The hidden years, 140, more indians

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Wednesday 26 August 19:57

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More Indians

As we drove further south, the snow disappeared until it was gone. Bill had taken over the wheel again and that was just on the side of the road, there was no more ice to be seen. 'You'll like it, 'he thought,  ' We're going from High Prairie to Yellowknife. ‘Do you know why they call it Yellowknife,’ Bill asked, and I had to admit I did not know. ‘That's because of the Dene tribe of Indians, 'Bill said, ‘who found large amounts of copper there and made their weapons from it. It is one of the largest cities up North '. ‘What do you call big,’ I wanted to know? ‘Well, Bill said thoughtfully,’ they must have near fifteen thousand inhabitants.‘ ‘That's big,’ I exclaimed, ‘man that is a village and then not even a big village at that!’ ‘Yeah,’ replied Bill then you'll find High Prairie with four men and a cow nothing. ‘ ‘In a manner of speaking 'said Bill,’ it is home to more than four people. ‘Five,’ I tried? ‘No, around two thousand, the only right of existence that these places have are the oil fields. ‘Right,’ I said, ‘and we pick up a piece of it. '

We drove over prairie plains without end, and Bill began to talk to break the boredom again. ‘High Prairie’ he began, ‘is like so many places. It began in 1908 as a trading post at the intersection of two main roads, Highway 2 and Highway 749 and there they found in the outer regions minerals and oil. ‘ ‘So it's only 61 years old,’ I said to myself, 'This is truly a new world. ‘This is indeed an incredible country', agreed Bill,’ In Ireland, where I come from you lay your parks out around cities and here it is the other way around, you cut down trees and build in the middle, between the plains and forests a settlement, the outdoors here is incredible.’ I had to agree with him about that. So we talked about nothing in particular and entered in High River and Bill started looking for a parking space in the center. ‘ The doors slammed shut and Bill said that he’d go to the post office to see if there was indeed a 'moneygram', waiting for him. ‘A telegraphic way of booking money,’ he explained to me , ‘if there is nothing we will not comply with the contract.’ Besides the post office was a ramshackle bar and Bill suggested that I would wait there, ‘probably the last bar we will see in a long time,’ he added before he walked into the post office.

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I went in and saw it immediately, I had entered a kind of Queen's. There were cowboys with their hats pushed back drinking and slightly to the side was a group of tipsy Indians. A country western song that I did not know came nagging from the speakers. An Indian bar, I thought, you saw more and more that they permitted Indians in, they had no brake and drank themselves silly. Five Indians drank more and in less time than 15 whites. I could not blame the bar owners, that was easy money, it was annoying, however, that most of them could not stand drink and always looked for a reason to quarrel.

I waited quietly and when it was my turn, I ordered two beers. I assumed that Bill would be ready shortly and then I’d have his beer ready. An Indian with two feathers on his head looked at me and I felt that the attention he gave me, was an annoying attention, an estimate of potential. He had a knife in his belt to the left and had a beer in his right hand, he was vulnerable, Freddy would have said. With a beer in his right hand he could never pull his knife. I understood what was happening. I was alone and young. The others stood in groups drinking, I realized that I was being promoted to potential prey. The Indian took a few steps in my direction, in a way that can not be described different than searching steps.. I took my beer into my left hand and walked a few steps towards the cowboys who moved two passes away in turn. This would not blow over and I did not have to count in a strange bar on help.

I hooked my right thumb relaxed in my belt and I looked relaxed, I suppose, unthreatened, while I put my glass with my left hand to my lips and in the meantime the Indian with two feathers was watching me, observing me. In reality appearances are deceptive, because my heart was pounding and every muscle in my body was tense. ‘White man, shittyman, why do you stand at my place,’ said the Indian who probably thought it was time for action to proceed. I did not answer but looked at him carefully and took another sip of beer. ‘That's going to cost you, shittyman,’ said the brave Indian while his friends as hyenas came closer. I knew it, I had been in this so many times before in another way, there was no turning back. ‘You stink shittyman and you stand in my place,’ I assumed that I might have stunk but that was not the point, indian boy was going to do me in, and he had friends to assist him. ‘Cree Indians I asked politely, or Blackfoot?’ 'Beaver Indians, ‘the man said and we hate stinkin’ whites and you're going to pay for our drinks.

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‘No,’ I said, ‘they do not hang around in bars, you are half-breeds, half drunk, half-breeds.’ ‘You're the ones of the whiskey tribe.’ The man grunted, half inversely, to his buddies, but it was clear that he had not expected this. he gave his glass to a younger Indian and I saw the cowboys really step away and he drew his knife. ‘Big words for a man alone,’ hissed two feathers. A huge figure with a beard stepped out of nowhere and gave the Indian with a flat hand a resounding slap to his head. ‘Not quite alone, feathermans’ the voice of Bill rang out' and the knife clattered to the ground and Bill kicked it away. ‘Did you suffer from these vipers,’ Bill asked me, his hand was now clutching the Indian around his throat. ‘Actually, yes,’ I said, 'he says we stink.’ ‘Is that right,’ said Bill, ‘he thinks so, oehh, big words for a little man, and he picked feathermans up, who by now was burying Bill under punches and slammed him against a wall where he collapsed. ‘Another one that  jumped into a wall,’ growled Bill, he turned to the group of Indians who were standing at a distance and with undisguised anxiety watched  it all. ‘Hey,’ he called out, ‘Help your blood brother, he has fallen over.’ The bartender stood frozen at the till, 'may I have two beer as well ‘asked Bill and to me he said,’ we're in business. ‘

San Daniel 2015

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