Turning Point in my Life September 25, 2014

If I had to chose one of the very few turning points that have really changed my life for the better it would have to be my very first year in the Vermilion River 4-h Outdoor Club. When i first went into 4-h I loved it. It was a great way to meet new people and I have learned a lot from 4-h. It really developed my public speaking skills because of the annual Public Speaking events where you would create a presentation to present in front of an audience. I learned a wide variety of subjects in my 5 past years of 4-h from how to care for sheep and train dogs to tips about surviving in the wilderness. I have been in 3 different clubs consistingof Outdoor, Canine and Sheep. Aside from the many intellectual benefits, 4-h has also provided many social benefits because I get to go and meet some friends that I otherwise wouldn’t even talk to. 4-h overall has allowed me to see the world more and make me a better person, and it all started with my first meeting in September, 2009.

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Someone who has affected my life September 24, 2014

I come from a large family, so it is kinda hard to single out one person who has had a large impact on my life. If I had to chose one person, it would have to be my father, Lennie, for a multitude of reasons. He is a larger man standing at 6′ and a solid 253 lbs. Unfortunately he has lost most of his hair over the years, but he definitely makes up for it with his impressive moustache. I have personally never seen him falter from anything due to fear. He has walked in a small shed swarming with angry wasps with nothing but a can of brake cleaner. I would say that takes some courage. He also has a great sense of humor when he makes up unbelievable stories that you can never tell if he is lying about it or not. My dad is a kind and respectable man who never misses any single situation he can help in. If anyone needs help, he is the first one to do it. My father has basically taught me half of everything I know about woodworking and preparing food. My dad has certainly done a lot for me and he still finds time to stop at gas stations and pick us up some chips and chicken. These are only a few of the many reasons why I chose to pick my Dad as a person to affect my life because he really has affected my life.

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The Day the River Stood Still September 5, 2014

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This is a small story  that relates to the wordle I posted.

(note: All racial comments are strictly narrative, not based on personal prejudice)

The Day the River Stood Still: Derek Hryciuk

 

 

 

Young Buffalo stared at the shining yellow rock clutched in his hands. He found it down by the big river. He didn’t really know what it was but he knew that these rocks were very common over by the river nowadays. It was the year 1877  in the Great Plains of the United States where the buffalo used to roam and our people used to live peacefully. The Indian Wars are coming to a standstill between the tribes and the soldiers, but they weren’t over yet.

“Young Buffalo, bring that rock over here,” White Deer said.

White Deer was the village Medicine Man. He knew how the world worked and was usually asked by the villagers to solve their problems such as spiritual guidance or advice on personal troubles. He was also responsible for religious ceremonies like weddings, Burial Ceremonies and spiritual healing.

“Where did you find this Young Buffalo?” asked White Deer.

“Just over by the river,” answered Young Buffalo.

White Deer knew what this was. The white man called it gold. They would stop at nothing for even the smallest amount of this so-called gold. How could a single piece of rock be so important to these people? They had to make sure none of the surveyors figured out about this. The white men already have chopped down all the trees and we haven’t seen a buffalo in months, it’s hard to believe they really need anything else. Yet they still wanted more and ignored our tribes.

“Make sure you do not show any of these rocks to anyone.”

“But why not?” replied Young Buffalo.

“Just do as I say and you will learn in time.”

Young Buffalo did not know what the Medicine Man meant by any of this but he listened nonetheless. After the conversation with White Deer, he went back to the village. He went over and found his friend Aukai and told him about the rock knowing Aukai wouldn’t really care. He pulled out the rock from his pocket and showed Aukai.

“Where did you find that!?” demanded Aukai.

“I just found it over by the river, I can show you if you’d like.”

Young Buffalo led his friend towards the river and they investigated the rocks further. They each grabbed one and put it in their pockets to keep.  After an hour of exploring the river rocks they found much more of them then they originally thought would be there. They headed back to the village and went to go hear some stories from the elders. As they were listening to some of the stories the elder noticed the peculiar chunks of yellow rock inside Young Buffalos pockets and he asked them,

“Do you know what those rocks are?”

“Yes, White Deer told me it was called gold,” Young Buffalo replied.

“Let me tell you a very special story about those yellow rocks. Many moons ago, I did not live in this village. I lived in the great forests of the east in a place the white people now call ‘Ruperts Land’. It once was our land. Our village was located in very fertile land with good hunting grounds. We lived in peace until we could see the government surveyors coming closer and closer to our village each day. We knew eventually that we would ‘sell’ our land to them. Let’s say a man walked up to you and asked to buy your horses. You say no because you like your horses. He leaves and asks somebody else if they want to buy your horses and he sells them to the other man. He then confronts you and tells you that someone has bought your horses. That is how the white man take our lands. They eventually bought our land and we were pushed into an infertile reserve. At least we knew the white man wouldn’t cause us anymore trouble. That is until we found those same yellow rocks floating within the river beside our village. One of the village children eventually noticed this and showed a trader who eventually brought some of his friends to collect these rocks. We didn’t mind because they were considerate and wouldn’t interfere with us too much, but we noticed the group of prospectors grew larger and larger each day. It got more and more crowded and some of the villagers got into fights with the traders. It only got worse everyday until eventually they decided to make us an offer. You move off this land or we take you off this land. We told them we already moved when you wanted us to move and that this was now our home. We refused. They did not take this kindly. The miners and a hundred government soldiers arrived outside our village and asked us again. ‘Move off this land or we take you off this land. They were consistent, asking us again and again. We bravely refused. The next moment the air was filled with cracks and booms just like the thunder and lightning when the Gods were angry. Our huts burned and our villagers scattered. The warriors didn’t even have time to arm themselves by the time they were all killed. Me and several other braves knew that we couldn’t resist them so we gathered the women and children and moved west, where we eventually settled and set up this very village 60 seasons ago. All of this was caused by a couple of yellow stones. You must make sure we do not share the same fate.”

