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A Manner of Speaking Jan/Feb '11

by Bonnie Neugebauer
January/February 2011
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/a-manner-of-speaking/5019701/

The boulders paused as though for dramatic effect, then rumbled magnificently from truck bed to ground, assembling themselves in front of the children. The children, too, paused and then the engagements began, child to boulder, boulder to child. Some children were intrigued by the chips of stone that fell with the boulders; they spent time arranging the bits into lines and other assortments. Parents found books to share with children interested in naming their booty.

For others it was the boulders themselves that drew them. They found the hand and footholds that enabled them to climb from ground to vistas. They discovered the crannies just big enough for their bodies. They stretched and leaned and stroked â€" excited, happy.

But it was Essence, two years old and of Cree heritage, who captured my attention. She found her way to the top of a mid-size boulder, Essence in her pink mukluks and braids, and she began to dance. As though at a pow wow, she leaned low and turned in a slow circle, carefully positioning her body, her feet â€" absolutely intent and focused. Her hands pushed down on the air, and she took steps, first in one direction, then another. As ...

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