Life of one Indian Child

portrait Zitkala-SaHere are a couple of brief excerpts from “Impressions of an Indian Childhood – Mother” by Zitkala-Sa (Gerturde Bonnin). The full story is found in  American Indian Stories, available free online at www.gutenberg.org

“I was a wild little girl of seven. Loosely clad in a slip of brown buckskin, and light-footed with a pair of soft moccasins on my feet, I was as free as the wind that blew my hair, and no less spirited than a bounding deer. These were my mother’s pride,–my wild freedom and overflowing spirits. She taught me no fear save that of intruding myself upon others.”  

About learning beadwork she wrote… “When I became a little familiar with designing and the various pleasing combinations of color, a harder lesson was given me. It was the sewing on, instead of beads, some tinted porcupine quills, moistened and flattened between the nails of the thumb and forefinger. My mother cut off the prickly ends and burned them at once in the centre fire. These sharp points were poisonous, and worked into the flesh wherever they lodged. For this reason, my mother said, I should not do much alone in quills until I was as tall as my cousin Warca-Ziwin.”

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