The Story of Chica-Tibo
Little Chica-Tibo sits in his papoose board looking out over the vast reservations rolling hills. Emma the Shoshone Woman sits next to him singing the songs of the old times. She sings of the times when there where Buffalo and Elk and Bear and of the hunters who would keep the tribe well supplied with food and skins for winter. Emma is cleaning and preparing vegetables for the dinner of her White-eye employer and his family. The Buffalo, the Elk and the Bear are all gone now. The tribe is forced to live on what the Whiteman’s Government will give them at the Indian agency at Fort Hall. Some like Emma have found work in the homes of the Whiteman. Most settle for the handouts of the White-eyes.
Emma the Shoshone woman is the Granddaughter of the Great Hunter-Trapper Beaver Dick He attended a meeting of the Mountain men at Bear Lake and meet a beautiful Shoshone girl, they where married and Beaver Dick became a Shoshone. He lived as a Shoshone most of his life. Many on the Shoshone Reservation are descendents of Beaver Dick and his Woman. Many Mountain men have made it into the history books of the White-eyes, few are talked about when large groups of Indians meet. The Shoshone have many stories of the exploits of Beaver Dick. He has become a legend in the camps of the Shoshone.
Little Chica-Tibo has out grown the papoose board and the beaded buck-skin covers Emma has so lovingly made for him. He is now wearing the clothing of the White-eyes.
Emma and her sister Big-Rose have taught Little Chica-Tibo the history of the Shoshone Tribe. Emma’s son Carson has taught Chica-Tibo to hunt and fish and to know the critters and their habits. Cica-Tibo is ten years old and he wonders how life could ever get any better than it is now. Mother earth is good to the Shoshone’s
That summer Chica-Tibo discovered he wasn’t a Shoshone after all. He was a Whitman’s child. His beloved Emma had only been his babysitter all those years. Emma passed away that summer and Chica-Tibo was sent to a Church Home for Boys in the big city of the Lake. He wasn’t accepted by the other boys. They called him a dirty half-breed, they took great delight in telling him of the terrible things the Indians had done to the Whiteman. When Chica-Tibo was thirteen he left the Boy’s Home and returned to the Reservation. He wasn’t accepted by the tribe. They called him a Whiteman and told him of all the terrible things the white men had done to the Indians. Chica-Tibo could never understand if the Indians had treated the White-eyes so badly why where they the one’s confined to Reservations living in poverty. Shouldn’t such brave worriers be rewarded with fine things.
It took Chica-Tibo seventy years to understand the reasons for the attitudes of those boys in the School and the Indians on the Reservation and why they treated him the way they did. It was because of their teachings. It was the times. As Chica-Tibo looks back he wonders with all the changes he has seen why Indians and Latino’s are still treated like second class citizens. Chica-Tibo knows he will never truly be a Shoshone, Shoshone’s are born they are never made. He will never totally be a Latino.
Chica-Tibo is destined to being suspended between his Indian years, his years in Central America living in the Latino culture and his true heritage, that of a Whiteman not really knowing who or what he is. Maybe when he goes to the other place he will find out who he is.
Ken, a.k.a. Chica-Tibo