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The story of Little Hawk
As the narrator of this story, I take it upon myself to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is not something that you could read in a U.S History book. Actually, all they tell you are the basic facts, but what you are about to hear is the story behind the story of a young Native American girl named Little Hawk.
Little Hawk was born in the warm season of the year 1843. She was born upon the Sioux tribe by the parents, Shooting Arrow and Seeing Eyes. In the beginning, everything went well in the tribe. Then, one warm season of 1861, as Little Hawk turned nineteen, instead of the usual celebration and festivities, there was terror stricken in the hearts of all the people.
Soon, the Sioux tribe began to receive warning of white men coming west and taking over Native territories. Since Little Hawk was now of the age to decide things of her own, Little Hawk joined the nomads. Little Hawk wanted to experience an adventure. First, the nomads traveled through the Colorado territories in search of buffalo. Here, Little Hawk got the surprise of her life. One year had gone by since Little Hawk had left her tribe and it was now the cool season of 1862. Little Hawk and the nomads found themselves in the midst of the Apache War.
It was the first time Little Hawk had seen a pale man. When asked, a nomad by the name of Throwing Rocks showed Little Hawk one of the men. He called the man Christopher Carson. Little Hawk thought that Carson was an odd name and wanted to talk with him. Before she could, an Apache Native pulled Little Hawk away from the fighting and used his hands to talk to her due to their different languages.
“Carson is a bad man. He fights to take our land. Don’t speak to him. Leave here now before you get killed.”
Heading to the warning, Little Hawk and the nomads leave the area. Years went by before Little Hawk saw another pale man. This time, it was the year of 1864. Little Hawk had begged the nomads to stop so she could speak with Chief Black Kettle. Chief Black Kettle was an old friend of Little Hawks Father. As Little Hawk spoke with the chief, he told her about the hard times the tribe was going through. He told her about Colonel John Chivington. He explained how he was on his way to destroy the tribe or send them to a reservation. Soon a loud thunderous noise was heard. Thousands of pale men in odd-looking clothing came rushing through the tribe land.
One man came up to Chief Black Kettle and Little Hawk. Little Hawk knew from the description she had received that this man was the Colonel John Chivington. He talked to the chief in a foreign language that Little Hawk could not understand. From the tone of their voices, Little Hawk sensed that they were both angry. When they were through, Chivington gave Little Hawk a look that sent chills of terror through her. Little Hawk turned and ran. The Last thing that Little Hawk saw was Chief Black Kettle Fumbling with an American Flag and a white flag of surrender. The last thing she heard were gunshots and screams echoing through the air. This Battle was later called; the Sand Creek Massacre.
After Little Hawk left the Cheyenne tribe, Little Hawk and the nomads continued to travel around for food and a place to set up camp. This time, the nomads traveled south toward the southern plains. Little Hawk became friends with an elderly women along the way. Her name was Moonshine. Moonshine told Little Hawk helpful things that she had not known before, like what side of the tree moss grew on, what berries were the best to pick, and which ones were poisonous.
Ten years later, once again the warm season came, but there was no celebration. Little Hawk had turned to the age of 31 years. Instead of joy, the nomads felt fear. Once again they found themselves in the midst of a war. This one was called; the Red River War. This time, Little Hawk wanted to fight back, but she did not know what to do. Little Hawk went into the Comanche tribe to find out what exactly was happening. When she entered, she found only the women and children. Little Hawk was told that all of the men went to fight at the buffalo grazing grounds. Little Hawk was devastated. She did not know how to help. Suddenly, Little Hawk heard a sharp wail from a tent nearby.
Little Hawk went to investigate. In a tent, covered by many blankets was a red cheeked, Native American baby boy. The baby was about the age of one year. Little Hawk was told that the baby was an orphan. His mother had died when he was born and the father had abandoned it to fight in the war. Little Hawk then knew what she could do for the war. It wasn’t much but it was something. Little Hawk took the baby under her wing. Since the native women said that the baby didn’t have a name, she took it upon herself to name it. Little Hawk looked lovingly down at the child in her arms.
