The night was chasing the sun and bringing in the cool wind at the same time. It was like tag for the natural world. The cool wind settled in the tall grasses and traveled under the skirt of the teepee. It was time to close it all down before it got too cold. This teepee was not made to hold a fire inside. It was only meant for show. It was meant as a reminder that some of the culture was still intact.
A teepee that does not hold a fire inside is an oxymoron.
In the mid 70’s and early 80’s, I was pedaling a little blue bike with a banana seat down Colonization Road. Not a teepee in sight. Not even a wigwam. Nobody talked Indian except at my Granny’s house on the Rez. And when us kids were around all everyone did was talk English.
Colonization and English go hand in hand like best friends in an empty school ground.
I sit in the middle of the teepee and wonder why no one has any teepees in the backyards. The wind catches the flaps and it whips against the canvas. It must be good money making teepees. I google search and sure enough, I can buy one from a manufacturer in Germany. The fine print says made in China. Go figure. My culture is for sale and always at a cost.
Teepee dreams for sale.
I lay down on the green grass and look up, peaking through the flaps of the teepee. The sky is beginning to darken. The crickets get louder and more pronounced with the frogs in an ancient unison. There is a star that blinks up above and there it is the only one that I can see through the flap. I wonder if this is the star where Buffalo Calf Woman comes from. I stare and stare and stare until I get that star gazed look that I’ve been trying to perfect for the longest time. And my wonder does not cease. I hope that my brain will take this information and transform it into the best dreams ever and maybe I will see Buffalo Calf Woman tonight as we sit in this teepee and pretend that there is a fire that keeps us warm so that she can tell me more stories. And I also hope that my brain doesn’t transform this into some bizarre dream of teepees dancing in the sky among the stars. Or maybe not.