I made a lot of progress last summer but when the school year resumed, I become inundated with responsibilities and lacked that long-ago ambition to get up before the sun rose to work on it before I began a long, hectic day.
Kay is a Hopi Indian and the Hopi are a prominent, matrilineal society like the Navajo with a large reservation they share with the Navajo in the four corners region of the United States Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado. In my story, Kay was separated as a young girl from her family and raised by a German couple who leased a farm in Clarkdale, Arizona.
At 19, she is in a position to figure out who she wants to be. For Native Americans, there were three choices for adopting an identity whether consciously or not. Three, become a hybrid of sorts, holding on to and existing in the white culture while honoring parts of traditions discreetly. As Kay figures herself out, she is befriended by an old Apache grandmother who tries to teach her Apache ways.
From the s to the s, Yavapai, Apache, Hopi, and Navajo tribes shared traditions because of the forced removal and tribal integration on the reservations. This is a generalization and exceptions are always found.
What fascinates me is how an individual chooses their cultural identity. Native Americans see themselves as unique and they are; a minority group trying to be autonomous while surviving in a larger culture.
I find their grace and artistry and traditions fascinating. Will it be the Apache way? The Hopi way, or the white way?
From the s to s Curtis recorded thousands of wax cylinder recordings of music, language, and mythologies of Indian tribes in the Southwest. His expansive photography captures the grace and beauty of Southwest Indians. His photographs are now famous although he had little fame or fortune during his working years.
I recommend reading Edward S. Particular to this post, I love his photograph of the young unmarried girl holding a jar featuring the traditional Hopi hairstyle; it had to be the inspiration for Geoge Lucus when he came up with the Princess Leia hair-do. Desert Plants and Their Indian Uses Creosote bushes, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness One aspect of the Indian tradition that they all shared was their way of harvesting and use of wild desert vegetation. I recommend James W.
Looking toward the Red Rocks. The band of riders heads out across the valley. Kay has been asked to harvest certain desert plants for medicinal purposes like the Creosote bush, the Ocotillo, and the toxic Jimson Weed. Scenes in the camping trip will incorporate these and other common desert plants and how Indians used them. Jim and Bear in front of an Ocotillo Cactus. Kay watched Sally pull out a folded Chinese fan and snap it open it with a dramatic snap of her wrist.
She fanned her face vigorously combatting the moisture that pooled in drops on her upper lip. She smiled at Kay pleased with herself for getting the free ride and swirled into the front seat and leaned as close to the door as she could. She guessed they were about eight months old, large enough to be pulled from their mother. The calves bellowed and Kay rubbed their ears and spoke German to them.
She offered the calves a drink from her canteen by pouring the water into a metal pan.
She leaned against the one next to her and felt comforted by his wiry hair and noisy breathing. She thought about her deceased caregiver, the submissive Mrs. Weese was a quiet woman, but when she did speak, she only spoke German. She was mopish yet obedient to the wishes of her husband as she taught Kay how to scrub away the dirt from everything surrounding them in and outside of the house.
Kay learned how to cook German dishes including how to stuff the pork casings with sausage. Weese taught Kay how to pick the vegetables from the garden and the fruit from the orchard. They canned their harvests in mason jars and set them in rows on wooden shelves built in the dirt cellar below the house. Kay alternated between three smocks and a nightgown, ever mindful to hide her body because nakedness was a sin.
The porcelain tub was tiny, and she could barely cross her legs and fit in it. Weese installed a utility sink in the barn, she started washing in the barn. Soon thereafter, she left the mudroom porch at the back of the house with her wooden WWI cot and moved out to the barn which was larger than the house.
With scraps of wood, she made herself a wider, longer bed frame. She put straw on it and nailed folded thick blankets over it and slept on the covered straw. In the barn, she could stretch and have all the privacy she wanted.
Take a boat trip for a spot of sea fishing or just a scenic float-along during the holiday season or walk along the coastal path for panoramic sea views and dramatic cliffs. She leaned against the one next to her and felt comforted by his wiry hair and noisy breathing. She smiled at Kay pleased with herself for getting the free ride and swirled into the front seat and leaned as close to the door as she could.
She was in charge of the animals anyway, so their warmth and their sounds were her comforts while the Weeses tended to themselves inside. When she was older and she required no watching over, they came to ignore her for most hours of the day as long as she went to the Reservation School school during the morning and did her daily chores in the afternoon.
She ate supper with the Weeses in the evening and helped clean up the dishes, saying nothing unless spoken to. She had free time to practice her reading and she thought about numbers and rearranged them in her head. She counted and wrote on the walls of the stalls until she acquired notebooks to write in.
Kay learned how to make ceramic bowls by a girl named Sue at the Reservation School who was Hopi. Someone had donated a kiln and it stood at the back of the school. Sue shared the secrets of her mother and how to create bowls and dishes. When Sue moved away one day, Kay felt sadness and her first stab of loneliness. By memory, Kay practiced making dishes and bowls.
She liked making numbers and geometric patterns around the rims. After a year, she thought she was pretty good at it and gave a vase to Mrs. Weese gave her a rare hug and kept flowers in it during spring and summer months.
She stayed back and took care of the farm. Eventually, a coughing spasm took the life out of Mrs. Kay was nineteen, and she surmised she had a pretty good life up to this point. Thanks for reading, friends.
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