An old Shoshone story that serves as a prophecy and displays connection of Indigenous peoples

This story was passed on to my mother from her grandmother, which was passed on by her grandmother and is part of the memory of my people.

Aaavaish, Long ago before there were humans all over the earth, there were “things” and monsters that ruled alongside the animal people. The things ate humans and would chase or try to disrupt the few that lived during this time.

In this story there was a young woman, she was running from one of these monster things, and she had no where to go but a cave. The monster thing was in heavy pursuit  so she ran as fast as she could and hid in the cold dark cave. Come to find out, the monster thing would not go into the cave, perhaps it was afraid of the dark. The girl stayed in her spot for a while and listened, she could hear the grunting of the thing and hear the angry growl in its voice. She decided that she was too scared to go outside so she ventured further into the cave in hopes of finding another way out.

After some wandering, the girl found an opening, on the outside was a beautiful landscape. There were birds chirping, trees and green everywhere, there was a feeling of beauty all around her. She felt that she was in a “heavenly” world or somewhere that was like paradise. She walked into this land and came upon a lodge. The lodge that she came upon was built and structured meticulously. It was kept clean and had a small fire going on the outside. This made it obvious to her that someone must live in this lodge and she did not want to run into any more dangerous monster things.  So she quickly searched for some food that may have been left out, she was starved from running away from the scary things, and then she hid.

She remained in hiding and kept watch, until eventually, a beautiful handsome man came walking up. This young man was carrying a deer over his shoulders. He was so muscular the girl was in awe of his physique. The girl watched as he cut the deer and began to cook, her mouth was watering with hunger, but she did not know what kind of person this man was, or if he was a real person or a spirit. She remained hidden. After the man completed his cooking he sat down to eat and said in a loud, strong voice “Who ever you are, come out, I know you are there. I will not hurt you, I just want to share my food with you”. The girl was shocked to find out the man knew that she was there, but she was starving and came out anyway.

She sat across the fireplace, she kept her distance and ate. The man ate his food and cleaned up and remained silent, he moved into the lodge and began to make his bed. After he made his bed he made a bed for the girl, and told her to lie down and rest. She was nervous and stayed near the door.

As time passed, the young girl ended up staying in this beautiful land. She and the young man became close and soon came to fall in love. From their love, they bore many children. The couple was happy, until the children started to grow up. The children were always fighting, they could not get along, they hated one another, and they did not want to be related to one another. The kids began to fight more and more and threatened to kill one another. It was horrible, so the parents got together and discussed what they should do. And this was their decision: The parents decided to separate the family; this was to teach them a lesson. The father took the children and threw them as far as he could in different directions across the earth. He said “they will have to learn to live with themselves and be on their own. They will do this because they do not know how to live with one another. Soon they will realize that they cannot live like this any longer, they will seek one another, ask one another for help. Soon they will come to understand who they truly are, they are family, they are the same people. They will unite and understand that the differences mean nothing, because in the end, they are all reliant on one another, they will unite, they will rejoice for being connected again. The children will be happy and this will prove to them that no matter the space, they are one, they will be happy”.

This story is seen as a prophecy because many other stories by other Indigenous cultures share a belief that they are part of something greater, maybe even greater in a spiritual sense. I have learned from my own experience that this is the time when many of us, as Indigenous people are calling to one another, reaching out to one another and asking each other for help. I too, truly believe that these efforts will help us, as Indigenous people understand that we are one.

Gaw-gwushee-gwhy’ya

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