Twilight painted the small forest clearing. The Chief, who was also the Spirit Guide of the tribe, stood tall and majestic in his ceremonial garb.
Three young women knelt before him. Having just become women, they were excited at the thought of becoming adults with official tribal names. They knew their new names would be communicated throughout the whole tribal network, and all the young braves would become aware of them as they competed for the most desirable mates.
The youngest one watched intently as her two companions received their names. Each of them smiled looked pleased as the feather dipped.
The feather dipped for the third time. “Your name is Ugly Woman.” She glanced at Spotted Fawn and Gray Dove through downcast eyes. Unbidden, a tear fell. “Thank you, father.” She murmured meekly.
He found her later where she hid, weeping with shame, by the woodbine. “Our women look much alike,” he said; “Their faces are broad and round. They are thick and chunky when young and fat when old.”
She looked at him miserably.
“You are different,” he went on. “You are slimmer and you have aquiline features. You are not pretty yet, but you will be.”
“You know the Great Spirit dwells within me, my daughter. You must trust me and be at peace. There are dozens of Fawns and Doves and Robins. Your name will draw attention. You will not be just another squaw in the tribes. When the braves hear your name they will be curious and seek you out, at first for sport. Then when they see you, they will be pleasantly surprised. They will talk about you and compete for your hand. You will have a fine mate, a new married name, many children, and a good life.
Ugly Woman smiled wanly, and her face brightened up a little. She could not know, as her father did, that in the future during another naming ceremony, she would be given her marriage name, “Beautiful Treasure.”
Note from author:
My own spirit guide, David, gave me this story about American Indian spirit beliefs and customs. David says he knows many Indian chiefs, maidens, braves, and their tribal rites. I have not attempted to research, lest I ruin the little story captured by my own guide.
In this touchy-feely world, many might take offense at words like “squaw,” even is in a term like squaw bread. The stereotypes are rampant, I know, but must we throw away all forms of art to conform to facts and realism, and current beliefs of social “rights and wrongs?” If so, I am lost.
Hope you take it lightly and enjoy it for what it is. Bye for now from Sweet Nan and her co-conspirator, David.