Chapter 1 – Little Bear
My name is Achak. My name means "spirit of the wind". Since I was a baby I always had a special way with animals. I found out my special gift when I was four years old. There was a mother Black Bear that wondered in to my village one day. The tribe was afraid and ready to kill her. But I was not afraid. I went up to her and could hear her thoughts.
"Please help me. My cub has fallen into the icy river and the river carried him away with the strong current. I will not hurt you or your people if you will come and help us" the mother bear said bowing submissevely to my people.
"My people go quickly to the river. Her bear cub has fallen into the river and the strong current is carrying it away. She will not harm anyone that helps." I said shielding the bear.
My older brother Aranck and his friend Askook went running to the canoe at the shore and pushed off with rope and a blanket. They spotted the cub hanging on to a jutting rock ½ mile downstream. It was very frightened and wimpering. They tied the canoe to a neighboring rock and pulled the boat over to the crying cub. It was afraid to let go of the rock and they wrapped the blanket around the shivering cub and pulled it into the canoe. There was blood on the rock. The cub had been injured in it's ordeal. They tied his front paws together and he was wrapped tightly in the blanket. They turned the canoe around and pulled off the rope. They paddled upstream back to the canoe landing.
The tribe cheered as they saw the rescued cub in their arms carrying it to their Grandfather Askuwheteau the Medicine Man. The Long House was warm with many fires and the people followed behind them until they got to his area. I could see the mother bear watching and then retreating back into the woods knowing her cub was in good hands.
Grandfather made a poultice of Goldenseal and Mustard. He boiled the fresh herbs and then made them into a paste. He applied it on the cub's wound and then dressed it with muslim. I kept the cub calm by feeding it some warm molasses on a piece of bread. He then wrapped the animal in a blanket and alid it by the warm fire. The cub went to sleep.
"You can hear the thoughts of the animals grand son. You are very special. Use your power to help the animals. Listen to them often. There are many who are threatened by man. You can protect them" Grandfather said lighting his pipe and sitting down by the fire.
"I will Grandfather. I promise to help the animals"
After a couple of weeks the little bear gained it's strength and Granfather and I released him back into the wild. I was sorry to see him go but knew he must be back with his mother.
As I grew over the years my connection with the animals strengthened. I saved many animals from harm just by understanding that they were in danger. I learned to follow their tracks and to see how they lived. There were many different types of animals in my territory. I made friends with them and we coexisted as a family. When one of their young was hurt, Grandfather and I would tend to it and then release it back to the wild after it was healed. I realized the greatest danger the animals had was from man. My people were trappers and we sold furs and pelts on long boats along the St. Lawrence River. I didn't like to see animals be killed for food but knew we needed it for our survival. We always made sure that the animals that we killed for food were very common and not rare or endangered.
The Winter's were very cold and most of the animals would hibernate. I loved it when my mother would make popping corn. She would take the seeds and put them in oil and put them in a covered pot. The sound of the kernels popping and even more fun eating it. In the Wintertime we would decorate trees with the popping corn and pine cones with molasses for the birds. My brother and I liked to put on our snow shoes and hike in the snow. We would find caves in the Appalachain Uplands and light fires in them and draw pictures on the walls with Elderberry juice. I drew pictures of our life and adventures like my brother saving the little bear when I was so young.
I was always glad to see the Spring come.l loved the flowers and the green grasses and swaying trees in the breeze. It was my favorite season. Our corn, squash and watermelon crops were abundant. Mother would make corn chowder and squash soup. My brother and I would gather herbs for Grandfather. I learned the names of the herbs and their uses from a book that a white man gave me. I wished that I could read more of these books. It amazed me how knowledge could be put into words. Here I was at 17 Summers wishing to learn more of the world. There was so much to see., so much to do, so much to learn about.