11 September 2015

Published September 9, 2015 by rochellewisoff

South KC Sky Banner

Friday Fictioneers Farm Path

FF copyright banner finalThe next photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. Where does it take you? Tell us a story in a hundred words or less. 

Note: It’s friendly gesture, if not common courtesy, to acknowledge the photographer. 

PHOTO PROMPT - © Jennifer Pendergast

PHOTO PROMPT – © Jennifer Pendergast

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            Eighty winters have passed on Colville Reservation since Chief Joseph told us stories of our people, but his face is ever before me.

            “My heart is sick when I remember their good words and broken promises,” he said. “They confiscated our land and pursued us for three moons until we were only forty miles from Canada and freedom.”

            My twelve-year-old heart thumped wildly. “Why did you surrender?”

            “Our children were freezing and their mothers had no food.”  Chief Joseph’s weary eyes became distant clouds without lightning or thunder, heavy with rain. “I will fight no more against the white man.”




Chief Joseph and Family c. 1880

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nez perce canoe

Nez Perce Canoe

This is kind of long but worth the listen if you have the time.

115 comments on “11 September 2015

    • Dear Björn,

      Overall sadness and defeat were the feelings I was aiming for. After following the research trail, I felt like the twelve year old in the story even as I wrote.

      Thank you for coming by with your kind words.




  • I am not sure that ‘Like’ is appropriate here, Rochelle.
    Your words are as potent as ever, with their message of ethnic cleansing.
    Sadly this occurred not only in ‘The Land of the Free’, but across the world, to wherever man took his message of civilisation.
    I love Buffy Sainte Marie, a First Nations Canadian, of course, whose Universal Soldier was a sixties anthem, popularised over here by Glasgow’s Donovan.
    Once again, you leave us thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

  • A powerful story of mistreatment of Native Americans by the U.S. Government of the time. As a government, there are certainly times it’s made laws that were the opposite of just. The Native Americans had every reason to be bitter. Well written once again, Rochelle. —- Suzanne


    • Dear Sandra,

      If I’d had more than a hundred words I would have included the fact that Chief Joseph tore up his Bible at the breaking of the treaty. Bibles, beads and diseased blankets, what a trade off.

      Thank you so much.



      Liked by 2 people

  • Every people has its history and its crimes, but if we cannot right the wrongs we did, surely we have a duty to accept, remember and to try to make things right in the here and now. Another lovely sad story from your expert pen.
    And thanks for giving me a whole lot more to do today!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • These words broke my heart: ‘Chief Joseph’s weary eyes became distant clouds without lightning or thunder, heavy with rain. “I will fight no more against the white man.”’
    A heart-rending story, told, as always, with compassion, clarity, tautness.


  • One of many heart-breaking stories that occurred when whites and Indians met. Not all went the same way, but ultimately the last heartbreak was that of the Indians. All countries, not just America, have these stories and we do well to remember them.



  • Buffy is definitely one of our treasures! (Not that all appreciate her, of course). What a perfect mix of song to words – again.

    You truly do have a gift of bringing to life, in so few words, the stories of forgotten peoples. (I have to agree with C.e. that it is difficult to “like” most of your stories!)


    • Dear Dale,

      I can live with it being difficult to “like” my darker stories. There should be different icons…on second thought, maybe not.

      I debated over whether or not to include the Buffy Sainte-Marie song since it’s a long one, but it just seemed to fit. I was in high school the first time I heard it and it went right through me.

      Thank you for your wonderful comments.



      Liked by 1 person

      • We are liking the story, if not the subject! Let us call it an acknowledgment!
        It doesn’t matter how long the song is, the readers always have the option to turn it off!
        Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

  • That is such a moving story. The point of view you’ve taken makes it even more poignant – I can feel the child’s confusion and disappointment with his father’s surrender, and the chief’s total loss of heart. Wonderfully told.


  • Recently, I wrote about hypocrisy (for the recent Sunday Photo Fiction titled Cola, Americana), so this stirred a lot within. Haunting piece of writing and the song especially (Buffy’s voice is beautiful), both capture the terrible deeds committed in a powerful way.


  • Perfectly titled, and the music makes it even more heartbreaking. Thanks for reminding me of Buffy Sainte-Marie. I got acquainted with her music when I was in Canada, but forgot after I left.


  • Dear Rochelle

    I loved your story, in a sad sort of way. Such hopelessness for a people who lived in harmony with nature, although the different tribes didn’t always live in harmony with each other.

    My story, that I’ll post tomorrow, is also related to the Native American dilemma but told from a different slant. I’m hoping the vision of the “dreamer” in my tale will strike a chord with you.

    I’m so happy to be able to participate in Friday Fictioneers after a two-month break and have time to read others’ contributions. Have missed you all.

    All best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle, Your story is very moving! I remember when I was in grade school and learning about the “Birth” of our country. My teachers were always honest in the true history of the Taking of Their Land. We knew the horrible injustices that happened but that has always happened throughout history in every culture and country and probably always will. Sad. Thanks for making us pause to think. Nan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nan,

      I remember the stories in school, but it wasn’t until the late 60’s early 70’s that it came into the spotlight. I clearly remember Buffy Sainte-Marie and then the movie “Little Big Man.” Suddenly cowboys and Indians wasn’t a cute game, was it?

      Thank you for coming by to read and comment.




  • I enjoy reading your stories as I always learn something or am made aware of something. You give history a personal feel and that is just perfect.

