THE LAST SHAMAN
A LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR:
I have often been asked by the many readers if I was Native American because of the traditions and ceremonies described in this story, the answer is No, I am a New Zealander of mixed blood, and still live in New Zealand, this story was created because of my lifelong interest in the plight of the Native American, especially those who were fortunate enough to be given Two Spirits by Wakan Tonka, or as we know him Ranga Rawa, the Creator.
It was some years ago I was given the distinct privilege of being offered the comradeship and brotherhood in the Raven Clan by a Medicine Elder of which I felt I could not refuse, since that time we have been in constant contact and all parts of this story pertaining to ceremony or traditions of the Native American are first read and approved by him.
If there are some anomalies in the ceremonies I ask for your forgiveness, it is not and never has been my intention to take such important traditions lightly just for the sake of a story, for those youth that today live under what they perceive as the cloud of Two Spirits, I ask you to look again, you have been given a gift by the Creator, if you were not worthy in his eyes or the eyes of your ancestors then you would not have it and you would remain a sleeper just like those of one spirit, you are the keepers of the balance, a Two Spirit person has never started a war nor have they ever refused to offer help, that is because they are in balance.
For those readers who are not Native American, I would ask you to look about, if you see one of those young men of Two Spirits that are Native American, I ask you to put aside any thoughts of differences and extend a hand to them if they need it, bigotry and repression are the marks of a person with no balance, most often one with only One Spirit.
We are all children of the one Creator and we are legion, make an offer and you will help your own balance.
Ka Kite Anou
Liam left the trailer fully dressed, he was almost unceremoniously pushed aside by the two boys as they entered the trailer hand in hand, Liam raised his eyes but hid his smile, it was a new time and a new world, he would have to get used to seeing his only Grandson with another boy, it was a pity they could not have a ceremony of their own.
He well knew that in the old world the two boys would have been despised and looked down upon by others but at least here and now, they had a chance, a thought struck him and he looked around for Ravenhawk, he could not see the boy but he did see the lonely figure of Manuel standing under a tree with a faintly misty look in his eyes, Liam decided to join him, after all, they were now practically family.
"Hi Manuel, how are you doing?"
"Ah, Senor Kelly, it is a sad day but I think it is also a happy day, were it not for Consuela I would have sent the boy away but now I realize this is a new time, we must change or there will be little future for any of us."
"That's very true Manuel, I was thinking much the same thing myself and its Liam not Senor Kelly, and we are practically family now."
"Yes ah... Liam we are family now, I have been standing here and thinking, it is such a shame that the boys do not have a ceremony to join them together, I know in the old world before the sickness it would not have been taken kindly but now we must change."
"Again that was just what I was thinking, perhaps if we ask Ravenhawk he will know what to do, it is his group after all."
"Yes, yes the Indio is very grown up for one so young, tell me...Ahm...Liam, are you thirsty, this is meant to be a day of fiesta, a man can not have a fiesta if he is thirsty?"
"You have something there Manuel but unfortunately my supply is in the trailer and I don't think it would be a good idea to go in there just now."
"That is no problem, excuse me a moment; JESUS?"
The young voice came from behind the trailer, what the boy was doing back there they had no idea but they were not going to ask.
"Go to the tent and bring the two large folding chairs then ask your cousin to find some of those Lemons and Limes, put them under the tree near the truck, I will meet you there."
"Come with me Liam, we are going to have our own Fiesta while Consuela does her cooking, it will be night time before it is all ready so we have time to do what men must do in these times."
The smile lit up Manuel's face as he lead the way to where he had parked the old truck under a tree, once there he reached into the back and took down a carton and then looked around again and pulled out a bottle filled with a yellow liquid, Liam knew what that was, this was going to be a long fiesta but what the hell, it had been a long time since he had been able to relax, taking care of Junior had been his main focus and now he no longer had to worry.
Jesus soon appeared with two folding chairs, his cousin Maria held a plate with six lemons and two limes on it along with a sharp knife, there was a small bowl of what looked like salt in her other hand.
"Now Liam, I am sorry the beer is not very cold but after the first one we will not know any difference and the Tequila is always ready, please take a chair, this is not the sort of work a man does standing up."
