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Native Echoes

Chapter 2 - Sample

A gray and white flash moved along the high tree limb nimbly without any fear. Not vertically challenged in the least, the squirrel was up about fifty feet in the hickory tree. His fur contrasted with the light green of the round edged and pointy ended leaves of the hickory. He stopped for a moment, procuring a succulent hickory nut. He worked on it, chewing diligently, his paws grasping the hard, husky treasure.

Swiftly and accurately the dart flew from Tim “Running Wolf” Youngblood’s green river cane blowgun, on target towards the unsuspecting, dark eyed tree dweller. The nut fell, wrested from his grasp as the dart pierced the squirrel’s body, forcefully enough to send him careening backwards off the limb, gravity plummeting him earthward.

Running Wolf walked silently and gracefully over to the now unmoving creature and kneeled beside it, his long black hair swaying in the light coastal breeze. He placed his seven foot long blowgun, called Tugawesti by his people, on the ground.

He paused to respect the squirrel, his energy, and what he means to the earth within Great Spirit Unetlanvhis sacred, cyclical world. While Tim was a scientist, an archaeologist by trade, his Cherokee heritage took precedence when it came to matters of nature, the earth, and spirituality.

Squirrel as a creature of the day expresses passion, vigor, and playfulness. Practicality, resourcefulness, and social aptitude are also his strong suits. Running Wolf pledged that he would use squirrel’s energy wisely, to grow, and that he, in turn, would provide something of value to others as a result of the sustenance he would glean from him. It was the natural order of things, honoring all creatures great and small.

He acknowledged the seven directions, the four cardinal directions plus the above, the below, and center. Father Sky, Mother Earth, and the Center, the Self were all engaged. It’s always important to know where we fit in with our other brothers and sisters, as well as with the elements.

Also thanking his spirit guide wolf, he then removed from beneath his shirt a small, buckskin medicine bag on a leather necklace.

He felt its texture between his fingers and proceeded to close his eyes for a moment to recognize the transition from one world to the next, and to pray for forgiveness for taking the animal’s life.

Forgiveness was a standard part of a good hunter’s practice and creed. It was necessary to stay in honor and live according to natural laws, to receive favor from Unetlanvhi. After a few seconds he opened his eyes and then replaced the medicine bag underneath his shirt.

He gently picked up the squirrel and removed a very sharp, turquoise handled knife from his pouch on his side. He carefully cut around the tip of the foot and a half long dart, called Gitsi, to make its easy removal possible.

It was important not to desecrate the flesh, to protect squirrel’s honor and not to shame himself as part of the circle of life.

He removed the dart and wiped the blood from it as well as his knife, making sure not to damage the painstakingly prepared and applied Scottish thistle fletching of the dart so it could be used again. He put the dart and his knife back in his pouch. Then he carefully placed the squirrel in a bag on his other hip, along with five others he had taken earlier. With each one this same rite had been performed. Respect and honor are very important.

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