Indian Summer in Indiana

On Indian Summer-like days, they bum-

med around Indiana from state park to

state park, hiking flat-lands along a river

running through it, then rugged trails

up and down towering, sandstone cliffs,

around box canyons, into deep gulches –

Indiana? Each evening around the camp-

fire, he tossed his hiking boots and wore

moccasins and thought he was Ojibwa/

Chippewa. Hiking wild, rough, narrow

terrain carved by ice and then Pottawatomie

petroglyphs, in a little spot, a pin’s head

on a map as south as glaciers went before

heading north ten thousand years ago, hiking

up and down sand dunes all around Big

Water, marshes and Massasauga rattlers.

They met two Choctaw from Oklahoma

camping in the dunes who couldn’t believe

the Big Water was so big a person couldn’t

see the other side. The Choctaw traveled in

a forty-four-foot motor home pulling a Jeep

Cherokee and didn’t wear Minnetonka

moccasins around the camp fire. They told

the Choctaw that the Ottawa along the

shore up Michigan-way about a hundred miles

and about a hundred-fifty years ago left

the sands for Big Water farther north be-

cause they couldn’t stand the smell of the

Dutch. The Choctaw laughed and the

couple wished the Choctaw well on their

trip to the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas,

Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras, the

authors of the first American democracy,

and then Abenaki, Haudenosaunee, Mali-

seet, Mashantucket, Mi’kmaq, Mohegan,

Narragansett, Nipmuc, Passamaquoddy,

Paugussett, Penobscot, Pequot, Schaghti-

coke, Shinnecock, Unkechaug and Wamp-

anoag on to Pawtucket and Nantucket down

to Seminole swamps and who knows

where after a Choctaw winter’s stay at a

Florida KOA. He took off his Timberlands,

put on his Saucony trail shoes; they hitched

the travel trailer, left the serenity of the shore,

pulled onto I-94 North and the rude reality

and seeming insanity of civilization while

listening to the fine, flute of R. Carlos Nakai.

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