Indigenous Arts & Stories - The Spirit That Appeared

The Spirit That Appeared

2005 - Writing Winner

Suddenly out of no where a loud booming noise arose. Startled, Meeko dropped to his knees. Again and again the noise was made. Home Meeko thought. Rising to his feet, Meeko started running for home. The noises became louder. Once Meeko cleared the bushes he saw what was happening.

Read Trisha Redman's The Spirit That Appeared

Trisha Redman

Pleasant Valley Secondary School, Enderby, BC
Age 17

Author's Statement

My story isn't a time period or a one-time event. Vision Quests were taken over generations and only in certain parts of Canada. I find this event inspiring because these children went off into the woods alone. They only had one container of water and instructions from an elder or the chief. They also had to believe that they would receive a message of wisdom and survive. The Missing Children event that my story touched on was when young children, not always boys, were taken from their families and taught how to speak English. The settlers did this to be able to talk to the natives. This was a good thing and also a terrible thing to happen. It can be looked on as the beginning of the end, for both the natives and the settlers. The most important part of my story was the family ties. Families were extremely important to the native tribes. The fact that these tribes, of anywhere between fifty to hundreds of people, can be so tight is amazing. Family ties are important to me, since my family has been stretched and changed over the years.


The Spirit That Appeared

As the sun began to come through the big oak tree, Meeko awakes with a grand smile upon his face. Two more days, he says to himself. Meeko is about to take his vision quest to become a man of the village. He rises and dresses to go fetch water.

Once at the waterside, he imagines coming home and seeing Willow for the first time as a man. Meeko’s dream is to make Willow his wife. Yet, he must ask Willow’s father for her hand. This is the part of Meeko’s future that scares him the most. Since Willow’s father is the Chief of the village. Meeko is almost sixteen, with strong ambitions and wonderful dreams. His muscular arms and brave heart make him stand out against the other boys in the village. He gathers the water for the day, in a wicker basket and turns to head for home.

As he starts walking back, he can see a girl running towards him. Willow’s long black hair waves in the air as she runs towards Meeko. She stops directly in front of him. Her dark eyes look scared and proud, slightly like his mother’s. Willow’s eyes search Meeko’s face as though she is trying to get an answer. Meeko tells her that he must go, to ever be looked on as a man. Willow pretends to understand since it is so important to Meeko. Outside she smiles at him, while inside she is crying her heart out. Meeko pulls her in close and whispers in her ear; that everything will work out, he will come home and they will be married. Although Willow is terrified she nods and heads back for the village with Meeko.

The day of the vision quest dawned sooner than Meeko or Willow thought. As Meeko’s mother gives him his sack of water, she began to cry. They went out to meet the tribe and send Meeko off to become a man. Willow stood beside her father, tears rolling down her face; waving good-bye to the boy she loves, hoping soon to see a man that she will love just as much. The chief gave Meeko his instructions. He was to go to the top of the Fire Mountain, wait for his vision to appear and give him his message of life. Meeko turned to his tribe and waved his last good-bye as a boy.

Meeko’s start seemed slow and soft, but he remembered advice from his grandmother; that slow and steady always prevails. As Meeko reached the edge of the forest night began to fall. Meeko rolled his leather vest into a log, and lied back to rest for the night. The bright stars shown down and Meeko began to fall asleep with a wonderful picture of when he comes back Willow smiling and running towards him, with her arms open. Also making Willow his wife.

By dawn of the next morning Meeko was already off. His high hopes of his quest where ready to come true. He began to climb Fire Mountain when the bright sun peeked the top of the mountain. Meeko’s hunger had started to set in when the sun was at high noon. His stomach had begun to make a grumbling noise with sharp pains in the sides of his ribs. Pushing himself up the mountain with knowledge of what was to come, Meeko tried quickly but knew better than to give up. When sun set fell for the second night of Meeko’s vision quest, he had reached the top of Fire Mountain. Now he just had to wait.