Liam chuckled as he did as he was asked, he watched as Manuel expertly opened the beer bottles then cut small wedges of Lime and pushed them in the top, next he cut thin wedges of lemon onto the plate and placed the salt close by, by this time Jesus had returned with three clean glasses, Manuel smiled at his last surviving son and poured some beer into one of the glasses then added a slice of lime on the side of the glass, he handed it to Jesus then ruffled the boys hair.
"Just one or your Aunty will kill me like last time."
The boy smiled and blushed as he took the glass and sipped a small amount before sitting on the ground at his father's feet.
"Isn't he a little young for alcohol Manuel?"
"Not at all Liam, it is better he learn now so there is little mystery when he is older, this way I can watch over him and one glass will do little harm, as we said, this is a new world, perhaps we can make a few less mistakes than the last time."
Liam nodded his head, he never thought that the man who was little more than a low wage worker could have so much good common sense, as he lifted his bottle of beer with the wedge of lime in the neck to his lips, he suddenly realized that perhaps he had been missing out on something all these years, here he was, sitting under a tree with a one-time migrant worker whom he thought was ignorant but instead he was being taught lessons and had found a forming friendship with, this new world was indeed a time for change.
Liam saluted Manuel with the bottle then put it to his lips just as Manuel was filling two smaller glasses with Tequila, it was going to be a long day and Liam couldn't care less, he leaned back in the comfortable deck chair and sighed with satisfaction, it was good to be alive.
Both men were on their second tequila when they saw Ravenhawk walking to one of the new cabins, as he saw the two reclining men he smiled and waved, Liam waved back then called out.
"Ravenhawk, do you have a minute, there's something we would both like to ask you?"
Ravenhawk changed his direction and walked towards the two men, he almost smiled to himself when he caught sight of what they were doing, he moved up and squatted down near them, he did not miss the fact that the young boy was also drinking.
"What would you like Grandfather?"
Liam sighed, he would just never get used to the term.
"Manuel and I were both thinking about the boys joining up, we said it was a shame they could not have a ceremony of some sort, it's just as we both said, it is a new time, there should be new ideas."
"I agree Grandfather, yes there is something that could be done, I know before the Christians would call it marriage but for this I think it should be something more to the old ways."
"When two people came together there was a ceremony that joined them, we had no word for it like "Marriage" but it meant that the two people were joined together, only the white man called it marriage, it is their name for joining, so, if you wanted it we could call it the 'Joining' it would be a short ceremony but just as meaningful."
"What do you think Manuel, does that sound about right for what we were talking about?"
Manuel paused for a few seconds and contemplated what had been said, after a short pause he nodded his head.
"Yes, that is just what we both want; we have no priest here, would you perform the ceremony for us?"
"Yes of course I would, I think that perhaps Robert and Margret might like it as well."
"Good then it is settled." Replied Liam, "when do you think would be a good time?"
"Why not now? We have a fiesta and we have two couples, if we do this before certain old men get too drunk then we will have more reason to celebrate."
The laughter in Ravenhawk's voice made both older men smile.
"Then it's settled, we have our first joining in two hours, just enough time for some old men to get a little tipsy." Liam laughed and saluted Ravenhawk with his half empty bottle of beer.
Ravenhawk left the two men to go and find the others, he also had to make a few preparations, he was not sure of the full ceremony but he would have to do what he knew was right and hope that the ancestors would forgive any transgressions, he went in search of Robert and Margret, the two boys he knew where to find, it then struck him that he and Antonio had not really been joined but then he thought that it made little difference, they had been joined under the eyes of the Creator, that was enough for both of them.
It took only a few minutes explanation for Robert and Margret to readily agree to the ceremony although Ravenhawk knew that by the old traditions they should really have been asked to spend a month in preparation, he felt that this was a time when things could be changed, he knew a little about the ceremony everyone used to call 'Marriage' but he wanted this one to be a fitting start to their new clan and a new revival.
Ravenhawk was undecided as to which one of several ceremonies he could use, it had to be able to be performed at short notice but also had to be acceptable to Creator and the Ancestors, Ravenhawk let his mind wander over the few ceremonies that he knew of, those that required long preparations would have to be put aside.
