Manataka American Indian Council
A New Legend For The People
A Cherokee Story
many years ago, when animals could talk, they were divided into tribes, bands
and clans, much like we are today. The Hawks were some of the proudest of all
animals. They were strong and great in number. Each year they would
hold tribal councils and dances. The sound of their drum and wings would
fill the earth.
As time went on a great enemy came. A large and powerful bird which they had never seen before. When this bird would fly overhead, the whole sky would be as if it were night in the middle of the day. This bird passed over and caused many of the Hawks to be driven away from the land Grandfather had given them. He passed over again and caused many of the Hawks to die. Finally, he passed over and caused many of the Hawks to be separated from others into many different places. Over time, these separated Hawks lost all contact with their brothers and sisters. They began to live with the other birds; the red birds, the blue jays and others.
As time passed, the children of the separated Hawks grew up thinking they belonged with the other tribes. Sometimes their parents would even tell them they belonged there. Many years passed and the great, great grandchildren of the Hawks began to feel different from the other birds they had called family for so long. While the other birds wanted to search for worms, they wanted to soar in the air. When they saw game in the fields, they would be overcome with the desire to capture and eat it.
Slowly the separated Hawks began to know they were not the Red Birds or Blue Jays or any of the other birds they had been living with. Slowly they learned that they were Hawks and that there were other Hawks like them, living in other places. They learned of the Hawk Drums and Dances. These things stirred up the spirit of the Hawk inside them and they knew that they had to return to their families. One day all the separated Hawks got together and started out on the long journey home. After a long time, they reached the land of their Grandfathers. They found the other Hawks who had been left behind. This was the place they belonged and they knew it. Something inside told them so.
The Hawks who had been left behind were not interested in the new arrivals. "Who are you?", they asked. "What makes you think you are like us?" "We are Hawks", replied the new arrivals. "You may say you are Hawks but you are not part of us". Sadly, the separated Hawks left. They felt as if they had no other place to go, so they returned to the lands and tribes they had lived with for so long. The separated Hawks remembered the song of the Hawks they had learned and the dance they had seen. They began to sing the songs and dance the dances. Yet their hearts were heavy for their brothers and sisters.
One day the separated Hawks learned the old enemy of the Hawks had returned. He was once again making war with their brothers and sisters. Now however, the Hawks who had remained were smaller in number. The Hawks who had remained, it was learned, would most surely be destroyed this time by this great bird. The war cry went out among the separated Hawks. They gathered together. They made arrows, they fasted, they danced; they mad ready for war.
When the time was right, the separated Hawks set ambushes for the enemy of their fellow Hawks. The war was on. Because of the help of the separated Hawks, the enemy was defeated and all the Hawks once again lived together.
This story was published in the Southeastern Cherokee Council's newsletter, "S.E.C.C.I. Talking Leaves". The issue it was printed in is May, 1998. Our thanks to Blue Panther Keeper of Stories email@example.com
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