We should have gotten this story posted here over a month ago, and our apologies to author Richard Lau for the delay. We hope you enjoy his wonderful micro fiction story, “That One Bead” which won our Indigenous authors themed round of our monthly micro fiction contest.
That One Bead
As a tribal tale-teller and university-educated historian, Look-Back Bear lived up to his name. He knew it was not enough to know his people’s past, but to know the past of others to understand what was done to his people and why.
How his people went from free to bountied, to treatied (which were broken), to conquered, to forcibly moved, to managed by forced assimilation and bureaucracy.
The relocation fifty years ago was nothing new. His people were used to hardship and learning to live on land that wasn’t their ancestral home but would become their home by sheer necessity. They took pride in their innate toughness, in their resolve, in their ability to survive. They were still warriors but fighting a different battle with foreign weapons.
As many times before, they had not tamed the land, but partnered with it, learning its strengths and weaknesses, what it needed and what it provided. They were rewarded for their caring patience with crops that grew, and a sustainable way of living in a harsh environment that was slowly becoming more accommodating.
Because of their success, others would come. And history would repeat itself.
It would start with trade. It was said that Look-Back Bear’s ancestors once had traded the land they lived on for shiny, glass beads.
Now, gazing upwards, Look-Back Bear looked forward to trading all of the fertile grounds of Lunar Reservation to return to that one blue-and-white bead in the sky.
Richard Lau (he/him) is an award-winning writer who has been published in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, the high-tech industry, and online. He lives in the United States and is thrilled to be published by Solarpunk Magazine again.