Native American Technology and Art

Eagle Hunter

By

Longtrail


Many seasons I have waited
Since my years of youth and weakness
I am strong and I am cunning
I am ready for you now.

Many summers have watched you
From your years of youth and weakness
Now you too are strong and cunning
I am ready for you now.

Many mornings I have seen you
Beneath the clouds of dawns pink shadows
Ride the sunlight over the prairies
Ride the thermals to the mountains.

Often I have heard you
Heard you in my waking hours
Heard you in my dreaming darkness
Calling, looking at me from on high.

You so strong that others fear you
Wise and cunning none have tricked you
In my manhood I now seek you
I alone will soon deceive you.

"Woman it is time to move us
Time to leave this shaded valley
Towards the open we must travel
To the high place we shall go."

Bring the skin of dead coyote
And the rabbit I have taken
Do not forget my stone for digging
Bring my paint for war and fighting.

Camp is set and food is cooking
The night is clear and stars are shinning
Like many nights since my childhood
I see your likeness in stars .

As the sunís soft glow fades westward
I rise and venture outward, searching
Looking for the place to dig down
Where you will come to me unknowing.

I now stand where we will battle
On this spot I stand here praying
This is where my dream will waken
Now the time draws near to take you.

Here in the dark of night I labor
With stone I dig a hole by moonlight
In hides I carry dirt in secret
Scattering it under distant bushes.

Through the night I dig and carry
Gather sticks from pine and juniper
Gather sage and grasses yellow
To put above me and below me.

This hole Iíve dug will more than hold me
Space above and space below me
Room to sit , and then lay down in
A place to wait for many hours

I weave the sticks across above me
Close together for holding grasses
Leaving an opening in the one end
When all is ready, through it I pass.

Upon the sticks, the dead coyote
Stands as if to eat a rabbit
Meat lay on the sticks before him
Tethered with a thong of leather.

Attached to me so I can hold it
With strength and swiftness I will pull you
Into the pit where you will see me
Be for the first time, eye to eye.

No more will you circle high above me
Laughing at my earthbound body
Swooping down in teasing motions
Then up, knowing well I can not follow.

Down I crawl into the cool earth
Only stars above that see me
On the sage wrapped in my blanket
For the dawn of day I wait.

As the sun paints hues on mountains
I paint my face with hues of fighting
Red for victory, white for pureness
Green for dreams that soon are filled.

As I gaze upward through the weaving
Praying for your quick arrival
Silently singing songs of bravery
I hear you calling, you are now hunting.

With shrill arrival, circling downward
Screams to send the small game running
From bush to hole their life in danger
Diving, reaching, talons closing.

Looking through the sticks above me
Below the clouds I see your shadow
Soaring, rising, coming nearer
The feasting coyote you have seen.

No more do you want the sage hen
Not the mouse nor mole to feast on
But the meat that lays above me
Tethered to me here in waiting.

My heart is pounding, muscles tensing
Sweat drips from my arms and forehead
Closer to me you are diving
Prayers and song pour from my lips.

Your landing shakes the grass down on me
I hear you bid the coyote leave
With wings the length of my body
You darken the sun with shadows moving

Ripping hide and fur is flying
No fear of coyote is in you
With talons sharp you take the wild dog
He lays defenseless on the ground.

Upon the bloody meat your standing
Talons tight around it clutching
Wings up then down to lift you
But I have you and hold you tightly.

Fear and panic serge through you
Instinct to flee controls your being
Through the sticks I, tethered to you
Pull you down, we are finally eye to eye.

Eyes of brown and eyes of yellow
For the first time close together
You fight to rise from our confinement
Blood streaks warmly down my chest.

You try to kill who has deceived you
Free yourself from captive bondage
Kill the strong one who now holds you
Return to soar amongst the stars.

With hair and feathers flying
Whirling clouds of warís debris
With my hands I win the battle
I am strong and I am cunning

My dream of youth has happened this day
The mightiest of birds I have taken
My strength and cunning did deceive you
Your mighty spirit now is mine.


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© 1996 Victoria Orchard. E-mail: victoriaorchard@rocketmail.com


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© 1996 Tara Prindle.