San Carlos Apache Reservation. 1910.
7 year old Hanne loved being outside. She loved the horses - she loved the rugged mountains in the background. She loved playing with the neighbor boys and running wild like the wind, laughing and having fun. Her mother stood on the doorstep as a car approached their little makeshift house.
“Come back inside,” her mother said. She worried at the hem of her apron. “You’ll get too dark.”
Hanne looked down at her arms. “But then I’ll be like you mama.” Her father came up from behind her and tugged at one of her braids. She giggled, brushing the dirt off her hands on her dress. “Did you have fun at church?” she asked. Hanne knew her papa didn’t live with them all the time, and visited. He went to church with his other family. Papa said that Hanne was his fun family.
Her Papa picked her up and spun her around. “There’s my little girl,” he said. He nuzzled his face into her neck. “But your mama is right. You better get inside before you look like a picaninny.”
Hanne pouted and obeyed her father. Once inside, her parents disappeared into the living room. She looked around as she swung her legs, too short to hit the ground. Her parents were arguing, she knew that. They argued a lot and Hanne wished that they wouldn’t. She wished a lot of things, but she especially wished her Papa would live with them.
Maybe if he lived with them, mama would be happier. Maybe there wouldn’t be holes in the roof. But Hanne loved her people too, even if their houses looked the same. It was her entire world.
Finally her parents came out. Her mama was crying.
“Hanne - you’re going to go to school near Papa starting next year. A special boarding school where you’ll be able to live there.” He smiled at her. Hanne liked when her Papa smiled. “Isn’t that nice?”