Young Buffalo had no idea what to say to this. He agreed and told the elders he would never show any man these rocks. Young Buffalo and Aukai decided they would rest and go hunting in the morning. They bid each other goodnight.

The next day Aukai and Young Buffalo went hunting and were just about to kill their second deer when a couple of figures appeared in the horizon and were heading this way. Traders they thought. They confronted them. The traders showed the two boys some strange goods they’ve never seen before. The boys were just about to walk away when the trader showed them a very fancy necklace that Aukai really wanted but he explained he had nothing to trade besides a dead deer. Then Aukai remembered. He still had that chunk of rock in his pocket that the white man loved. He showed the trader the rock and Young Buffalo tried to stop Aukai. The trader quickly snatched the gold and threw the pendant at Aukai. The other trader grabbed Aukais neck and demanded the source of this rock. Out of fear Aukai showed him the river. The trader then left and they didn’t see him again. Until the next day.

Over the next few days many traders have come into the village despite the treaty and the disagreement of the villagers. Every day more and more came into the village just like that elders story. The prospectors rejoiced every time they would find even a pebble of that gold. Even then the river seemed that it was running faster than before. As the days went by the two boys noticed the river getting faster and faster. It also seemed that the faster the river went, the more gold the white man would find.

The days all seemed to go by fast until one day. One of the prospectors instigated a fight with one of our braves. An elder tried telling him that this was against the treaty but the miner didn’t listen. The  man started to assault the elder so a brave stepped in. They fought for a while until the miner grabbed his rifle and shot the warrior right in the stomach. Everyone stopped and stared. Suddenly the braves let out their fearsome war cries and grabbed their weapons and started killing the prospectors. The elders tried stopping them, but our warriors were angry. We chased all of the white people out of the village and the braves got ready because they knew there would be more the next day. Now  the river was raging faster than ever.

Chief Bear Claw called a council.

“Circle of Nations! The White-Devils will be back. Our choices are thin, like the forest ravaged by fire, what council do my chiefs have?”

Raging River, our War Chief, had an idea.

“Why don’t we gather allies? Our old friends the Mountain Crow would surely send warriors to help us. Even the Nez-Perce or the Yurok would at least try to send us supplies or ponies. We could even go south and join the other rebelling tribes with the Comanche and the Seminoles. All we need to be is united. Together we could take back our lands, and take the blood to their people!”

“No,” White Deer Spoke up. “That would only bring about more suffering to more people. This fight is ours, and ours only.”

“I agree with White Deer, we mustn’t take this tragedy to other tribes.”

The council came to their consensus and started to prepare for what was to come.

The government sent hundreds of soldiers and several field guns and prepared them around our village.They asked us to either move off these lands or be taken off them. Same as the elders story. We refused.

I heard their leader Long Hair (We called him long hair, he was known among his people as Armstrong Custer) speak.

” These savages have broken our treaties and they must all be killed. Every single one of these Red-Skins are hostile. Shoot on sight! ”

Just as Young Buffalo predicted, the air filled with thunder. Their cavalry sounded their trumpets and charged cutting down any  man, women or child they saw in cold blood. This was not a war, this was a massacre. Tipis burned and our people slaughtered. Our braves confronted them, but fell by the dozen. Chief Bear Claw tried to show them that this was a peaceful village by showing them the US Treaty Flag but he was simply shot down by the Blue Coats.

White Deer led the women and children out of the village, knowing that fighting these people would only bring more death.  Young Buffalo and Aukai went with them. An elder met Aukais gaze and Young Buffalo knew what the elder was thinking.

“I told you.” The elder then fell and entered the spirit world forever.

One month later Aukai and Young Buffalo returned to the old site of their village. Their village was gone. What was left was a group of tents that were left behind by the prospectors. They walked up to the river and they noticed something very strange. The river was standing still. It wasn’t moving. Weirder yet was the river no longer had the shiny stones it had before. The very stones that destroyed their people, were all gone. Aukai spoke.

“This was my fault. Our people suffered from my wrong doing so I must share their suffering. I am ready to live no more forever.”

Aukai stepped into the river and slowly started evanescenting from the earth. Young Buffalo stopped and stared. His best friend was leaving. He was dying, but Young Buffalo knew this was Aukai’s decision. Soon after there was nothing left of his best friend. He knew this  wasn’t any ones fault. Greed caused all of this. One small stone changed the fate of his people in a matter of days. Only when the last fish has been caught, the last tree cut, the air unsafe to breathe, the last animal killed and the last river polluted, only then will they realize they cannot eat money. For the rest of his life Young Buffalo will always remember that very fateful day.

The day the river stood still.

 

Take warning because this story shows what might eventually happen to us. Our greed will lead us to keep taking more and more until nothing is left for us to take.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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