We buried Xach’itee’aaneh T’eede Gaay sister of Beringia today at our summer camp she could not breathe we took her lifeless body from her straw bed and laid her in ochre and stone points The Mother’s bosom and covered her with dust her spirit journey unfolding even as we wept
All of us take the journey skybound from the Upward Sun River it is one thing to know quite another to grasp when the loved one is a horripilate child SunriseGirl-Child we held at night from Sabretooth from cold from Brother Wind.
11,500 years the teachers from the future say our girl was First Child from genomes born and passed to Athabaskan and Algonkian peoples of the south the Valley of Water born of the Valley of Ice and teeming life and Xach’itee’aaneh T’eede Gaay loved birdsong
I carved my daughter a flute from reed and taught her to blow her sweet breath across the mouth hole and she played for the owl with horns and teased Bother Wolf until the cay echoed with cries and calls and Crow joined in until the perfect silence of Grandmotherset
Sunrise Girl-Child’s tiny bones minus her heart returned the ochre had protected precious arms and ribs and skull and there was reverence of the finders for First Child she heard their whispered awe the mothers among them fighting back tears we came from you Flute Girl sister
Xach’itee’aaneh T’eede Gaay Sunrise Girl-Child of ancient Beringia of First Firerainsnow the New World the Old Asia the frozen journey the thousand stories around campfires the dances beneath Coyote Moon and Grandfatherrisen night star oh
We loved you.