This Boy

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There was once a little boy who dreamt about becoming a great warrior. This boy knew that one day his name would be upon the lips of the smallest babies of the tribe and the ones to come after them. They would grow into elders and would tell stories of him to their grandchildren. His name would live on forever.

One day he would ride a painted war pony into an enemy encampment, stealing only the finest horses, and his people would celebrate their good fortune. When the boy would speak, he would do so with wisdom as old as the tallest trees. The boy would grow up and become a fine hunter and give the best meat to the elders of the tribe and only keep what he needed.  The boy dreamt that his people would live in abundance.

He would go on vision quests, bravely heading into the mountains to see what the Creator would reveal to him.  This boy would speak to the animals and listen to what the trees were saying. Stories would be spun from his mouth, matching the patterns of his Grandfathers.  The boy would respect the women of the tribe because he knew as life givers they were sacred. One day, he would take a wife and have many children who he would teach what was passed onto him. Eventually this boy would return to the earth after living a good life where his spirit would go on to meet his Grandfathers.

This is a different story, but I still know this boy. I’ve met this boy. He is the boy who was refused passage on a stagecoach because he was an Indian and ran 100 kilometres and beat it to its destination. Yes, the times’ have changed but my ears have heard whispers of this boy and my eyes have seen him.  He is the boy who was sent to residential school but escaped and ran until he wore out his moccasins. This boy is the one who refused to stop speaking his language even when he was told not to. This boy is the one who was sexually abused by another man and sought healing then spoke out against it in his community. This is the boy who refuses to hang his head low in hallways when he’s surrounded by pale faces because he knows that he has the blood of warriors in his veins.

Yes, I have met this boy. I have seen him taken away from his family and his community and placed into a strange home, but he still holds fast to his warrior spirit. I have seen him battle with the darkness that has been given to him until it is forced to bleed light. This boy is at a party right now and he is turning down a drink because he wants to walk on a good road. I have seen this boy make wrong choices but find himself in a sweat lodge while in jail. I heard this boys’ voice over top of a drum beat singing out like his ancestors did.

Yes, I know this boy. I was sitting in his graduation as he held his diploma skyward to his Grandfathers. I watched him as he chopped wood for his grandmother and put his sister to sleep. I have seen this warrior boy with stars in his eyes and war ponies in his heart. I have seen him, even when he couldn’t see himself.

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