Saturday, February 20, 2016

Personal Challenge #2 Ohinniyan (Always)

This is a work of fiction; anything resembling reality is a figment of your imagination.

Having said that, some words will be in the Lakota -Sioux- language and the English translation will be in parentheses. In order to cut down on confusion, I will arrange Lakota words in the same way they are arranged in English. To see image sources, etc... you can click --> Here.


"Shic'eshi!" (what a woman calls a male cousin) she called, jiggling her fussing baby gently. She watched him approach, her eyes still bright despite her troubles, and he carefully took the little one from her before kissing her on the forehead. " Hau hankashi, hepela!" (Hello female cousin, happy to see you!) Turning back the blanket, Bernard greeted the now-quiet child: "Hau thanhanshi!" (Hello male cousin... from one male to another.) Giggling, Dosi... whose full given name was Theodosia... exclaimed "iyokiphi!" (he is pleased) this is the first time he's been quiet since we got to the airport! Was it a long flight, cousin? Did you have trouble changing planes at Minneapolis? Have you eaten?" "Your Ina (mother) could learn a lesson from you, little cousin, but once a magpie always a magpie." Winking, he handed Dosi's son back to her and picked up his bags; following her out to her old clunker of a car. 


From the corner of his eye, Bernard inspected his beloved cousin, noting the changes in her: thinner, hair cut short, sad eyes, and murmured " chante shice, hankashi". (I'm sorry/sad, female cousin.) "Don't do that Bernard!" Sighing, she said, "Just English right now, okay, otherwise I'll cry again. Michael is gone from this earth and my tears can't bring him back." Nodding, he touched her shoulder a moment, then looked out the window at Aberdeen . . . (Aberdeen, South Dakota that is.)

"Was Unci (grandmother) right? Are you moving back home?Will you still do the presentation dance, Bernard? Please? I made you a new roach." (A roach is a head piece made with quills, you can see one in the last photo.) "Aw Dosi, you didn't have to do that, but thank you; did you choose a name for your son?" Shaking her head, she glanced at him and smiled, "Nope, that was always going to be your job, remember? I make the babies and you name 'em. Oh and before I forget, Bobby TwoHawks will be at the dance, his Ina said."

"Oh really..." he drawled. "Yeah really and don't even pretend to be snotty; he's been a big help to me, buying diapers and formula for the baby." Laying his head back, eyes closed, he pretended to fall asleep; memories of Bobby and possible names for the baby playing through his head until the car stopped and Dosi shook him lightly. "We're back in the big town now; Bullhead, South Dakota... musta been named after you, cousin." Stretching and yawning, he stepped out of the car, popped his back, then turned around for his bags while Dosi got the baby from the car seat. 

A long arm stretched past him to take one of the bags; turning, he found himself nearly nose to nose with a freckled face and familiar hazel eyes.  "Hau khola,  (Hello, male friend to male friend; indicating a special bond.) welcome back to the rez, I've missed you ... Are you back at Standing Rock (Standing Rock reservation) for good this time?" Laying his hand on his friend's shoulder, looking between Bobby and Dosi, he said one word, "Ohinniyan" (always) before leading the way to his Unci's door.


Three days later: dancing with his young cousin in his arms he glanced up to see the three of them together; grandmother, cousin and friend all watching him. 'Perhaps', he thought, 'Bobby and I can be more than friends?' then turned his attention back to the dance. Stopping before the elders he held his young cousin out and spoke aloud, for the first time, the name he'd chosen to honour both of the infant's parents: "This is Micah Theodore ManyHorses."

(Thanks for the good thoughts everyone, the tremors are better and my shoulder isn't hopping up and down anymore. Who knew that orange soda would contain caffeine???)

25 comments:

  1. Glad the tremors are better. Quite the family tree as a web was weaved. Nice one.

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  2. Hey, I really like the Two Spirit angle of your story! There are lots of Dakota Sioux living in the Canadian prairies where I grew up. They fled north from the USA following their victory over Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

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    1. Glad you liked it Debra, thought you'd catch the Two Spirit angle.
      A pity more of them didn't go to 'Grandmother's Land', far fewer would have died at Wounded Knee.

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  3. Intriguing. I am always fascinated by the precision in kinship names in so many other cultures. Not for them the blanket 'aunt/uncle/cousin'...
    Glad that the tremors are better than they were. They make most things sooooo much harder. Though himself told me one year as he watched me make a cake that other people had to work to sift flour, and I just had to stand there and the shakes did the work for me.

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    1. Not only the precision in kinship names; the language is differentiated by gender as well.

      I think your Skinny One and my Skinny One must be related -- mine has a habit of saying he's going to put me in break dancing competitions because I could win by just standing up, lol.

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  4. You must have had to do quite a it of research to write this. I'm impressed!

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    1. Well actually...

      This is partly based on real life; I spent a bit of time living in Bullhead on the Standing Rock rez with Unci Josephine. Still, it's been 30+ years ago so I had to refresh my memory on a couple of things.

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  5. This is not just a story but a work of art. The care and attention to detail you put into it is something I really value. Tahnks.

    Greetings from London.

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  6. "Thanks", even. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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  7. This is a lovely story! I really like it. Glad to hear your shoulder has stopped jumping, after all, that's the job of the feet and knees. (*~*)

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    1. It can be a trifle disconcerting and thank you River, very much!

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  8. More good thoughts from us, even if things are improving. I mean, you can overdo it on caffeine, but never good thoughts.

    The story itself was really good, but I'm just impressed by all the culture. I felt totally immersed in Native American culture while reading this, like a little peek into their private lives, and it was really well done.

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    1. Good thoughts are always welcome and returned. =)

      Thank you for your feedback gentlemen, very much appreciated.

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  9. Wonderful! And what is even more wonderful is that you're feeling much better...and I hope you continue to do so. Take good care. :)

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  10. I loved this story, very descriptive, in the common conversations, of life. I missed out, what happened with the hopping shoulder?

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    1. I have some movement disorders Strayer and too much caffeine makes them much worse... I made the assumption that orange soda doesn't contain caffeine, thereby causing an overdose, lol. Not dangerous, just very annoying.

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  11. Your writing is full of soulfulness. I love how you weaved Lakota terms into this, and I especially love how your characters' eyes tell rich stories.

    Always thinking of you.

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  12. blessings and many thanks for the lovely story steeped in tradition.

    love it.
    Have a joy filled week.
    Rhapsody

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    1. Thank you Rhapsody, may your week be joy-filled as well.

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  13. Hey thanks for letting me know you moved...I wouldn't have known! I've been so busy with the kitchen construction that I haven't been following along the last two or three weeks. I have been sleeping through the night though from exhaustion! This story was beautiful. And so glad you are feeling better.

    Cindy Bee

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  14. Captivating - and I was happy to learn the term Two Spirit (from Debra's comment and your reply and, of course, wikipedia :))

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C'mon, be cranky and let 'er rip!