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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 22, 2003 - Issue 81


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Thunderhawk- The Great Cross Country Adventure - Part 4

by Geoff Hampton

Hey Kids! Do you want to help Andrew the Apache choose his route?

In the Thunderhawk Story, Andrew the Apache is traveling from East Tennessee to Upstate New York. You can submit ideas for his route and ideas for obstacles he may encounter along the way. Also, if your tribe is located along the route, include information that you would like to see in the story about your tribe's customs.

You may also help plan his route from Upper New York State to California for later this year! Again. if your tribe is located along the route, include information that you would like to have included about your customs.

If your ideas are selected and you would be included in the story, let us know!

Submit all ideas to:

CampfireThe night was bitterly cold. Andrew Daly, the great Apache warrior kept a constant vigil and the fire full of fresh wood for maximum warmth. The crackling of the fire and the beautiful smell of the burning timber always made the great warrior remember his youth and times spent by fires with his Father and Grandfather. From time to time he would softly recite a chant that his Grandfather had taught him as a child. The chant was said to have been handed down from one generation to the next, having been created by of the greatest Apache Medicine Men of long ago. It was a chant that thanked the Great Creator for all of his wonderful gifts and asked him in times of danger to give extra strength to particular individuals or creatures so that they would have a better chance to overcome and survive difficult circumstances. The chant always made Andrew the Apache feel as though he and the Great Creator were personally in touch with each other and he was always satisfied that the Great Creator would listen carefully to his requests during these times.

Back at the homeground, Virginia O'Malley and Penny Pilgrim couldn't sleep. They each found their way to a special spot that gave them a clear view of the sky yet kept them hidden from any lurking predators. As Penny made her way to the spot she unexpectantly met up with Virginia O'Malley; they smiled in acknowledgement at each other. There were no words exchanged because they each knew why the other was there. Both little mice had tears of emotion in their eyes. They turned their loving eyes towards the heavens and the beauty of the sky amazed them that particular evening. It was the time of the snow moon and it shined brilliantly in the sky above. It lit the Great Smoky Mountains up with an eerie brilliance. The snow on the ground served to make the moonlight even brighter with its quality of natural reflection. There was a gentle breeze blowing out of the east and occasionally a gust of wind would blow through causing some of the frozen snow to make a sound like little feet running across the top crust of the snow. The gusts would also cause the surrounding tree branches to sway back and forth and make eerie creaking sounds.

ShamrockTime passed as they both looked towards the evening sky and still not a word was spoken. They were fearful as a result of Fiona's visions but were afraid to speak because they knew they might end up crying out loud worried that they might awaken others. Virginia O'Malley thought back to her childhood and of the stories from their ancestors from Ireland and how difficult the long journey had been to their new home in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She remembered how her mama had taught her Irish tunes handed down from generation to generation and that were meant for different situations. She remembered one tune in particular that was designed to sooth their minds in stressful situations. It was said to have been from a time so long ago, even before St. Patrick had chased all of the snakes from Ireland and the mice lived in constant fear of the dreadful critters. She wondered if Penny might know the tune as it may help to softly sing it together. She decided to begin singing it and see if her dear friend Penny would join in. As she began the song Penny was startled to hear it. It took her back to her childhood as well. She remembered the words clearly even though she hadn't heard it in such a very, very long time. She smiled as she softly joined Virginia O'Malley in the familiar tune she had learned so long ago. After a few minutes of softly singing the song, they looked at each other and smiled. They spontaneously hugged each other and felt much better. They each took one more long look at the beautiful full snow moon and without a word went back to bed. The old folklore had lifted their spirits.

At first light, Andrew the Apache knew that the morning air was going to be crisp as it always is at that time of day. He added extra fuel to the fire and the flames rose higher and higher. It gave off tremendous heat and the crackling sound was even more intense.

Now, Andrew the Apache raised his arms high and as he looked toward morning sunrise he chanted a prayer to the Great Creator in a loud voice that was filled with urgency. Then he faced the south, then west, then north and finally back to the east again. As he slowly lowered his arms after chanting he went over to see how the two little mice were doing.

Scared MousePaden was sitting there staring blankly at his dear friend Paddy. Paddy still wasn't moving and it was difficult to know if he was really breathing or not. As Paddy lay there by the fire his tongue was now hanging out of the side of his mouth, he appeared to be dead. His eyes were open with a blank stare without blinking. It was a frightening sight. Paden slowly lifted his eyes up and looked at Andrew the Apache. Very softly he said, "Is he dead?" Andrew the Apache slowly moved his head from side to side to indicate "no". Then Paden said, "Is he going to die?" Andrew the Apache did not answer for a very long time.

Paden just stared blankly at Andrew the Apache while waiting for an answer. Finally, Andrew the Apache spoke saying, "Paden, there is no way that any of us can know the will of the Great Creator. He allows Mother Nature to make many decisions that affect life and death for all creatures of our great Mother Earth. Paddy is very sick. He is not conscious. The only thing that we can do is go on with our lives, pray and keep a positive attitude while we are around him. His spirit will detect that we care about him and our positive energy will do more good than negative energy. Even if he is taken from us into the Spirit World, we would want him to leave with good energy and not bad. That is important." Paden looked at Andrew the Apache and then back at his good friend Paddy. He had no more words at that time.

