This is a purely fictional story:
Matoaka sat and stared up in childish wonder. Staring up at her grandmother in the warmly colored tee-pee, she eagerly listened to her retelling of the ancient prophecy. Her whimsical hand gestures and imaginative tone of voice were enough to transport Matoaka’s young and impressionable mind to the scenes her grandmother was describing.
“One day, my child, when you’re older and have roamed the Earth, a black snake will come. He will come when least expected, slowly drinking up our water, and will then try and destroy our Earth! But don’t worry, young flower, the members of the seventh generation will come and defend the Earth from the evil, black snake. A very special child will defeat the black snake itself.”
“Who?” Matoaka’s small voice asked.
“It could be anyone! Even you, my small one!” her Grandmother says, before tickling Matoaka’s tummy. Matoaka’s giggles grew louder and more fervent until everything froze. For this was merely a memory, a moment Matoaka was remembering. No longer the child she used to be, Matoaka was about to discover the reason she was put on this Earth. She was ready to fight the Black Snake.
Matoaka was 18 when she heard of the Black Snake. Every bit a woman, from her tan skinned toes to her black braided hair. She looked like her ancestors. There was a letter sent to the chief of her Sioux tribe. It told of the coming of the black snake from its loyal, nefarious supporters. The chief pronounced to the tribe that they were in the midst of dark times. The black snake was indeed coming, coming to taint their water supply with its crude oil, and its body was to slither right through their very land. Their land. The land the invaders had so generously given them after taking their homeland. Matoaka was not ready to sit on the sidelines. She began research on when and where the black snake was coming. She started a Facebook page to raise awareness. She thought the black snake and its supporters could be convinced to not destroy their land. Millions of people reached out and asking how they could help defeat the black snake. Matoaka wasn’t prepared for the vast outpour of help they were receiving. After setting a date, Matoaka was ready to start the first battle with the black snake. After rallying neighboring tribes together and getting in contact with the millions who wanted to help, Matoaka began her preparation for the first battle. Her time had come. The black snake was coming.
The day of the first battle, Matoaka painted her face, arms, legs, and fists with the same message her and the millions were trying to get across to the snake. Water is Life. She chose this message because she felt it would resonate with the black snake. While she was painting herself, her Grandmother walked into her room.
“I never thought I’d live to see the day,” she whispers.
“What?” Matoaka turns around, smiling.
“The day the seventh generation fought the black snake.”
Matoaka eyes grow wide. She hadn’t realized the fight had arrived. As the sun rose, she hadn’t realized the seventh generation was here. Here, living and breathing in the same space. Matoaka, smiling, finished painting herself as her Grandmother braids her hair. Then, she sets out. Holding a banner, it starts out as just her walking to the area. She’s soon joined by hundreds, which turns into thousands, which turns into millions. Her friend, Chaska, helps her hold up the long banner, and so they marched.
“Water is Life!” is heard as a chant.
A single, brave voice, heard through the silence of the day. Water is life, the raw, unfiltered truth. The warm feeling in Matoaka’s belly spreads throughout her body. She was here, in the epicenter of protecting her land from the cruel black snake. She’s nothing but happy.
Then her pupils dilate and the warm feeling turns cold as she spots them. The black snake’s minions. They’re blocking their path. The minions carry guns and wear face masks and have rabid dogs on leashes.
“But they won’t let them loose,” she thinks.
“They have to believe water is life, too. They’re human” are the last words that escape her lips before everything is a blur. The dogs are unleashed, rabid, horrid dogs who want with every ounce of their being to pick apart your flesh because that’s how they were raised. The guns come out but no one shoots; they’re merely displays of what could occur. And then the gas. The gas that makes your lungs give out and your eyes water until you cry like someone has broken your heart. Matoaka is horrified. She searches for her grandmother, whose lungs were delicate and old and frail. But she sees her being helped by two of the millions. So then Matoaka turns to face the minions. Their faces are shielded like cowards, not wanting to show their faces for fear of recognizing the bad things they’ve done. She stood there, her feet bare, connected to her native land, with her fist raised. As the dogs tried to bite at her thighs, as the pink gas was sprayed so violently her eyes began to water and throat began to itch, there she stood, nothing making her fist waiver or stance break. This was HER land. The land of her people. The people who these...these invaders have mistreated for years. She refused to make this another attack. This was going to be different. This was the day she stood up for HER land, HER people, HER Earth. Against this disastrous black snake. She stands until her bones ache, until her eyes droop, and when she thinks she’ll be able to hold herself for a little while longer, a dog runs through her weakened legs and she falls, knocked unconscious from her tired spirit.
She wakes up in bed, unharmed, with her friend Chaska sitting at her bedside. Matoaka sits up, and Chaska has tears in his eyes.
“Matoaka,” he whispers.
“Your Grandmother is dying.”
With those words, Matoaka runs, her spirit forgetting about her tired legs and bruised knees and droopy eyes. She runs into her Grandmother’s tee-pee, kneels by her bedside. The women who once told stories with the most light in her eyes has had her light snuffed out. She was weak, frail. Her lungs were weak and frail and couldn’t take the strong tear gas. Her breath was shallow and the medicine man told Matoaka to say goodbye. Matoaka, with tears in her eyes, tries to speak but her grandmother’s shallow voice makes out a few words.
“Matoaka...my flower between rivers… don’t let the black snake win.” she whispers before taking a deep breath in and out.
With that, her spirit had left her body, and Grandmother was gone. Mataoka cried and cried, but took her word to heart.
From that moment on, Mataoka set many protests. The rest were peaceful, the police rarely showed up. Mataoka saw the impact she was having and thought the black snake had been vanquished for good. But she arose one morning to the news that the Americans had elected their leader the night before. One of his first actions was to allow the black snake to slither through their land. Mataoka was numb. The rest of the day she felt numb. The next day as she packed her belongings to leave, she was numb. She was numb as she trekked away from her home, the only thing she’s ever known. She was numb when her chief led them to a small reserve who agreed to house the Indians for as long as they needed. Mataoka was so numb. The black snake had won. Mataoka had not an ounce of hope in her body. And as the months passed and her old home’s water was tainted with the disgusting, crude oil that created nothing but thirst and famine. She had a daily routine in her new home, but it didn’t feel natural. She picked up the sand one day, let it fall from her fingers, and cried.
“Oh, Mother Earth,” she wailed, “Why do we treat you so badly? Why do we puncture you and stuff you full of poison? You are the mother of every single thing we know.”
The Earth trembled slightly and the wind whispered, “Because my children have forgotten what they are made of. Their minds are so superficial they’ve forgotten about me. Go, my flower between rivers, and tell people of me. Tell them to treat me kindly and love me as I have loved them”
With that, the Earth stopped trembling, the wind stopped whispering, and Mataoka laid in the Earth, soaking up the Earth’s spirit. Mataoka was a warrior, but even great warriors need to rest and feel the Earth.
Author's Note: I hope this story brought you light and happiness! Please consider donating in my profile. — Bella