From the distant hill Windrunner could see the plume of thick black smoke coming from the tarnished fields. Keeping low, he ran towards them, his moccasin-clad feet skillfuly traversing the forest floor. He was, after all, an 'Indian' he thought, with a wry chuckle. If he couldn't sneak up on a bulldozer, then what the hell kind of native was he?
Up at the top of the hill he peered down at the scene below. A large convoy of trucks were parked in a row, each one carrying enormous black pipes...pipes for the pipeline that was already being built, meant to one day soon snake across the entire breadth and width of Turtle Island, carrying the thick, corrosive black sludge that would one day be made into oil. Windrunner wasn't sure how he was going to do it, but he knew that he had to stop them. He knew that the lakes and rivers would not survive the inevitable spills that would result, spewing corrosive black poison all over the sacred hunting and fishing grounds. He knew that this was his destiny. Ever since he was a young boy growing up his mother had told him about the prophecy of the great snake that would threaten to devour Turtle Island, and how a time would come when people of every colour and race would come together to save the world for the next seven generations. They would be known as the rainbow warriors, their coming foretold in ancient Cree prophesy.
Windrunner knew that this was the time, and he knew that he was prepared to die protecting the land of his ancestors. He watched the activity below for a little while longer, his brow knitted over his dark brown eyes, his shiny straight black hair blowing in the wind. He looked like a young warrior, not so different from the ones who had stood here on this land just a few short centuries ago, before the white man came with his wholesale death and destruction. His strong chiselled jaw clenched as he watched the men below in their hard hats and orange vests scurrying around like ants. He wished he could crush the sinister black pipeline with his fist, and squinted and jokingly pretended to do so. Above, the sudden cry of a hawk jolted him from his game. He turned swiftly and ran, back to the place he called home, back to the small but tidy 'res' house where he had lived all his life.
Ever since his father had died from cancer he had been the man of the house, taking care of his mother and younger sister. They didn't have much but they had each other. Mom said the poisons from working and living downstream from the tarnished fields is what killed father. Windrunner had seen the fish with tumors and sickness, coming downstream, and he could feel it in the air too, could see the blackness settle over all things.
Windrunner had a way of hearing and seeing things sometimes, things that others could not see. Often these 'tellings' were whispered to him by the wind, and he would go run in the plains and fields until he understood what the wind wanted him to know. Now Windrunner needed to know what one young First Nations man could do to stop the onslaught of the black death snake. He needed to talk to the Great Spirit and to ask for guidance. There were rumblings from the North and the South of a great awakening happening, and a resistance movement that was growing, something as unstoppable as a grass fire on a windy day.
But Windrunner needed to know more, needed to decide what was the best course of action. He stopped running, his eye catching the flash of something yellow on the ground. It was a feather, as bright and vivid as the sunshine itself. Windrunner stuck it in his headband, and took it as a good sign, an omen of hope. He would use it later when he smudged, and asked for guidance from Spirit. Then he would give it to little Meggie for her collection, she loved bright shiny things so, just like the magpie she was nicknamed after.
Authors Note: This is Chapter One of The Prophecy of the Rainbow Warriors, a fictitious tale inspired by the Idle No More movement and the struggle of the Indigenous people of the world to fight government corruption and destruction of their lands. It is a work in progress - if you wish to read more please follow me here on http://michelledevlinmadamebutterfly.blogspot.ca/, FB, or Twitter.
MichelleDevlin is based in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
20 X 30 acrylics on canvas. participatory painting with 60 people (kids to elders), a space of learning and dialogue about the devastating project of the tar sands in northern alberta. -FYI painting is available for anyone to use for future actions around oil sands, the land, pipelines, etc.