Ravenhawk started to go through his list, there was 'The Right of Seven Steps' but this one was long and he did not have the time for preparation, next was the 'Blanket Ceremony' this was one of the easier and quicker ceremonies and was well liked by most tribes; next came the 'Fire Ceremony' this one was powerful but required more time to organize than he had at hand.
Ravenhawk thought harder, there were many ceremonies he could now think of but most took time to be ready and involved long days of preparation, finally he cut it down to three possibilities, the 'Blanket Ceremony' the 'Basket Ceremony' and lastly the 'Wedding Vase Ceremony' each had its own complications but each also could be readied faster for his needs.
Firstly he thought through the 'Blanket Ceremony' for that he would need two blue blankets and one white one and he doubted that they had any of those colours, even though he may be able to find some cloth amongst the bolts they had got for curtains and clothing but they were not blankets, next was the 'Basket Ceremony' where could he find four baskets for the two couples to use, another problem.
Lastly there was the 'Wedding Vase Ceremony' for this he would need a two spouted vase and that also was a doubtful item, Ravenhawk put his thinking cap on, there had to be a way, Creator would never have given him this thought if there was no way to carry it out, as he sat and thought he did not see Little Bear walking towards him, his shadow, Peter close behind.
Little Bear plopped his butt down beside Ravenhawk and looked up at his Father.
"Yes Little Bear?"
"What are you thinking?"
"I have a problem to solve so I am sitting here to let my head work it out."
"What's a probim?"
"Ah yes, well Little Bear, it's a time when something that you need to do seems to have no answer but you have to find one anyway."
"Oh, so what is this probim?"
"It's called a Problem, not a probim, well let me see now, we have two couples that want to be joined together like being married but the ceremonies I know need things I don't have and that is the problem."
"Oh, Ok, well what do you need, Peter and me can have a hunting game to find them, it will be lots of fun, everyone else has things to do but we have nothing, can we play the hunting a problem game?"
Ravenhawk could only laugh, trust a little boy to make it all seem so easy, he finally decided he had little to lose, why not let the boys have some fun, this was meant to be a day of celebration after all.
"Ok, Little Bear, here's the game, we have three ceremonies but I only need to use one, now for each ceremony I need certain things and each one is different but just as hard, do you understand that so far?"
"Yes, you want us to hunt for the problem things, what are they?"
Ravenhawk was almost laughing at the excited sound in Little Bear's voice as the boy got closer to the game.
"Well you only have to find the items for one ceremony but I don't know which one it will be, so if I tell you about all three then you can see which of them you can find, Ok?"
"Yes, yes, tell me, tell me."
Little Bear was almost jumping up and down in his excitement.
"Firstly there is a need for four blankets, two must be blue and two must be white, now if you cannot find them then you must search for four woven baskets, not the shop bought ones but ones that are made in the old way that looks like thin sticks woven together, if you cannot find them then there is only one other, it is a very special vase that has two spouts, one on each side, this one would be very hard to find but you must look all the same."
"Ok, is that all, can we go hunting problems now?"
"Yes you can go and hunt for the problems now but remember that you only have to find one of the three not all of them and you only have two hours so you better get busy."
"Ok Poppa Raven, we'll find them I know we will."
Little Bear jumped up and ran off on his hunt with Peter close behind him, as they disappeared Ravenhawk could only think of what to do if they came back with nothing, he would then have a twofold problem, one, what ceremony could he do without the items and two, how to make Little Bear feel better if he could not find the items and became despondent at the failure, it was going to be a long two hours, Ravenhawk set about sending a prayer to Creator to ask for help for the little ones.
An hour had passed and the little ones had not returned with anything, at that time he saw the door to the trailer open and the two boys step out, Philippe looked serenely confident and very much proud of his bedroom skills, he still had his macho swagger but now it seemed tempered with a little humility, Liam looked as though he had been through an old fashioned ringer, his bright red hair was well mussed and his face glowed brightly but he looked well satisfied although a little unsteady on his feet, the two boys were heading towards where the older men sat, before they went too far, Ravenhawk called to them.
"Liam, Philippe, can I have a word, it won't take long?"
The two boys turned towards Ravenhawk and came over, they both had lost the previous sour look of animosity that they had carried for days, all their problems had been solved while Ravenhawk's had increased.
