There were seven Indian Government schools. All built alike. The
one I'm writing about is Spring Creek. He Dog, Soldier Creek and White River,
Grass Mountain, Two Kettle, and Black Pipe were the other schools. The
Headquarters for these schools was at Rosebud, South Dakota.
On some summer evenings we were able to talk our mothers into
hiking to the lookout tower. We followed the ankle deep sandy trail road to the
cliff north of the school., A canyon lay at the foot of the tower but we climbed the
bluff. I don't know why we didn't explore the canyon unless it seemed dark and
sinister. The footing was better once we reached the summit. The closer we got
to the tower the taller it grew and standing at the foot of the steps looking up was
easier than getting to the top and looking down. My mother didn't usually make it
to the top because she didn't like heights. But she didn't mind being left behind
this time. We never could get into the building at the top because it was locked,
but we could climb the steps to the very last one. Even my little sister managed
to elude mom and followed us to the top.
From the bluff we could look down on the garden. My aunt grew a
huge garden and canned the produce for the hot meals served the school
children. We kids didn't work in the garden very often, but we looked for the arrow
heads and fossils. Which, I suspect the adults probably considered the best
place for us.
At the end of the road, living in shack, was Old Lady Grease. I have a
vague recollection of seeing her. Tiny, frail, wrinkled and gray headed is all I can
In spring and fall we were in school in Kansas.
It's Christmas now. Cold and usually snowy. We were in a winter
I'm standing at the fire escape window. The ghostly pale full moon is
illuminating the naked arms of the trees as they shiver in the wind, swaying to
and fro as if dancers in a ballet. I listen to the winter sounds. The frigid air
enhances their sharpness. The ax's thud echoes up the canyon as one of the
Indians across the river chops another supply of wood. One of his peers beats
on the drum. It is one-thirty a. m. but the thin walls of the tents do not keep the
cold out. Day or night this chore must be attended to for survival.