Finished reading Hyemeyohsts Storm’s Seven Arrows a couple of days ago, right before bed, and spent the night dreaming of medicine names, rivers, eagles… I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. Or maybe, more accurately, I was expecting something different. I think I was expecting a sweet, nature-loving account of how Native American life was organized; a look at their cosmology, their way of life, their traditions and connection to life, nature and god. I think that the first few chapters still allowed me to keep that view of the book as Hyemeyohsts goes into different stories/tales that are important medicine stories in their tradition. I think that somewhere around here my view of the book changed:
“Before, when the camps had come together, the Sun Dancers had stood in a line within the Medicine lodge. The drum had been its heartbeat, and the singers’ voices had been strong. The People had stood there in the Renewal of the Brotherhood and watched the sunrise. The Power had been strong and because of this the People had been strong. But this time, the sunrise that came the next morning at Sand Creek was not the same. The morning exploded with the frightening crash of thunder irons, as hundreds of Pony Soldiers charged into the camp at a full gallop.
Hawk was awakened by screams and by the roar of horses’ hooves and exploding weapons. He grabbed his bow and quiver and ran outside. He saw hi mother clutch at her stomach and roll over in a sudden pool of blood. She spilled her cooking pot as she fell, and the steam rose from it into the air.”
As I reflect on the book I notice that one striking feature that so touched me is the absence of a reason for the book. To clarify: it doesn’t feel like the author was trying to tell me something or convince me of something, of his agenda. He writes a story, an account of lives lived and of the way of viewing the world according to the Medicine of the Peace Shields and, just as in real life, there are deep losses and high beautiful moments.
To me, a very moving book.