“I am going to name you Cherished Gift,” she whispered. “So you know that you will always be loved.”
Days turned into months and months became a year. Cherished Gift had turned two years old and Little Hawk 32 when word came to the village that Cherished Gifts’ father and all of the other warriors had died. Mourning rituals went on for days and weeks at a time. A while after that, in the year of 1875, Little Hawk rejoined the nomads. Doing so she brought Cherished Gift along with her and they both moved on.
A year later, Little Hawk decided that she wanted to go back to her own people. She came upon the Sioux tribe seven moons later and was greeted by her mother, father and Chief Sitting Bull. Little Hawk and Cherished Gift was given many gifts upon their return, but still, there was no happiness shown on the faces of her people.
A while after her return, Little Hawk was informed about the decisions that were being thought over. She was told that the pale men were trying to buy the Black Hills from them. Little Hawk was upset. Why was war happening everywhere? Why were the pale men trying to take the land? It didn’t make any since to her. Just then, Little Hawk devised a plan. Telling no one, Little Hawk dressed in her white fur gown meant to be for her wedding ceremony, but fit her present purpose. Little Hawk laid Cherished Gift in his cot and waited until the whole tribe was asleep. Little Hawk crept out of camp and walked miles to where she knew the pale men had camp. She went into the biggest tent. Inside laid Luteniant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. With her heart beating a mile a minute, Little Hawk shook Custer until he awoke. The white gown made her seem as if she were a spirit so she swayed a little to add to the effect. Using the little English she had learned over the years, Little Hawk spoke to him.
“Why do you do this?” She asked. “Why do pale men want Black Hills?”
Custer just shook with fright and stuttered one word before he lay back down and shutting his eyes.
“Gold,” he mumbled.
When he opened his eyes again, Little Hawk was already out of the tent and rushing back to her village. As she ran, Little Hawk shook with fear and anger at the pale men. She finally had understood; they wanted the land out of greed. The next day, Little Hawk took her adopted son to the top of a hill away from where all of the fighting would be. Once on top of the hill, Little Hawk watched in disbelief as the war went on. That same week, Custer and all of his men were destroyed. This battle was named; Battle of Little Bighorn.
Instead of going back with the nomads, Little Hawk and Cherished Gift moved with her parents to Canada. After four whole years of tuff times and food shortage, The Sioux people who had moved went back to their reservation.
Ten more year past and Cherished Gift turned fifteen years old. Little Hawk soon turned 47. The year was 1890 and there was more tension throughout the tribe. The Natives were having a hard time adjusting to their reservation. During the dry season, a prophet came to the Sioux tribe. His name was Wovka. The prophet claimed that the Sioux tribe could return to their traditional life if the tribe performed the Ghost Dance and other rituals.
That same night, Little Hawk and her family along with the rest of her tribe joined hands in the moonlight and danced together in circles. A few days later, Little Hawk was out picking berries for the noon meal when she heard a shot ring out. Little Hawk took Cherished Gift out in the woods.
“I’m relying on you to stay put. Don’t let them see you no matter what you see happening. If something happens to me keep my spirit alive.”
With those words, Little Hawk ran back to the village to see what the commotion was about. Little Hawk was shocked to learn that Sitting Bull had been shot and killed. Soon the Indian officers rounded up most of the Sioux Natives that surrendered. Little Hawk was one of them. As many of the Natives gathered together, another shot rang out causing panic and more soldiers opened fire. Many of those who had surrendered died along with many others. This battle was later called; the Battle of Wounded Knee.
It is sad to say that in the year of 1890, Little Hawk was one of the few who died in the Battle at the age of 47. Little Hawk may not have been of great importance to everyone but she should be praised for her courage to leave home at a young age and travel with nomads to places of great danger and how she met with some very important people. I know that I am very proud of her because if she was not where she was at a certain time, I would have grown up thinking that no one cared for me and I would have been without a family. Yes, it is I, Cherished Gift who has told the story of my adoptive mother the way she has told me many times before and from what I have seen her do. Her story is done now as well as her life, but just as I have promised, her spirit lives on. Though now for the time being, it is my time to say: