|Photo taken in 1917|
The Gwich’in tribe had decided, and once a resolute decision is made, there would be no change.
Leader Ti’kto’ma approached the old woman with tribal leaders behind him. The old woman huddled close to the fire, but continued to chew the hide of a seal, softening it.
”Old grandmother! It is time to leave you in this camp for you to take your final journey!” Ti’kto’ma shouted down at the elderly woman, where her youngest granddaughter wrapped her arms around the woman.
Old Woman, whose worth now was less than bark on a tree, nodded in submission. The young girl begged for Grandmother’s life, her bruised deformed face twisted in tears. Ti’kto’ma kicked her away from the fire. “The fire is wasted on you! Return to your mother…she must have some use for you, Mongrel Child.”
Old Woman gazed as the tribe walked off in the distance, clutching her bag and fur scarf tightly. In a day where dusk came as soon as the sun disappeared, she was left in the abandoned camp. She settled her elderly bones onto icy snow, waiting for the cold to take her.
As night crept in and cold settled over her, sounds grew louder in the forest. Old Woman reached out, finding her grand-daughter.
“Let us both float off in the final journey together,” Mongrel Child whispered. Old Woman wrapped her shawl and scarf around the girl, and they settled into a final night's sleep.
Elephant’s Child has provided the bold underlined words as a challenge for bloggers to stir the pot and produce any genre using those words. This week there are six and another six words to play with as you choose. Pop on over to her site, by clicking on her moniker above.
Have you heard of a book Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal and Survival" written by Velma Wallis? The tribe name is true and this ancient custom is accurate. The story has truth in it as well. After discovering "two old women" left behind, the tribe finds them well, healthy, and with a huge collection of dried foods. The Gwich'in discontinued this tradition. This book is a worthy read, simplistic yet moving.
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