The last woman in the tribe

July 25, 2021

This is a little ditty I wrote imagining how our tribal communities dissipated, and how that felt. I feel it still very much today.


I mean, the others were in the tribe still. She saw them now and then, but they weren't her tribe. 

She no longer saw them at the pond, washing their clothes, dishes and filling their water canteens. They said the city, a mere two mile walk each way, was so much easier. The entire trip could be done in one morning without any work on their parts. They sat in the shade while their canteens were filled by a large tank. No, they didn't know where that water came from, but it was probably their same pond. 

Their kids were with them, so her children no longer had their friends to play with while she scrubbed away. 

She couldn't see using her husband's hard earned coins for a bit more ease. And was it easier? The women lost the sun in their skin from sitting by the pond. She doubted the water was pure, as she noticed their complexion changing also. Their clothing started to change from their traditional tribal garb. 

Now, even some of them take the two mile walk to have their babies in the clinics. The babies return with milk powder, the mother's say this is better than their own bodies. The babies lay in beds most of the day, out of the life-giving sun. They have scars and bumps from being poked with something. Sometimes, those mothers don't come back. 

Tonight, she sits in her garden that looks so different than it did in years past. Where laughter once filled her green rows, it's now just a solemn silence in the sunset light. A quiet vigil from nature to what is left. To what must be preserved. She promised to hold that vigil with the plants, trees, and animals, until the humans remember they're a part of this. 

Tomorrow, she looks out her window at what's left of her village. She looks at her daughter and even granddaughter. She tries to teach them the old ways. The real ways. But, they too take the walk to the city sometimes. Her daughter even wants her to go to the village to remedy her limp. She says, 'no, child, this is a mark of a life well lived, and I will wear it with honor as I pass back over the rainbow bridge.' 

She knows in the moon's to come, she'll be called back to this soil to teach her great great grandchildren the real ways again. For they will be shorter, sicker, weaker for going on the walk, and not walking amongst their own. 

She wasn't the last woman in her tribe, but she was the last woman in her tribe.

Danielle Olson Jones

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