"What would you like Ravenhawk?" Philippe asked as he put one protective arm around Liam's thin shoulders.
Ravenhawk began to describe the idea of having a ceremony of 'Joining for the two new couples, he told them that the older men approved and asked if is what they would like, Philippe was quick to answer.
"Yes, it would mean that no other man could take Liam away from me, it is not the law of the church but I think it would be a good idea, we will do it."
It seemed Liam had little say in it at this stage but Ravenhawk had to ask, this had to be a partnership and not seen as a one man band, he thought he would have to sit down with the two of them at some stage and tell them what it really meant to be joined like they were going to be, they had to realise that in the old times the joining of two men meant it was a partnership which could benefit everyone but first he would have to break through Philippe's macho streak, just another little problem to solve.
The two boys had left Ravenhawk to join the men under the tree, Ravenhawk had warned them about drinking alcohol before the ceremony, as he turned his head he saw the two small boys coming towards him with their arms loaded, it seems they had been not only lucky but inventive in their quest.
Ravenhawk waited while the two boys placed their loads on the ground in front of him, Little Bear had four small wicker baskets that at one time might have held something like Easter eggs, inside the top one was a double glass bottle about eight inches high with two spouts, it was now empty but looked as though it had held some liquid at some time in the past.
Peter was carrying two cream coloured blankets and two chequered blue and yellow ones, it seemed they had been busy, where they had found everything Ravenhawk could not guess in his wildest dreams.
"Well Little Bear, Peter, you certainly know how to solve problems, good work but tell me how you found them all?"
"It was easy Poppa Raven, we just asked Poppa Tonio, he asked Consuela and she helped us look around, the funny bottle was high up on a shelf and Poppa Tonio had to get it down for us, the blankets come from Consuela's tent, they are not the right colour all over but we thought it might be ok if you think so, the baskets we found in the lean-to shed they were in a big box with lots of party stuff."
"You both did really well, I thought you might only find one of them but you found them all, which ones do you think we should use?"
"Can we use all of them Poppa Raven?"
"No, we have to do it right so we can only use one of them."
Little Bear turned to Peter and they began to whisper to each other, even though Ravenhawk could hear every word he sat silently waiting for them to make up their minds.
"Poppa Raven, we've decided."
"Good and what did you decide?"
"We think it should be the blankets, is that good?"
"Yes Little Bear, that's really good, so the blankets it is, now I want you to go back inside and get your best clothes ready, the nice new ones that Poppa Tonio beaded for you, you as well Peter, dress in your best clothes for the ceremony."
The two boys ran off leaving everything on the ground for Ravenhawk to pick up, he would now have to go to a quiet place and say the prayers of thanks to Creator and the Ancestors for this day and for providing everything for the first joining ceremony.
With the prayer of thanks finished, Ravenhawk went back to the cabin carrying everything with him, he would now have to get into his own full regalia and prepare the circle for the joining of the two couples, the word had gone out quickly of what was going to happen and everyone else was busy trying to get their best clothes out to wear.
Ravenhawk was very careful when taking out his Grandfathers long Eagle feathered bonnet, this was the first time it had seen the light of day since he had packed it carefully back at home, as he hung it to air out and settle the feathers, he began to dress in his Medicine shirt, beaded Leggings and moccasins, next he checked his medicine bag for everything he would need, there was still a lot to do and time was running out.
When Ravenhawk was ready to leave the cabin he felt as though he was carrying an extra twenty pounds, the bonnet was heavy on his head, it was the first time he had worn it but he wanted the spirit of his Grandfather to be with him during the upcoming ceremony, he also wore one string of beads from each of his Uncles and a single strand of medicine elders beads from his Grandfather.
With his medicine bag over his shoulder and carrying a single Eagle feather and a small stone bowl in his right hand and his Chanupa in his left; he stepped outside, the four blankets were neatly folded just outside the stone circle where everyone else was waiting, all dressed in the best finery, it was time to begin.
As Robert was one of those being joined and the drum not having gone through all of the sweats yet, Ravenhawk did not expect to have any musical instrument available but, much to his surprise, Peter stood beside Little Bear with Roberts wooden block and stick, he then remembered that both of the Arapaho boys had been taking lessons.
