Manataka American Indian Council
BIG SISTER AND
By Lee Standing Bear Moore and Takatoka
There are two necklaces at Manataka, Big Sister and Little Sister, that are priceless and not for sale. Extraordinary, they have powers beyond belief, each having a special quality born in the ageless depths of human experience. This is the story of why they are priceless.
early December morning of 1998, as I was preparing the Longhouse for the day, I
noticed something about the jewelry display case was wrong. One of the two
trade-bead necklaces was gone. There the day before, it had not been sold.
The necklace was gone, probably stolen.
Such an act committed in the sacred Valley and at the Longhouse was horrifying. I wrapped the remaining necklace in a rag and gently placed it in an old coffee can. I hid it by sprinkling trash and bent nails over the rag and I whispered, "You are smaller than your sister necklace and now you are alone. You must pray if you want your big sister to return." I then hid the can in a storage closet and forgot about it.
More than six months later a woman came in to the Longhouse and said, "I have something that belongs here." She slowly took something from her purse and said a man had given it to her as a Christmas present. Tearfully, she explained, "I never took it inside my home or wore it. It wasn't mine even though it was given to me. This belongs to the Longhouse." Her extended hand held the big trade bead necklace.
Incredulous, I accepted it and said, "We are thankful for this gift. We are thankful you did not sell or give her away. May we name this necklace after you?" She hung her head and said, "No, not me, I am not worthy." Then, remembering the other necklace, I ran to the storeroom and dug out the coffee can.
As I slowly walked back to the woman, I stared at both beautiful lady necklaces and said, "You Big Sister will be called Honesty. For it was truth and honesty that compelled this woman to bring you home." Looking at the other I said, "And you Little Sister will be called Faith because it was faith in your prayers that brought your beautiful sister home." Faith brought Honesty home.
Today, Faith and Honesty rest side by side in a glass case on the sacred color red, entwined, never to be separated again, displayed together to show that faith and honesty may not exist without each other. Together, the are priceless.
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