Not Exactly a Teepee

The two tall, sun-darkened men gazed upward toward the light.

“Did you ever see a teepee like that, Brother?”

Klah (Left-handed) smiled. “Is that what it means?  That pictures a teepee?”

“I think so,” replied Naalnish (He Works).

They walked through the building,  a museum dedicated to the American Indian. Interesting, sometimes beautiful displays  caught their interest. Much thought and study had gone into creating the museum. Still. . .

“How can they put our Spirit into a building?  What about the outdoors?  Coyote, elk,  buffalo, snake? Our people?”

“They mean well, Klah. They’ve done their best. It is an honor.”


51 thoughts on “Not Exactly a Teepee

  1. Interesting flash as it makes you think. The emotions and feelings can never be captured and the loss of Indigenous cultural identity is hard to show in a museum. But the last sentence shows acceptance “they mean well”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know that it ever could be. I’m not a pie-in-the-sky kind of person when it comes to the reality of history, and the history of Native Americans has plenty of blood and gore in it before the first white man ever arrived. They warred with one another constantly as one tribe pushed into another’s territory. But I think what we DON”T see is, in my understanding, a common love of the land, respect for the animals that helped sustain them, and an adherence to an independent way of living that we Americans certainly ought to respect and value, since it was part of the foundation of our country as it is today.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Abhijit Ray

    It may be difficult for freedom loving people to comprehend how their spirit can be expressed in one building. But that is modern society. Miniaturisation is the norm. Nice take.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I understand what you’re saying here, I do think we need to remember that the Native tribes were pretty handy at destroying each other before Europe ever reached the shores of the new world. It is sad to see what used to be a free-roaming culture confined to specific places–usually where no white man would choose to live–and our history of dishonesty and treaty-breaking can’t be denied or overlooked. It is the history of all mankind, one people-group pushing another as land grabs are made through the centuries. It’s still going on today.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really know very little about the Native Americans but I get the gist of your story and I wholeheartedly agree to the fact that it is difficult to capture the essence of a culture in an exhibit. Nearly impossible I would say.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A stuffed animal – whether elephant, eagle or bison – can never convey the majesty of the living beast.
    And so it is with the culture, life, and spirit of a people.
    Cool story, cleverly told.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like Jilly and several others I like Naalnish’s acknowledgement that the museum was an act of goodwill. In quite another direction, your story prompted me to wonder whether the future of museums lies in virtual reality. It would certainly be easier to capture something of the outdoor experience. Of course, we might not refer to them as museums – they would probably be marketed as immersive games. You still wouldn’t capture the essence of a people, but you might get a little closer.

    Liked by 1 person

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