Ravenhawk checked that everyone was ready, once confirmed he began the song of opening the circle to the tapping beat of Peter's block, after his third circumference he stopped in front of Robert and Margret where he took up the two blue checked blankets and then lay them over their shoulders, once that was done he lead them into the circle through the Eastern position to the central fire place carrying one of the cream blankets.
When he was at the fire place, he called for Peter and Little Bear to join them, when the two boys were standing alongside, Ravenhawk began the prayer of thanks to Creator and the Ancestors, as he finished the prayer, which he had translated into English so the others could understand him, he nodded to Little Bear and Peter and began the song of fire lighting.
Once the fire was alight and Little Bear had watch over the herbs that had to be sprinkled, Ravenhawk started the prayers for the four directions, as he turned to each of the directions, he would sprinkle a mixture of Tobacco and ghost sage on the fire and use his single Eagle Feather to carry the prayers upward so all the spirits could hear them.
With Little Bear watching over the cleaning of the fire surround and using his small stick broom to keep it clean, Ravenhawk then began the song he had thought out for the joining, using a length of tanned deer skin as a thong he tied the left and right arms of the couple together as they stood facing each other.
Peter kept a slow tapping on the block as Little Bear scooped some live embers into the stone bowl that he had got from Ravenhawk then handed it to the teen, Ravenhawk added a small amount of tobacco, ghost sage and dried cedar bark to the smouldering embers, as the smoke rose he used the single Eagle feather to brush the smoke towards the couple while saying the prayer of joining.
When Ravenhawk had finished purifying the couple with the scented smoke he reached forward and removed the two blue blankets and, as they both turned to stand side by side he laid the cream blanket over both of them as a sign of their now being joined, they would keep the blanket as a sign of their joining, the two blue blankets would have to be reused by Philippe and Liam.
For the last item in the ceremony, he took out his Chanupa and, along with the song of Pipe Filling, he lit it and presented it to the couple to his left, after taking a small puff, each of them then said the vows they had practiced only an hour ago, for them this had to be real as none could tell a falsehood while smoking the Chanupa, they had been told this by Ravenhawk when he discussed their vows with them.
As neither Robert nor Margret had any relatives apart from young Peter, Consuela and Dean had volunteered to stand as witnesses for them, when Ravenhawk lifted his head and nodded to them, they walked through the East position which was the direction of the beginning as well as the place of the Earth Mother and so she also would watch over the couple.
The pair were lead away under the single blanket by Dean and Consuela, as they left, Ravenhawk picked up the two blue blankets and went out of the circle to place them over the shoulders of Philippe and Liam, behind him Little Bear was still watching the fire and, as he sprinkled more herbs onto the flames, he said the small prayer he had been taught.
As Ravenhawk was about to take the two boys into the circle, Dean and Karl approached him, with a little embarrassment they asked if they also could be joined, Ravenhawk now had a quandary, he had only one cream blanket left, when he said as much, Robert and Margret told him the boys could use theirs and, when some time in the future they had time they would go in search of proper white blankets for all of them to keep, these ones all belonged to Consuela and Manuel, they would need them for their own beds.
Ravenhawk agreed to carry out the ceremony for the two boys after Philippe and Liam had been joined, by this time the sun was well down and there was still a way to go, Ravenhawk escorted the two blanket covered boys into the circle through the Eastern position and towards the fire, as before he began with the prayer to Creator and the Ancestors, after that the ceremony followed the same as for the first couple.
Liam Senior and Manuel wanted to be the witnesses for the two boys but Ravenhawk had to explain to them that they could not enter the sacred circle because they had been drinking alcohol, the two older men were disappointed and looked a little embarrassed but admitted they were the last ones that wanted to spoil it for the boys, it was Antonio and Karl that stepped forward to do the honours, Liam and Manuel waited outside the circle but were ready to give both boys a huge hug when they exited.
The final ceremony for Dean and Karl went through the same, they had Robert and Margret stand witness for them, by this time it was more than an hour after dark, Liam senior had fired up the large new generator and placed three light stands around the area for light, when all was finished and Ravenhawk had gone through the ceremony of closing the sacred circle, Consuela called that the food was ready.
