Phil Bradley stood among the rocks overlooking the beach. The longboats, with their ceremonial paint and decorations, glided up to beach on the soft sand. As Phil watched, dozens of bronze skinned, and some white- skinned people unloaded ceremonial chairs, headdresses and cedar clothing. They carried probing poles, shovels, metal detectors and colorful blankets, all decorated with Salish tribal crest on the wooly- dog fur blankets. They silently paraded up the hills, to the base of Doug, centuries old fallen patriarch of the old growth woods.
The laborers set to work, probing the giant root hole where Doug had been securily anchored before the storm yanked his roots from their nursery, and bared them to the splendorous Aurora Borealis sky on Novenbe 26, 2021.
As probing continued into the softened soil, native workers hummed and chanted to the rythmn of their work. A single drummer set the rythmn, and guided the chant.
Suddenly, birds converged on the work site, sending a cacophony of sound to the sky, signaling land creatures to come. As the the sky glowed with color, birds sang and squawked, mice and rodents raced to best-view locations, and regal great forest creatures rumbled to see the happenings. Great whales in the bay spy-hopped to catch a glimpse of the event.
The workers paused, to don their ceremonial garb, mostly cedar garments, cone-shaped head gear and shell- bedecked leggings that jingled as workers moved.
The metal probes were gathered to a 10 foot area where Doug’s heart had beat until his execution three days before. Probes and metal detectors screamed with recognition of the copper hinges on the cedar boxes, buried in the hole. All the buckles, beads and bells of copper had withstood the test of time, buried beneath the fertile soil of Samish old growth forest. From the boxes were liberated ancient cedar garments of royalty, head-dresses of cage-free eagle feathers and a low-sitting throne, decorated with the bones of Chief Zis-a-Ba.
As the boxes were leveraged from the soil depths they sat in regal presence on the ceremonial blankets spread beside the hole. Surrounding the royal treasures, a murder of leucistic White Crows signified Justice and Transformation, which had finally returned to the native lands of the First Nation peoples.
In 1855, Zis-a-Ba, chief high priest of Salish tribe had been stripped of his powers, to be sent into the old growth forest in exile. The animals and birds of the sky, forest and sea had protected him , giving him a place of safety and sustenance the remainder of his mortal life. At his death, they had buried him below the roots of Doug to remain until the tribe was once again sovereign and granted their ancestral land.
Marie and her friends, Academy chef Ruff and his chef helpers Ginger and George, Jack Watson and Annabelel, Justine Fellows, and Netta Shaw, had all been deputized as Federal Secret Service agents. They worked undercover with Phil Bradley to secure the academy grounds in preparation for the Tuesday, November 30, 2021 history-making event.
Sean McGuffy and Lisa Knightly had strung security tape and orange cone barricades all around the campus, in preparation for the visit of their esteemed guests, and the enormously significant events of Tuesday’s ceremony. Not a single Happy 21st Birthday streamer was in evidence.
Soaring above the old growth forest and her white sand beaches, great Eagles watched the progression of visitors heading to Westminister Academy. As the long line of black- colored machines carried passengers along the hard black trails carved through the woods, dozens of Native Ceremonial longboats glided through the water, to the beach below Doug’s funeral.
At the shoreline, longboats waved tribal crest flags designating individual tribes of the Coast Salish people who were coming for the ceremony.
When the sun rose in the sky, the long snake of 10 black machines weaved among the forest and meadows to arrive at Westminister Academy grounds. All 10 black machines proudly flew the flags of the United States government, the crested flags of Tribes of the Salish Nation, and the flag of Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet Secretary in US history. The occupants in the first vehicle in the black machine line were Secretary Haaland, Stillaguamish principal Chief, Joseph Yannity, and Marie the cat.
Stepping from the vehicle, in her blue moccasins, Secretary Haaland would deliver to the Salish Nation, full rights and ownership of their stolen ancestral territories.
****One spectacular, very odd machine had rumbled along behind the serpentine parade of black cars. On its back it carried a cedar log as long as a whale. The colorful creation was carved with Salmon, Raven, Eagle, Beaver, Wolf, Killer Whale, and Frog. The wierd machine was a long-armed crane to lift the totem pole from the back of the trailer, to place it in the huge space left by Doug’s fall.
Voices began to rise in chant, birds, fish, animals and humans began to harmonize …….
Beautiful second to last chapter, Jerri, well done!
Wow, lovely, Jerri.
And now it falls to Marian to pull it all together–I don’t envy her her task, but I will wait with bated breath for what is sure to be good!.
Oh my! Jeff! You’ve written a rich, beautiful, poetic crescendo for our story that honors Spirits who lived before us and are living among us now. Thank you!