Moon at Midnight – Part XIV (day 1988)

(part XIII)

I was with Blackfoot
I knew that before I had seen them
I was in their land, after all,
And Frank had told me I would most likely run into them
Or at least see evidence of them
Luckily he had mentioned
That he had a good relationship with them
And I could easily use his and Amy’s names
To start with a good foot with them.

As I walked with them to their camp
One who introduced himself as Moon Cow
Asked me a few questions about myself
And relayed them to the first man I had met
Who I learned as Mountain Chief
He asked me what I was doing with Frank
And also why I had gone,
“Such good kitchen!” he laughed
I guess they were fond of Amy’s cooking
And regularly stopped in to see how the family was doing
Frank had told me they always have space
In their front lawn for a camp of Blackfoot.

When we walked in to camp,
Moon Cow led me into a big tent
With fresh Bison hides hanging beside it
And a young woman arranging things inside
For us to sit down comfortably
Moon Cow relayed questions to me
And then interpreted what I said back to the others
I could tell some of them
Could understand what I said too
By nodding of their heads when I answered
And Frank had said he didn’t speak Pikuni.

They asked many questions about animals I had seen
And if I had come in contact with any other tribes
Many questions about various Armies
And if I had heard any news of their movements
The whole while women would come in with various plates
Of what the group had killed while out today
Before they had found me
I could sense there was something happening
That they didn’t quite lead me on to
But I knew that things were getting hostile
Between them and the various soldiers of allegiance
Coming rather quickly into their hunting grounds
Calling it their own
The Lakota had been sending runners to implore their assistance
Fighting the United States Army.

I kept myself awake
Long after I felt I was starting to fall asleep
Somebody threw a warm bison pelt over my shoulders
And led me kindly out of the big tent
Into a tent a short walk away
Where my pack awaited me
I could see the big swollen moon clearly
Lighting my doorway and inside
I could tell I was safe for now
I wasn’t worried
Mostly because I knew the integrity of this tribe
Instinctively, when I first met them,
They were friendly people.

part XV

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