    A question about including InLinks code in my submission: when I click the link I get this message – You need to be logged it to access the code.

    Is it ok that I just provide a link for the site with all the links (if that makes sense)?


  • A sad story of displacement from their motherland. No race should be compelled to leave their native place and settle elsewhere. But this is happening in most parts of the world.


  • Dear Rochelle

    A beautifully moving piece;everything I want to say has already said so I will just say ‘ditto’ to all the well deserved comments and thank you for bringing this heartbreaking tale to my attention.

    Best wishes


    Liked by 1 person

  • This is such a shameful period in US history, and it’s not honored for what it is. It continues to have repercussions to today.

    It reminds me powerfully of the refugee situation in Syria and what my family went through at various times in history.


    • Dear Emilie,

      It is a shameful part of US history. The refugee situation in Syria is distressing, particularly as I see so many closing their borders to them.

      Thank your for reading and adding your comments. 🙂




  • My wife and I devour documentaries on native Americans as well as on The Final Solution. It is unbelievable how cruel man has proven himself to be throughout history and into today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Emilio,

      My husband and I do the same. I’m fascinated with different cultures. Of course, the Holocaust and Jewish history are near and dear to my heart due to heredity.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It’s what I love about Friday Fictioneers.




  • Beautifully written, Rochelle. Such a heart wrenching history they have. And the wounds are deep.

    This line is magical: Chief Joseph’s weary eyes became distant clouds without lightning or thunder, heavy with rain.


  • Dear Amy,

    It is such a tragic history. The theft of their land was terrible, but worse, I think is the rape of the culture. What made the white man think that his ways were the only ways?

    As always, your comments encourage me. Thank you.




  • Rochelle,
    wonderful story as always. I had heard about Chief Joseph before as one of the great Native American chiefs, but didn’t know much about him. That was a period of a lot of terrible deeds against Native Americans, but it’s good to remember them.


    • Dear David,

      Native American history is a heartbreaking for the most part. When I was growing up 90% of the movies and television vilified them (always portrayed by non-indigenous) or made them out to be ignorant savages.

      At any rate, I’m glad you liked my story.

      Thank you.



      Liked by 2 people

  • Very sad or tragic is the right word but very beautifully written. You make me feel the pain with your words. You are right rape of culture is worse than……..though both are terrible.


  • Querida Rochelle,
    I posted late last night. My weary bones could not stay up any longer. (my apologies)
    I think history has a great many atroscities. Governments don’t concern themselves with the effects on people. Sadly, we are seeing that today in the news with the Syrians. I think if we all do research on our cultures (as I know you do with yours and I have done with my Puerto Rican history) there is a sad dynamic between all of them. I believe it’s man being inhumane to man.
    Your FF stories are always thought provoking. You bring to the forefront many things we should not forget. Thank you for writing this and for hosting.
    Isadora 😎


    • Querida Isadora,

      Gracias para la sonrisa. (Did I say that right. My Spanish is rusty, but I think everyone should be bilingual…alas I fall short of fluent in anything save English.)
      I’m all too aware of atrocities throughout history. I don’t understand people who feel they have the right to do the thing they do.
      Last year an old white supremacist went on a rampage here in KC and shot three people between the Jewish Community Center and one of the synagogues. When he stood trial he showed no remorse other than the fact that the people he killed weren’t Jewish. Arrrrrrrgh!
      Now that I’ve gone off on a tangent I’ll simply say thank you for your comments and compliments.

      Shalom v’ahava, (Peace and Love)


      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m pleased I was able to bring a chuckle to you today. Yes, your Spanish is muy bueno. I have no one to speak the language with except my hubby. We try to keep it up. I’m happy my parenst taught it to us. We spoke Spanish inside the and English only outside the house. We had and have impeccable language skills in both. (that’s hubby and I – he was raised the same way.
        Oh, I could tell tales about so many injustices and heartless mean people but as you said, “I don’t understand people who feel they have the right to do the thing they do”.
        We best serve these situations by writing about them. Keep those words on the page …
        Con Paz y Amor,
        Isadora 😎


  • Best intentions… and the days got away from me! Wonderful piece, Rochelle. I almost went with a First Nation approach, it works with this prompt so well! I took a similar voice despite my different angle, as the boat so calls for it. This is so touching and painful. Such a bitter, sad history for our nation… and of course, you approach it so beautifully. Wonderful!


    • Dear Dawn,

      You’ve had an awful lot on your plate lately so I understand. I do appreciate your coming by to read and comment, though. 😉

      It is a tragic history and one that has always appalled and fascinated me.

      Thank you for your encouraging words.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Great story – loved the description of his eyes – distant stormclouds, heavy with rain…loved it. Excellent imagery.

    I’m not quite as fond of this line…”My twelve-year-old heart thumped wildly”…but it’s difficult to say exactly why it didn’t resonate with me. It *could* be the repetition of ‘heart’ actions (his heart was sick, her heart was thumping’), but I’m not sure. It just seemed a little jarring.

    Still, another well written and tragically cutting historical piece.


    • Dear Loré,

      Lately I’ve been watching some of the old television programs. On one show I watched yesterday a character mentioned “thieving Apaches” and I found myself bristling. It’s sad that instead of learning from the indigenous, the white men decided to wipe them out. Sad history indeed.

      Thank you for coming and leaving such lovely comments.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I would imagine you’ve read A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. If not, please do. You’ll see that not only the “white man” decimated the Native Americans, but so did Cortes and Pizarro in other parts of the Americas. Such a sad history.


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