While researching The Legend of Jimmy Spoon, I volunteered as a tutor for the high school Indian Club. This was in Pocatello, Idaho, seven miles from the Shoshone-Bannock reservation. Basically I was a blond California girl who knew little about Native Americans, but wanted to learn. I was eager and cheerful. Also, I talked a lot.
Yackety-yack while helping students with English essays, blabbidybla while correcting math papers (which I knew even less about). One morning, a Shoshone boy named Kerwin Toane sat at the table across from me. He wore his hair in long braids and was quiet. I offered to help with his homework then chatted on and on about this-and-that. Finally I asked why he wasn't saying anything.
"I'm just waiting for you to finish," he answered.
Over the next weeks, Kerwin and I developed a friendship. When I remembered to keep my mouth shut, he talked about his tribe and traditions. The more quiet I was, the more I learned. He recounted going into the mountains with his uncle, to capture a sacred eagle feather. I took detailed notes. He translated Shoshone vocabulary for me.
So in The Legend of Jimmy Spoon, Chapter 21 describes how Nampa and Ga-mu ride their horses into the foothills with Jimmy. They teach him how the Teton Sioux catch an eagle without harming the bird.
It's one of my favorite chapters.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
a Shoshone teenager teaches me about patience: The Legend of Jimmy Spoon [part two]
Posted by Kristiana Gregory at 7:22 AM