BloodhoundAndrew the Apache left and went to search for more firewood. The dogs were up and two of them went with their master to watch over him as he searched for firewood. Paden's favorite dog, Thunder licked his face as he turned to see if he was still lying next to him. Paden said, "Yuk!" Thunder the jet black dog looked like he was smiling. His tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth and he was breathing heavily, blowing his breath in the direction of Paden's face. Thunder lifted his eyes towards the beautiful sunrise and then back at Paden. He licked him again. Paden said, "Thunder…you're gross! You're breath stinks!" Thunder let out a short bark and then laid his head back down on his paws. He was a huge dog.

Paden put his arms around Paddy to hold him tightly. Paddy felt cold as ice and this made Paden worry even more. He gently shook Paddy and said, "Paddy…wake up. Please Paddy…wake up. I miss playing with you. You're the best friend I ever had. Please Paddy…PLEEEEEAAASE COME BACK TO ME." Then Paden began to softly cry. He couldn't help it. He wanted to be positive but he just couldn't be strong at that moment. He was scared.

When Andrew the Apache came back, Paden looked up at him through his tear laden face and asked, "Can we go home now?" Andrew the Apache responded, "Paddy, whether Paden comes back to us or not is beyond our control. We should stay here for a day or two and see if his condition improves. We will not make a decision today." Paden said, "Okay."

Several days went by and with each passing day, Paden kept hoping that he would awaken to find his friend Paddy ready to play Thunder Jack or Cowrate. Paddy did not wake up. One morning Andrew the Apache came to Paden and asked him what he wanted to do as he needed to leave and he could either take the little mice back to their homeground or they could continue their journey and hope that Paddy would awaken along the way. Paden thought for a little while and said, "Okay…let's leave this chicken coop!" Andrew the Apache smiled broadly as he knew that Paden was using the words that Paddy had used when he had first found out about them going with Andrew the Apache on this great cross country adventure.

BloodhoundAndrew the Apache broke camp and they moved off to the northeast. Paden was perched in his saddle up on Thunder's back. He had little Paddy laid across Thunder's back in front of him making sure he was comfortable so that he could keep an eye on Paddy and stroke his face every once in awhile. Andrew the Apache looked back at Paden and grinned.

As they moved forward in the bitterly cold conditions they reached the frozen Tennessee River. It was much larger than the Little River and they had to cross it in order to continue their journey. Paden stood up in the saddle, hesitating while looking at the large river. It frightened him. He remembered what had happened to Paddy at the last frozen river.

Andrew the Apache looked at Paden and saw how frightened he was. He said, "My little friend, we must cross this river to continue our journey. It is safe here. The ice is very thick. This part of the river has slower moving water. We will all be fine." Paden was not convinced, as he was petrified. They began crossing the river anyway. Thunder slipped and Paden intuitively screamed. Thunder barked and looked back at Paden; they kept going. The ice was making terrible creaking and cracking sounds and Paden was scared that it would give way under them. His eyes bulged, as it seemed like it was taking forever to get to the other side. He was tightly holding onto Paddy to keep him safe. Suddenly about fifteen yards from the other bank Thunder stopped and began barking and then growling very menacingly. The hair on Thunder's back stood straight up and he let out a deep vicious growling sound.

Andrew the Apache stopped and intently surveyed the woods on the side of the river that they were approaching. Then all of the dogs started growling and barking. The hair on all of their backs stood up straight. Paden wondered what was going on, as he became more terrified than he had ever been in his life.

Dog - Big PawsAndrew the Apache called out to the second largest dog named Big Paws and made a grunting command pointing toward the woods where the dogs were looking and barking. Big Paws took off, slipping on the ice but regaining his balance and running as fast as he could toward the woods. He was growling and making scary short barking sounds as he went.

Paden was so scared. He saw the intensity in Andrew the Apache's face and then he saw him aggressively take out the big knife that was strapped to the bottom of his right leg. He ordered Thunder to go back but Thunder didn't want to as he wanted to stay and fight if there was a fight. Andrew the Apache reprimanded Thunder again, this time becoming much more aggressive in ordering Thunder to go back. Thunder growled in resentment, but did as he was told.

Paden was looking back to try to see what was going on. Then he heard a loud yelping sound coming from the woods where Big Paws had previously vanished from sight. Andrew the Apache charged the woods with the other dogs and he too disappeared from sight. Thunder was upset and rapidly walking back and forth on the other bank trying hard to obey his masters orders.

Then there was silence. All of the barking and growling on the other side stopped and there wasn't a sound to be heard. Paden was so scared. What was happening? Then Thunder let out a weird sounding howl, kind of like a wolf and then stared intently to the last spot where they had seen the others disappear. Paden yelled out loud, "What's going on?" But there was a deep and eerie silence surrounding them.

The End - Part 4

© 2002 Geoff Hampton

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. He is also the Marketing Director for Indian Voices newspaper and is a regular columnist for the wellness business Website He can be reached by E-mail at

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