I’m a thirteen-year-old-half-breed, a mongrel, according to my mom’s father. He’s full-blooded Kootenai Indian and I am only half-Indian. My dad’s heritage is a mix of Scot, Irish, French and Ger-man. So maybe the old man is right, I am a mongrel, like most Americans, a mix of nationalities. But, with him, it’s not a simple fact. It was spoken with disgust and loathing ten years ago and my mother died because of it. My older brother Chris and I hate him.
For ten years, no one heard from the old man and we were ﬁne with that. Then a letter shows up saying he wants me to spend the summer with him. Dad said my mother would have wanted her youngest son to know her people. I fought against it and lost in the end. I always do when it’s ‘what Mom would have wanted.’
So I’m stuck on the Kootenai-Salish Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. All I have to do is ﬁnd his stash of booze and I’ll be on my way home.
TRISHA DAVISlived in Montana during the wildﬁre season of 2000 and worked at the Perma ﬁre camp. She now shares a homestead lifestyle in south-central Alaska with her husband, Chuck, and a Great Pyrenees named Chato.