Once upon a time, there was a young Woods Cree girl. Her name was Wapihti ‘White-tailed Deer’. On her tenth season of life, she is given a green ribbon. It is an offering to the sacred guardian, Newo-Mistatim (four-horse). This guardian dwells inside the ‘Land of the Dancing Deer’. It is a magical meadow that guards her village, Meadow Deer Village.
The day is nice, sunny weather. Wapihti enters into the meadow as she is holding onto the green ribbon in her hands.
A small chirp is heard by a maple tree trunk. Wapihti cautiously approaches the chirping sound. Her gaze softens at what she sees. It is a baby chickadee.
“You’ve fallen from your nest.” Wapihti says, raising her head up to see a nest in the thick branch above. There are other chirping baby chickadees in the nest above. She lowers her gaze to the lonely baby chickadee. “Don’t you worry, little one. I’ll return you back to your family.” She said, using a loincloth to wrap around the baby chickadee. Wapihti has to be extra careful when handling a baby bird as to not touch the baby bird with her bare hands. If she does, the chickadee parents will abandon the baby chickadee.
Climb. Climb. Climb. Up the maple tree trunk.
Wapihti stretches out her left arm to return the baby chickadee inside the nest with its family. A small smile appears on her lips.
Climb. Climb. Climb. Down the maple tree trunk.
Wapihti touches the grassy ground with her moccasin feet.
“I see a gentle humility inside you, little lady.” The wind seems to have whispered into her right ear.
When Wapihti turns to look over her shoulder. There is a grey wolf that turns around to walk away from her sights. “Thank you, older brother, for sparing my life.” Wapihti says, bowing her head to the departure of the grey wolf that somehow did not leave paw prints.
Wapihti takes a couple steps forward to tie the green ribbon onto a tree branch. Her eyelids close in silent prayer.
Not too far from where she stands, Wapihti hears a ruffling sound from behind a wild gooseberry bush. Wapihti circles around the corner of the bush, her eyelids widen. There is a helpless beaver ensnarled in a silver claw trap.
Wapihti grabs a thick branch stick on the grassy ground and uses it to help free the beaver’s paw from the trap. Before, Wapihti can help heal the wound on the beaver’s paw. The beaver dives into the calm pond. The ripples soon vanish in the calm pond.
“I see a gentle kindness inside you, little lady.” The wind seems to have whispered into her left ear.
When Wapihti turns to look over her shoulder. There is a black bear that turns around to walk away from her sights. “Thank you, older sister, for sparing my life.” Wapihti said, bowing her head to the departure of the black bear that somehow did not leave paw prints.
Wapihti continues down the narrow soiled pathway through the deep meadow. It is shaded by the healthy green leaves of the thousands of different species of trees. The sunshine peaks through the leaves above.
The strong and swift winds fasten, a shadowy frame bypasses Wapihti. A noise is heard nearby a thick tree trunk. As she nears the scenery, there is a wounded sparrow hawk. It is laying down on its backside, while laying helplessly on the grassy ground.
Wapihti covers the deceased sparrow hawk with her buffalo cloak. Her eyelids close in silent prayer for the spirit of the sparrow hawk.
“I see a gentle compassion inside you, little lady.” The wind seems to speak into her ears.
Wapihti lifts up her head to see a dark brown Plains Buffalo. “Older sister,” Wapihti said, a single tear slides down her left cheek. The spirit of the sparrow hawk flaps its wings and takes flight.
“It is all right, little lady. The sparrow hawk is grateful for your show of compassion.” The Plains Buffalo reassures a saddened Wapihti. The buffalo lightly nudges Wapihti forward to continue to travel on the narrow pathway.
Wapihti wipes her tears from her eyes, as she continues to softly cry for the deceased sparrow hawk that she has previously encountered.
An acorn bounces on top of her head, Wapihti lifts up her teary face to see a little squirrel collect the acorn from the grassy ground. The squirrel runs up a tree trunk and into a hole.
“That’s right.” Wapihti said, drying her tears from her redden eyes. “Everyone has a purpose to survive.” She adds, watching the squirrel continue to gather acorns.
“I see a gentle perseverance inside you, little lady.” The wind speaks once more into her ears.
Wapihti lifts up her head to see a soaring bald eagle up in the cyan sky. Its strong wings glide through the air currents keeping the sacred bird afloat.
“Older brother,” Wapihti whispers, a small smile corners her lips. “I understand.” She adds. A soft wind returns, Wapihti’s braided hair starts to flutter in the wind.
“You’ve proven yourself, little lady.” A light trotting hoof print is heard on the grassy ground nearby Wapihti.
Wapihti twirls her body frame around. Her doeskin dress flutters along with her braided hair. She could see the same gifted green ribbon string that she has tied in the meadow. The ribbon is now in the sacred guardian’s mane.
“I’m the guardian of this meadow known as the ‘Land of the Dancing Deer’. My name is Newo-Mistatim (four-horse).” He said, stepping forward with his four hooves. He has four colors on his horse bodily frame. These colors are of white, black, yellow and red. And, inside each of the four quarter colours are the four cardinal animals Plains Buffalo, Black Bear, Bald Eagle and Grey Wolf. “You’ve proven yourself worthy. Your display of ‘courage’ proceeds you. You are now worthy of this gift I now entrust to you, little lady.”
Wapihti nods, receiving the gift from the sacred guardian, Newo-Mistatim. A soft wind breezing through the ruffling leaves.
The gift Wapihti has received from Newo-Mistatim is the ability to have visionary dreams that will assist with her tribe’s prosperity.
Image Credits: Tiffany Marie Quewezance
Emerging writer, Terri-Lynn Quewezance is Plains Cree and Plains Ojibwa from Keeseekoose First Nation. Terri-Lynn is a graduate from the First Nations University of Canada. She spends time walking, writing stories, reading romance novels, role-playing adventure video games and watching Anime. She is also a proud auntie of nine children.
Tiffany Marie Quewezance
Tiffany Marie was named by and after her maternal kokum; Marie Antoinette and one of her kokum’s favorite movies: Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Since childhood Tiffany has loved to draw. During her adolescence art was a major outlet for her psychologically and emotionally. Currently she is completing a double major in art and a minor sociology with an interest in pursuing a career in art therapy. She is a proud mother of a son; and recently, gained another ‘baby’- a colourful parrot.