t have nothing more, this world.  Big elk with straight horn come when white man bring it.” I think he mean cattle. “ ‘Nother animal, bigger than deer, but round feet, got hair on this neck.” This one, horse, I guess.

     My aunt say; “Oh Father, you out your head, don’t say that way.”  He say; “Now, Daughter, I not crazy.  You young people gonta see this.”  People come long way, listen to him dream.  He dream, then say this way, every morning.

      They leave li’l children play by him.  He watch good. Have big stick, wave round, scare snake away.  He had good teeth.  All old people had good teeth.

      One time they travel, they come to big pile of brush.  My grandpa stop, and look at it.  He say; “This, good wood.  When I die, burn my body to ashes on top of ground.  Here gonta be big canoe, run around, carry white people’s things.  Those White Rabbit got lotsa everything.”

      “How canoe gonta run round on dry ground all round here?” we askum.  “Don’t know,” he say.  “ Just run that way.”  He mean wagon, I guess.

      I never grow much.  They call me “li’l Shorty,” but I know pretty near everything that time.  My grandpa put his head on my head, smoove my hair, and hold his hand there.

     “Long time you gonta live, my child,” he say.  “You live long time in this world.”

      Well, I live long enough.  I guess ‘bout ninety-five next summer, if I living til then.

     My grandpa never live to see white people, just dreaming every night ‘bout them.  People come long way, listen (to) him dream.

      My grandpa move down by big spring.  One day he couldn’t get up.  He say: “I gonta leave you today.  I used to be good hunter, kill bear, elk, deer, feed my children.  Can’t feed my children no more.  Like old root, just ready for growing now.  Pretty soon dead. Speak no more.”

      All seem like dream to me.  Long, long ago.  Night-time, he die, and in morning, all tied up in deerskin with grass rope.  Sit up knees to chin.  They tie him up too soon.  He roll over, and come back. Scare everybody.  He ask for water, and ask for packstrap to basket always carry him in.  He ask for li’l basket he always use for cup.  He drink lots.

      “I starve for water, and want my strap,” he say.  “That’s why I come back.”

     Then he die.  Our people dig big hole, put stick across.  Put brush. Put body in.  Put more brush.  Burn all to ashes.  The put basket and strap, too, with him, when he go where people go at last.

 

Below are Links to the Other Hear the Voices Articles
[ Voices Contents Page ] [ Voices-The Birth of AIM ] [ Voices-The Spider's Web ]
[ Voices-White Rabbit Got Lotsa Everything ] [ Voices-Going Back ]
[ Voices-Our Stock of Food and Clothes ] [ Voices-The Dead Did Not Return ]
[ New Voice-The Illusion of Freedom

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