Cover

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Title Page, copyright

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Contents

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Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

I would like to thank my editor and friend, Gary Dunham, for inspiration, courage, and wonderfully generous support of this work, without which I would be hard-pressed to have arrived here blessed; Wesley Black Elk for friendship...

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Chapter 1. Of Seeds

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pp. 1-14

I descend frommobile and village peoples, interracial, ingenious, adventurous, and bold. None famous, none of any more than humble means, though in this great ancestral river thoroughly bloodstreamed true, Iamborn fromthose so devoted...

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Chapter 2. From Winds

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pp. 15-44

My father’s remarkable commitment to telling about our past surrounded us with stories, real, meaningful tales of identity that gathered us up like strands in our paternal grandmother’s handmade rag rugs, pulling and binding us together..

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Chapter 3. When Fire and Water Meet

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pp. 45-68

One summer nightmy father woke us fromhard sleep and persuaded Pumpkin, my brother, and me to follow him out back. Shooting and falling stars blazed burning, fleeting paths across the entire Southern Plains sky, so many that you could barely imagine...

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Chapter 4. Ashes

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pp. 69-94

I have often heard that near each positive a negative lies waiting to attach itself. And, often, when faced with undesirable realities we are forced to make decisions. Sometimes, depending on our personal situations and perhaps because of the plain biophysics involved in life and living even though we may...

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Chapter 5. Back to the Lands

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pp. 95-122

Deep metallic thuds wake me. I am lying on blue foam rubber rolled over flattened Nash seats, my thirty-dollar Rebel Rambler pulled up tight between thick willows bordering the stream and a Visqueencovered plant bed. It is morning, more or less, somewhere around 4:30 a.m., the time dew hangs on mustard...

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Chapter 6 Oceans, Rivers

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pp. 123-160

The Carolina coast seemed foreign in 1979, although my sister and I had spent a weekend there years before, and I had surf-cast once off tobacco season. The land meeting the sea bore a certain unfamiliar strangeness.Having known only plains and woodlands, I believed oceans heldmystery dissimilar enough to afford change...

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Chapter 7. Crossings

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pp. 161-198

My Huron grandmas (Lucy and Paulina) were more than familiar with canoeing prior to meeting their French-Canadian men (Tremblais and Gervaisse), both sailors and traders. For a while they traveled, fought, and worked on waterways from Quebec to New York, to Michigan, and to Illinois....