Many years ago, during the late 1800″s and early 1900″s, my ancestors where given new ways to learn while trying to hold onto their old ways. It must have been very hard for them, as it is hard for all people who are compelled to be who they are not. In some ways, it was deadly. One story that has been passed down to me from that time has to do with my great, great grandfather, Nenongebi, who was one of the headmen of our people, and his grandson. He was chief of the Eagle Clan, and, as such, was a signer of the treaties of 1836 and 1854. He was killed on the way back from the counsel gathering in 1855 at La Pointe, now known as Madeline Island. Everyone says it was a raid by the Soiux, our historic enemies, but there is some doubt about this. Nenongebi had had eight wives and many children and step children. It is said that. of the male children, all were killed. I don’t know how, but there is a story about his last son to be killed.
One of Nenongebi’s grandson’s, goshens by name, and his brother were out hunting for deer with their uncle, that same last son of Nenongebi, somewhere near the Lac Courte Orielles (LCO) reservation here in Northern Wisconsin. The two boys watched their uncle get shot by a game warden, and ran for several miles and several days until they came out on the farm of a man named Grover. The Grovers adopted the two boys and raised them as their own, giving goshens the name of Steven. When he was grown to be a man Steven returned to his family and returned to the old ways. He became a spiritual healer, and was given the title of chief of the Eagle Clan in earnest of his heritage as Nenongebi’s grandson. He was also given another name, Majik. You can find information about Majik, Steven Grover, at the Museum of Natural History in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In my life I have seen hatred and racism, and my grandfather, due in part to the story I have shared with you, told me when I was only two years old, “Keep your head down, there are those who would kill you for who you are.” I did not grow up with my family, as I was taken away to a foster home when I was two and only returned to the reservation in 1994. Since then I have heard many stories, and I have heard those who dispute those stories. I do not know.
Lawrence retells the story the way it was told to him.