Half-Blood Seminole: A Short Story

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 10:50 -- ACME

My mixed blood pulses through my heart and each beat resonates inside my skull. My damp hair, black as a moonless night sky, is sticking to the nape of my neck and hanging limply over my shoulders. It is now evening and the tribe will be on the move soon.  I leaned backwards slightly and felt the support of the mangrove tree behind me. Supporting me like the Father in Heaven and Mother Earth support life. I slide down her bark so I am kneeling in the marsh between my father and mother. My right hand reaches out to squeeze my mother's clay colored hand which bears the mark of her pure Seminole ancestry. My left hand grips my father's white hand that moves over his rosary as he mumbles words in his tongue.
My mother and father are a unique example of humanity.
My father abhorred what his fellow U.S. missionaries were doing to my people. They were not acting as missionaries, but mercenaries instead. They burned our food supplies leaving villages to famine, they whipped our men like dogs, and raped our women. They forced us to leave our land and go where they wanted us. They thought themselves gods to rule over people and animals, and wrong they were. My father knew that this was not his mission, nor was it right. He approached our village one day, asking to speak to the Chief. The elders allowed this intrusion out of curiosity of this unarmed white man. He brought himself before our elders and begged their forgiveness and acceptance. He, unlike the others, wanted to learn of our people and share what he knew. Granted permission, he lived amongst our tribe. He learned our culture and tongue, we learned his tongue and he opened us to his God, which became our God. My mother and father fell in love. With the blessing of the tribal elders, they married. He was renamed Hatke Opae which in our tongue means, roughly, white war leader. Although he was not a soldier, he did lead the cause for peace on our side, making the name fitting for him. I was born 4 months later. The only half white, half Seminole in my tribe. For the tribal elders I was a symbol of peace, for the children my age I was a symbol of the reason to keep fighting, to keep our Seminole blood and land ours, to simply be who we were without the corruption of the white man.
So year after year the war toiled on.  Our best warriors fell weary and people like my parents called for peace. The mighty white man called for evacuation. They promised payment and safe travels. Most went. Those who stayed, including my parents and I, knew not to trust the face of the enemy. We begged them not to leave, not to put their lives at the condemning mercy of the devious, but they left. The 100 or so of us that remained were forced to retreat deep into unwanted land. Land where bugs bite you constantly and the air is oppressing. The 100 or so that are left are standing within 20 paces of where I am now kneeling. To my right beyond my mother's apprehensive profile, the new Chief and the remaining elders are consulting on which way to travel. To my left beyond my father's bowed head, the children of the tribe are pulling the large snails out of the marsh floor. From behind us I can hear the women of our tribe singing. The sounds of their voice orchestrated perfectly with the sounds of the marsh around us. The calls of the cicadas intertwined with the sonorous voices both young and old. We are all here because we refuse to give up. We refuse to give up our land to the men who will not care for it, who will treat as if it's disposable. We will not give up on peace, nor purity. Not purity of blood, but purity of spirit.
The call is made by the Chief. Tonight we move South.

This poem is about: 
My country
Our world


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