Before the formation of the Iroquois nation, three brothers go hunting. A legend is born
| THE HUNT
Ojistah was the youngest of three brothers.
They were in the full force of their youth.
Their ages ranged from twenty seven year old to twenty one year old.
They wanted to continually prove themselves to know who was the best in doing something.
Kanatase, the older brother, prided himself to be the best archer.
Canaquasee bragged about being the best fisherman. Ojistah boasted about being the best tracker.
Autumn was the season to hunt the bears.
It was common passion for the three brothers.
Bringing back a bear to the community was the most prestigious prey a man could hunt.
The family of the brothers was worried because hunting a bear could turned out to be a very dangerous occupation.
But recently, many people had spotted a giant bear near the village. People did not allow their children to go far from the house. They preferred that they stayed longer inside.
The brothers decided that it was time to put an end to this situation.
The tribal chief encouraged them to go hunt this giant bear.
The next day, at sunrise, the three brothers left the village to go after the bear.
They thought that they could find easily the trail but it was more difficult than they expected.
After two days, they could not find anything.
They only found Deer and Beavers.
Every time they killed an animal, they prayed to thank mother nature for her gifts.
This hunt was perilous for two reasons.
The bear could be overpowering, and secondly it was in middle of war with a rival tribe, even though a truce was established recently, but they could never know what could happen.
You could enter the other tribe's territory, and who knew how the other warriors would react if the brothers entered in contact with them.
One night Ojistah had a nightmare where a warrior chased after him.
The nights started to be chilly. There was still no sign of the bear. They had to find it fast because the season for hibernation was soon.
The winters were very rigorous in this region.
It was the reason why the tribes which settled down there had long houses where could stay inside for elongated periods of time
The hunt was going on for two weeks when Ojistah finally spotted fresh marks signalling that a huge bear was around. The brothers were very exited.
Suddenly out the blue, a bear with a massive size jumped on them like he was waiting to ambush them.
The bear attacked Kanatase first, and he stomped on him.
Ojistah and Canaquasee tried to throw a spear at the bear but nothing seemed to work.
They did everything they could to save him but it was too late.
The bear turned his attention to them.
They started to run but the bear was very fast.
Ojistah ran the fastest he could but while doing so, he fell down in a crevice hidden by a mound of leaves that he saw at the last second.
He could only see the bear trying to enter to get him. Ojistah could hear his heavy breathing.
He badly injured both of his feet. They were broken.
He stayed two days drifting in and out of consciousness, when finally he heard voices above him.
At first, it was the voice a young woman.
Ojistah tried to scream to signal his presence but nobody heard.
He screamed a second time, and finally someone answered his calls. It was the young woman who came.
“I’m Trapped here. I can’t move.” said Ojistah.
“OK, I’m coming with my father and my brothers to help you.” said the young woman named Kahwihta.
She was in the region with her family to visit relatives who lived in a settlement nearby.
It took three hours before they came back.
Her father and brothers arrived with ropes.
They managed to reach Ojistah, with great difficulty.
They succeeded to extract him from the crevice.
When they started to question him, they learned that he was from a rival tribe, but they felt sorry for him when he explained his story. They found what remained of the bodies of his two brothers.
They gave them proper burials, before they left.
They brought back Ojistah to their settlement to try heal his fractures and wounds.
Their shaman put different balms made with plants to help him.
Because he could not walk, he stayed there during the winter.
In the meantime, Ojistah’s family and the rest of the tribe thought that the three brothers were dead.
They organised a celebration to mourn them.
Some men in the settlement were not happy with Ojistah’s presence, but the chief told them that it could be used as a bargain exchange if it was necessary.
Spring came back.
A man in the settlement was attacked and killed by what they thought was the same giant bear, the tracks were identical.
Many men went after the bear but they could not find him.
During his stay, Ojistah talked long hours with Kawihta.
He was amazed by the kindness of the people in the tribe, it was not the picture he had in his head about them.
Ojistah hoped that people grew tired of the war between the two tribes. The cycle had to end.
He listened to all the stories they shared, he realised how similar the two tribes were.
He relearned to walk again, one foot after another.
In the beginning, he needed the assistance of clutches.
Kawihta was so happy to see the progress he made. Ojistah decided that one day he would give back what they did for him.
Gradually, with patience Ojistah could run again even though very slowly.
He took the time to appreciate what was going on around him, he noticed the niceties in nature like the birds singing, the butterflies flying and all the other phenomena happening.
It was like a rebirth for him.
Most members of the tribe started to see him as part of the clan.
The idea of returning to his homeland scared him, he did not know what to expect.
He had been so warmly welcomed that he did not know if he could readapt to his previous life.
The truce between the two tribes was still in place.
The chief’s son always had an eye on him.
He was a proud warrior, and for him Ojistah remained an enemy, and also he did not like that Kawihta was so close to him.
Summer came with its beautiful lights and colours.
Ojistah started to be homesick.
He thought more and more about his family.
When He told Kawihta that he was ready to go back home, she noticed that she would miss him. For the first time she realised that she developed deep feelings for him but she had to be careful because she knew that the chief’ son could be dangerous.
In a fit a jealousy, he could kill him.
The tribal chief decided to let him go as a gesture to consolidate the truce.
He told two of his men to accompany Ojistah to his homeland.
When he arrived, people were in total shock because they thought he was a ghost but after they passed first impressions they were happy to see him alive.
He explained to them what happened during the months he was away, and how happy he was to be back from the dead.
He pleaded to extend the truce after what the other tribe did for him.
But the bear restarted his attacks not long after.
Ojistah decided to go back after him but this time with more men, and better organised.
After only few days, they spotted his marks and they found him.
They set a trap.
The bear fell down to his death.
When he took his last breath, the hunters took his heart. They ate it raw to capture his life force.
Ojistah went back to the other tribe by himself to thank them, and he told them about the bear.
He learned that the chief’s son died of an accident.
After months of courtship and talks between the two chiefs, Ojistah married Kawihta.
It was the first intermarriage between the two tribes. They named their first child the great bear.