Joseph Walks Quickly
Joseph Walks Quickly sits silently in class wondering how to become invisible. Wondering how to become hidden or unseen. Hoping that by sitting quietly he can escape notice.
Sitting silently, he remembers Grandfather telling him that if one is silent and quiets their spirit, the animals will not run from you. Deer will come close and offer themselves up as food and clothing.
Joseph Walks Quickly remembers the Prayer Song that must be sung to the deer. Thanking them and asking forgiveness for killing them. He silently sings the song in his head.
Joseph Walks Quickly is startled from his thoughts.
Unfortunately, he had not become small or invisible. Unfortunately, he had caught the attention of Mr. Jones, the classroom teacher.
“Joseph, I told you more than once. I told you that I would not tolerate braids on boys in my classroom.”
Joseph Walks Quickly says silently to himself. “My name is Joseph Walks Quickly, not Joseph. These braids are part of the Coming of Age Ceremony. These braids are a symbol of my place in the Tribe. These braids are a part of who I am.”
Joseph Walks Quickly remembers Mr. Jones has heard all of this before. Mr. Jones does not care.
Joseph Walks Quickly realizes the White teacher will not understand. The White teacher will never understand.
Mr. Jones continues. “Joseph, you were warned what would happen if you did not cut your braids. Present yourself to the Dean of Discipline. Now!”
Joseph Walks Quickly silently stands and heads out the door, and down the hall to the office. This is a trip he has made many times before.
Even though the school consists of almost all Native students, the teachers and administrators are all White.
In this school all rules set by the White administration. White rules, that must be obeyed.
Joseph Walks Quickly, does not walk quickly to the office. He walks slowly, and thinks to himself; a White Dean will chop off the sign of his becoming a man. A White man will cut off his Native pride. A White rule will take his braid and attempt to take his Native heritage from him.