These rambling paragraphs describe only my experiences in Indian Country. I’ve also put to paper experiences that I’ve had with non-Indians who were, in some fashion, related to these experiences and times in my life. All of these accounts, words, observations, are as accurate and authentic as my memory and mind allows.
Who knows what draws us to certain places and people. We know it happens. As children we might get glimpses of these people and places when our imagination spins the stories that might fill our days and nights.
Or, maybe, we wander out to an empty meadow, or a ridge of stone overlooking a field of grass, or a deep forest and know that in this place, not so long ago, there lived a very different people. These people sang songs, raised many generations of men and women, and died right here. We might touch the earth and know that those same feet and fingers touched this very same earth. But unlike us, they are gone.
We might look down a suburban highway lined with shopping centers and know that for thousands of years people lived, celebrated, fought, on this same stretch of pavement and concrete. These same people wondered how their lives would play out,, they had girl friends and boy friends. They worried if their companions still cared for them. Whole lives and cultures rose and fell on this place now comfortably covered by stores, roads, and suburban lawns.
We are not them.
We live with the legacy of their removal from “our” world. We don’t want to hear how they disappeared and became, if nothing else, ghosts whose voices are utterly still and silent. What follows is my own account of a journey into these forgotten places.
Beginning from Philadelphia and ending in Arizona, this is as much my tale as it is our story.
Tomorrow: New Jersey and the Rising of the Forgotten Voices