The days went slow. Sun up and down. Meeko was starting to run out of water and knew that if his vision didn’t come soon he would die from lack of water. On the third sundown since Meeko hit the top of Fire Mountain, a shape appeared out of thin air. A sprit shape. Pale and tall, with a log shaped weapon in its hands. Meeko sat up waiting for his life message. Waiting and waiting, but it wasn’t coming. A strange sound came to Meeko’s ears when the sprit opened its mouth. Meeko had always thought that the visions were sacred animals and birds. Why was his spirit of a man? Meeko couldn’t make sense of it. The spirit was pointing at Meeko then at the side of the mountain, waving its arms at the noises from its mouth were getting louder and louder.

Meeko tried to talk back to the spirit and tried to ask for his message, but it just walked over him and headed down the mountain. Meeko quickly rose from his seat, for the first time since reaching the top of Fire Mountain, watching what the spirit was doing. Slowly it went further and further away. It all seemed so strange to Meeko. First his vision was shaped like a man, then no message and it left. Knowing that he couldn’t leave for home at this time of night Meeko thought since his vision had come, it would be all right for him to lay back and rest for the night. He had it all planned. He would head for home in the morning and get his grandmother to interrupt his vision. But once almost asleep another vision came to Meeko. The Great Pearl Bear, the sign of Love and Guardianship. Meeko sat up and listened, this time getting a message.

When dawn came, Meeko was hiking down the mountain. He hoped to be home by nightfall. Not knowing why he had two visions was on his mind. Grandmother will know he reminded himself. When at the bottom of Fire Mountain it was getting to be dust. He decided to walk all night if he had to. He had to get home. With the stars guiding Meeko, he walked into the night. The cool breeze was keeping him awake, while the soft noises of the woods were making him relax.

Suddenly out of no where a loud booming noise arose. Startled, Meeko dropped to his knees. Again and again the noise was made. Home Meeko thought. Rising to his feet, Meeko started running for home. The noises became louder. Once Meeko cleared the bushes he saw what was happening.

Trees and homes were on fire, children screaming and yelling for parents. Tribe mates running panicked. Then louder than ever, the booming noise went off. Meeko watched someone fall over. He ran over. It was Willow’s father. He was lying on the ground eyes open but he wouldn’t respond to Meeko. Meeko called for help and called for Willow. Then the spirit appeared again. Meeko called for it to help him. But it just pointed its long narrow log-shaped object at him as another Spirit grabbed him. The one spirit facing Meeko then raised his log-like object and hit Meeko on the side of the head.

Meeko arose to something rubbing his arm and small drops of dew dropping on him. As he opened his eyes, he could see it was Willow crying. She wrapped her arms around him, crying and telling him how much she loved him. Meeko tried to sit up, but it hurt. His head was pounding and Willow was draped across him as if she would never let go. Slowly people started moving around. Some crying over bodies of dead tribe mates, others walking wondrously around looking at damage and remembering the events of the night before.

It seemed strange to Meeko and Willow that mother’s calling for their children. Eight boys between six and eleven were missing. Some older boys went out looking for them, but returned empty handed. When everyone found out that the chief was dead there was a long silence. Willow’s uncle was then to take over, until the elders appointed the new chief.

Weeks and weeks went by. The missing boys never showed up. The thought of the tribe was that when the commotion started that night, the boys ran for safety, but were caught. Their mother’s grieved along with the tribe. Meeko believed that something good must come of this tragedy. He went to the elders one night. He talked openly with the elders and asked them for Willow’s hand. They granted him permission. Four long days went by. On the night of the fourth, Willow became Meeko’s wife.

Three months after Meeko and Willow married. The strange noises reappeared. The noise the spirit had made when it tried to talk to Meeko. Along with the noise were the sounds of the missing boys calling for their mothers. Everyone in the tribe came out to see the commotion. The missing boys had been caught, that night.

The missing boys were being lead in on ropes. The Spirits would yell at the boys and they would interpret it to Meeko. Meeko had been appointed Chief, since marrying Willow. The boys described how they were taught to speak the white mans language. Also how the white man wanted the land. Now Meeko had the greatest decision to ever be made. Co-operate with the white man or go to war.