Lorin Robinson turned back the hands of time to 1000 years. Rather than finding myself stranded somewhere in Europe, here I was in the early days of America. That was a welcome change. The plight of our nation’s first settlers – the American Indian took center stage.
Inscribed on the pages of this well-written narrative, I came to understand their unencumbered way of life that endured for countless generations. I was mesmerized by the engaging storyline. With little time to prepare, the ending came at me in a heart-pounding rush. It was more than well-done, I’d say outstanding. This novel comes heartily recommended to anyone who would like to take a journey back and take in a full breath of early American history.
Peaceful by nature, the Anishinaabe band followed their vision of migration which pulled them to the Great Lakes region. Home. Deadly resistance was met when their feet trod upon the earth that had been held sacred by the Dakota/Sioux. My stomach churned as I bared witness to the senseless slaughter of old men, women and children at the hands of an invading Dakota war party. Fourteen in all had been savagely butchered and scalped. It was a horrible way to die.
The camp was devastated. Bodies needed to be buried, loved ones yearned to mourn and critical belongings had to be replaced. The young men of the tribe could devote little time for tears. Revenge ravaged their young minds. In haste, they felt that time was of the essence. The warring Dakota would pay for their death-dealing invasion now.
Armed with what weapons they could scavenge, thirteen of them convened at the shore of Gichigami shortly before dawn. From that point on, they set out on foot after the fleeing Dakota while their tracks were still fresh. Bad idea. In hot pursuit, they stumbled into an ambush set up by seasoned Dakota warriors. Two of the boys were mercilessly sent to the spirit in the sky. They proved no match for the superior force. Rather than face certain death, the rest surrendered peacefully.
They’d been taken prisoner and escorted to the Dakota camp. The chief had no idea what to do with them. Taking no action would show a sign of weakness on his part. That, he couldn’t afford. Against his better judgment, it was decided that the Anishinaabe boys would face off in a fight to the death with Dakota youths of the same age. It was decreed that any of the interlopers who survived the duel would be allowed to return to their people. Weapons of choice fell to the spear, ax or knife. They just wanted to go home.
None of the fearful captives had ever been forced to fight with any type of weapon before. This was not the time to learn. When dawn greeted the day, a crowd gathered around a circle drawn into the dirt. A makeshift arena which hungered for blood awaited its victims. The dance of death was about to begin, all in the name of ‘Honor’. Their fate had been sealed.