The table from inside the cabin had been manhandled out onto the veranda, there Consuela had piled it high with food, it was not long before everyone was back in a full festive mood, the chatter was mainly about the ceremony and toasting the happy couples, of course this meant everyone, even the stern Consuela, had to at least drink one glass of tequila for the toast, as Liam Senior had foretold, it turned into a long night of fiesta, the next morning would show the results of the first true happy party since the sickness.
Ravenhawk was the only one that would not drink tequila, he had closed the sacred circle but he wanted to perform the second sweat lodge for the necklaces and drum, he had put the two younger boys to bed early and told then they had another ceremony to work on the next day, after the initial disappointment at missing some of the party, they readily accepted his advice and went to their beds.
The next morning, after the morning prayers to Wakan Tanka; Ravenhawk was inside the sweat lodge, the two younger boys were at their places around the fire and tending the stones with prayer and herbs, the rest of the people in the clearing were still asleep from their late night revelry, only Antonio and Consuela had arisen with Ravenhawk as the first glimmer of a new day broke over the trees.
The second sweat ceremony took the same form as the first, the third would be the same be held the following day, the last of the four would be held the day after that and would be the final stage for the necklaces and drum, Ravenhawk would then be able to present the necklaces and the drum for use, he was looking forward to the giving out of the necklaces, it would be a symbol of their new clan and should bring all of them together in a final gesture of gift giving.
Ravenhawk had already planned how he would give out the items, it would be done as a ceremony of gift giving, Ravenhawk thought it would be a good way for everyone to be together and feel the special occasion as one that truly brought them all together as one clan, he wanted it to be remembered by all of them as the time they became one people.
When he was finished, Ravenhawk left the sacred circle open, he had previously told the others that it would be better if they avoided walking into or through the circle until the sweat Lodge ceremony was over and they had respected his request, they knew the circle meant a great deal to him and showed the respect by keeping away.
Ravenhawk emerged from the second sweat and took the two boys with him after offering the final prayers, it was time for the boys to eat and to see if anyone had made it out of bed yet.
In the cabin only Antonio and Consuela were up and about, the smell of cooking food was heavy in the air as the three walked in the door, the two boys headed straight for Consuela, they were hungry and knew she would not keep them that way for too long, Antonio was only too happy to have his Warrior back and encircled him with his warm arms as they heard the two boys asking for food from Consuela.
Slowly the others began to rise from their beds, some more worn than others, Manuel and Liam Senior both looked the worse for wear and were given stern looks from Consuela as she placed food in front of them, her look alone was enough to keep both older men silent, of the newly joined couples, Philippe and Liam Junior were the last to arrive for breakfast.
It was noticed by all that Philippe was sporting a swollen cheek and puffy right eye, there were no signs on Liam Junior but the arrogant and macho swagger of Philippe seemed to be missing, Ravenhawk smiled to himself, it seemed the boys had worked things out on their own, Philippe seemed to also be a lot more concerned for Liam now than he had been before the Joining Ceremony.
The talking was subdued due to the slightly seedy feeling of the older men but it was also seen that the two women had made it plain that this sort of party would not happen too often in the future, both Robert and Margret glowed with a new persona as they sat side by side to eat.
After breakfast, it was time to start making more permanent plans, there was now a lot to do and they had to start to think about the burgeoning clan, there were new cabins to be built and it was talked over that Consuela should really have a better place for cooking and tending such a large number of people for meals, it was Karl that suggested they build a special place for Consuela with ovens and long tables for the others to sit at.
It was Liam Senior that suggested Dean should sit down and see what he could design for the building they would name as the canteen, it was to be Consuela's domain so she should be included in the design process, it would mean that Antonio would have to be with them because of the language difficulty.
Manuel decided he wanted to look for a good place to plant a crop, there was little ideal planting time left and he wanted to at least get corn into the ground, there would be other vegetables as well but he wanted the corn in first, Liam Senior offered to go with him to find a suitable place for their new garden, slowly the others found projects for the day, Margret had caught the two boys before they could escape, it was time for their lessons, they were quickly joined by Jesus and Maria, after Consuela had spoken to them.
Margret took the four youngsters out and away from the cabin, she knew that Karl and Dean would want some peace while they worked on Consuela's new kitchen and dining hall.
