The Beggarman Goes Hunting

Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves. (Credit: Public Domain)

Indian Territory – Oklahoma – 1880

The fact that he was a former slave was obvious because he was a black man of a certain age, but his clothes and his manner also marked him for a beggar and a thief on the run from the law, or at least that’s what it seemed.

Most folks thought they were safe from the law in Indian Territory. The region that would one day be known as Oklahoma was ruled by five tribes, the Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw, all forced from their ancestral homelands because of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The tribes governed through their own courts but only had authority over themselves. That meant anyone not of the tribes, from a scalawag to a murderer, could only be pursued by Federal officers and not local law enforcement once they crossed into Indian Territory.

The beggarman had walked twenty some miles that day and he had another ten to go. He ate some of the hardtack and jerky he carried in a ratty looking burlap sack while he watched the small fire burn in front of him. He’d brought a blanket to guard against the cold as he slept on the grasslands of the high plains, but that was all the belongings a man could see. None of that bothered him including being approached silently from behind.

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Ghost Dance

keystone leak

This aerial photo shows spills from TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, that leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil onto agricultural land in northeastern South Dakota – Credit: AP.

“You gotta get up off that grey line…I’ll guarantee they’ll fall in line…”

A federal agency says a leak in TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone oil pipeline in South Dakota likely was caused by damage during construction in 2008.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action report Tuesday on the estimated 5,000 barrels (795,000 litres) of oil that spilled. The report says a weight installed on the pipeline nearly a decade ago may have damaged the pipeline and coating.

According to the report, weights are placed on the pipeline in areas “where water could potentially result in buoyancy concerns.”

Keystone pipeline leak in South Dakota likely caused by 2008 damage: report
28 November 2017 - The Associated Press

A Native American tribe in South Dakota is on edge following a large oil leak from TransCanada's Keystone pipeline.

TransCanada said in a statement Thursday 795,000 litres of oil leaked from an underground section of its Keystone pipeline near Amherst, S.D., about 64 kilometres west from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribal chairman David Flute said his community is concerned the leak, the largest by the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota to date, could pollute the area's aquifer and waterways.

"We are keeping a watchful eye and an open ear," said Flute.

"The concern is at a high level, but there is really nothing we can do."

Native American tribe bracing for Keystone pipeline leak impact
16 November 2017 - by Jorge Barrera, CBC News

Wovoka called them together, the great spirits of his people, of all those who had lived in this land before the white men came. Only a few answered his plea at first. They were hesitant. The last time any of them had been among the living, they had been dying, by disease, by gunshot, by alcoholism, their women raped and murdered, their children starved, all brought about by the European invaders, their children, and their children’s children.

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The Colonials

pictograph

© @any1mark66

“Wallace, I’ve seen your evidence and the supporting papers, but they don’t explain one critical piece of information.”

“Like if the Chinese had visited America frequently and in numbers from 1,300 BC until 500 AD, why didn’t they colonize, right Hendricks?”

This was a frequent argument between the British and Native American archeologists, however Hendricks had a point. Pictographic evidence of extended Chinese visits to North America included numerous artifacts in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. So why did they stop?

“I’ve already introduced Dr. Christina Esquivel, Hendricks.”

“Charmed,” though the older man’s tone indicated he wasn’t. “What’s a geneticist have to do with archeology, Wallace?”

Christina looked forward to deflating this air bag. “I’ve just finished a five-year comparative genetic analysis between various Native American peoples and those from the Hubei, Hunan, and Yunnan regions of China. DNA markers are too similar to be the result of chance.

Meaning?” Hendricks’s voice was laced with anticipation and dread.

“Meaning,” Wallace continued, “that the Chinese did colonize America. Indigenous people like Christina and I are their descendants.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of November 14, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire writing a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

The pictograph reminded me of articles I’ve read suggesting that the Chinese rather than Columbus or any other European or people from across the Atlantic, “discovered” America, perhaps sometime between 1,300 BC and 1,421 AD depending on which source you consider. Granted the information is highly speculative, but it makes a good basis for a story. The suggestion that there could be a genetic similarity between the Chinese people and Native Americans was also briefly mentioned in my source. To read more, go to DailyMail.com.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.