Ravenhawk left them all to go and look over the horses, he was quickly greeted by the Pinto and he saw that the Pinto Mare had also now dropped her foal, she must have dropped it during the night as it now stood reasonably firmly on its thin legs, the other foal was close by but kept well under the eye of the large Morgan Mare, the Appaloosa seemed to be above the others as he grazed alone just a short distance away.
The gelding and two Wagon horse seemed content to slowly graze where they pleased, all the horses seemed to be happy to make their own herd and stayed always within sight of each other, Ravenhawk smiled, Wakan Tanka did his work in mysterious ways.
Over the next four days everything seemed to have sped up, Karl's design for the new building to be known as the Canteen was nearly finished, much to the surprise of all those concerned, Consuela had insisted that the kitchen had wood fired stoves, she said she was not happy using electricity and in the long run the wood fired stoves would last much longer.
Slowly the design was improved and the final plan was then put up for everyone to look at, Liam Senior had accepted the task of deciding what materials would be needed and how to source them as well as any extra tools they might need, it was a big construction for such a small number of people and so it was decided they needed to make another trip into the town for supplies.
Manuel and Liam Senior had found a nice small clearing only ten minutes from the cabin where he could plant his garden, everyday he was away and worked on setting up his garden area, once all was planned he wanted to also go into town to see if he could find some machinery to turn the earth and begin planting.
On the morning of the fifth day, Ravenhawk said the sweat lodge ceremony was at an end, it was time to present the gifts to everyone, to this end he got a blanket and laid it on the ground inside the still open sacred circle as everyone gathered outside, Little Bear and Peter were at their place tending the new fire after all the prayers and songs had been said or sung.
Ravenhawk sat behind the spread blanket facing the East, it was from this position that the others would all enter the circle, laid out on the blanket were the necklaces and the midsized drum, at the four corners of the blanket were placed the four red topped stakes with the single raven feather tied to each as well as a string of small green beads and one black and one red ribbon tied to each.
Ravenhawk had created a new song he called 'The Song of Gift giving' just for this occasion, he used it as the final song before giving out the necklaces and the drum, he did not start the song until everyone was standing inside the circle, it was to be the final song before he gave out the gifts, after that he would close the circle and the time for work would begin, there was so much still to do if they were going to be a family.
When the song had been sung, it was Little Bear that got to select the first necklace, all of the name tags had been removed and only Little Bear knew which one belonged to which person, only he seemed to know the difference in each article, the first one he selected was the specially made one for Ravenhawk, with steady hands he reached down and picked up the necklace with the five river polished red stones, next he turned to Ravenhawk and solemnly placed it over Ravenhawk's head and settled it around his neck then stepped back.
Ravenhawk suddenly felt a familiar feeling run through him, it was a combination of slight dizziness, shortness of breath and the feeling of someone watching him from afar, it was the touch of Wakan Tanka, the necklace was to his satisfaction.
It was Little Bear that then lifted the next necklace and whispered into Ravenhawk's ear who it belonged to, the next one was for Antonio, one by one the small boy took great care to select each necklace and whisper the name, Ravenhawk would call the person forward and Little Bear would place it around their necks, when it finally came to the drum it was no secret who it belonged to.
It was obvious to Ravenhawk that each person was also touched by the hand of Wakan Tanka as he watched the strange look come over their faces as soon as the necklace settled around their necks, each member of the new clan was now being protected by the hand of Wakan Tanka, it was a good start to the new clan.
Robert solemnly stepped forward to take hold of the drum and beater, the beater had been carved by Peter, how he knew what to do none of them knew, it was just something he began to do with a crooked stick one day when playing with Little Bear.
After the last gift had been given and Ravenhawk had finished the ceremony of closing the circle, there seemed to be a calmness come over the assembled people and the clearing, it was as though this time was meant to be remembered in all their minds, it was Little Bears high pitched voice that broke the spell.
"Poppa Raven, can we play now, no school today please, please?"
Ravenhawk and everyone else laughed when they heard him, there seemed to be little that held his attention to long but after all he was still just a little boy and time was different for him, almost as one they felt the spell broken and began to talk amongst themselves as to what needed to be done.