The Legend of the Abanaki Burial Ground

Just  a short  and partially true story.....
Just a short and partially true story.....

Two Log Cabins ...One Home....

   I had heard for years about the Abanaki Indians living along the area of the two rivers country where I lived and had built my log cabins . History has a way of filtering out the realities of life and traditions and rewriting of pasts and ways of native Americans , the recorded histories become whitewashed to fit the needs of contemporary truths . American history , as we all know , does just that in the regards of the original American natives .
    This begins here near my home where I live , I have fished here since a boy , canoed , kayaked ,swam and generally done everything a kid and a man can do in the water. But in the background of growing up there were always the stories of the first settlers to live here. The Abanaki Indian , They lived here along the rivers edges as the fertile ground was always good for the summer growing seasons and as the rivers supplied a food source In winter seasons they probably migrated a little south of here.
    One of the stories told as I was growing up had to do with a hidden burial grounds along the banks of the river very near my home. These stories and legends were told to me by my favorite cousins husband , a half blood Abinaki , He was a native American , pretty well known in the region for being an Abinaki basket weaver . Amazing is the only word to describe his work , I used to sit for hours and watch him at his trade ,
    The hands of the man of darker skin who had many talents , and story telling was only one of those talents , would work away by the hours, all the time recalling stories and legends of the natives of our region. He spoke the names of many of the elders in the two river country and as if there was an underground language and line of communication , he often seemed to know of happenings and of local and distant events , before they were in the "news" .
   I had bought a few acres of land on the river and planned to biuld a cabin , eventually a log cabin that I lived in for a decade or so . Though , before I had built the house I had explored the property lines a few times , and in digging up the tree roots and stumps for a driveway I had found a tarnished medalion in the root base of a large old oak tree that must have been dead for years before it toppled downin some long ago wind storm.
   After cleaning off the dirt , the tarnish and mud imbedded in the crevass' of the intricate carvings , thinking this was an old belt buckle , I took it to my cousins house in a bag , as I opened the bag to show him , he reached in to pull out the medallion , but as he did , he immediately turned pale , his hands strarted shaking and he dropped it back into the bag. I looked at him and thinking for a moment he was going to be sick I closed the bag in reflex ,.
Newt immediately spoke, " Where did you get this ? " he asked sternly .
   " I found it digging out the tree stumps where Black brook meets up with the river ."
    He was very quiet and detached for a few moments .
    And then ," You have to take this back and put it exactly where you found it you understand me , put it exactly where you found it in the earth and leave it there.! Make sure you burry it right where you found it .
    " But , Newt isn't this worth anything to us , I knew immediately that it was the wrong thing to ask , He became animated and edgy , "No , This is something from a burrial ground , I'm not even sure you should build a house there ! You should think about moving the location of your driveway at least and maybe even the house too!
   To make a long story short , I did what he said , but only part of what he suggested. I burried the medalion two feet deep there where I had found it . But , what I didn't move was the location of my house . The log cabin being just a few feet from the burial site . A year later as I was nearing the end of building my house , on a late September evening just before the harvest moon , my house burned completely to the ground!
    At the time , there was no electricity , no fires or heating system in the cabin, and as the fire marshall later determined the fire , "cause unknown ", I was , of course so dissapointed in the loss of all the hard work and labors I had invested in. But at the same time determinned to rebuild , I was working one Sunday cleaning up some of the remains of the fire whan My cousins truck came into the driveway , as he climbed out of the cab I walked down to greet him .
   " Hello there ,Ferguson " one of his favorite greetings for anyone ! For whatever reason he called everyone , at some time or another , Feguson.!
    And then he grew quiet as we walked around the burned wreckage of the cabin, and after looking at the lay of the land and trees , the river beyond the small cleared opening and the brook running nearby he said this.
" You will be fine in building again , you can build the cabin in the same spot if you want to and not worry about anything ever happening again.......I know this !"
     And so another year went by as I rebuilt my cabin completely , and in the following years I lived there in peace and tranquility , not once having anything again happen out of the usual , however to the day years later , that I sold the cabin and moved away , Newt would not once step into my home , if I wanted to see him , I went to his house . 
    Though he also told me , that same day , of  some long ago treaty  an  Indian chief  had made with some of the 'Black Robe " people  who came  here before the first settlers .
Some gesture of peace , of a gold medalion  traded for safe passage through the two rivers country  and how later the Abinaki  chief and the  leaders of the religious travelers  had many dissagreements about the land and  the first settlers , upon the death of the native chief the medalion  was buried as well with his body  as a fortelling of the conflicts  that would  come .
     It seemed that the disturbing of the burial  sight  had angered some long ago spirits  of the local  tribes  and the fire was probably a result of that , not knowing for sure  of the complete story or of the many agreements broken by both sides   , you might say my time and years in the log cabin were a bit unsettling  at times.
     I will always remember the cold winter nights when I would sit watching the fire burn the chill out of the cabin  , and  watching the night sky through the big picture  window panes ,  Or to get up in the middle of some night and look out at the , daylight like,  moons glow on the  white snow and thinking  of the gold medallion burried two feet below the foundation  of my home
 That place where I had built two log cabins and one home.

Comments 8 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

It is difficult to unravel the past espeicially as we know so little about what happened on the person to person level. Hopefully living out there and being able to meditate on it might help.

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Dahoglund , thank you for being first! And for always !I agree with you!

randslam profile image

randslam 5 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

I live in the province of British Columbia, in Canada, and have lived in the northwoods of Minnesota.

The tales of the land's first peoples are often fascinating--as this one was for me.

The people of the "black robes," are also fascinating. In the city where I live, Kelowna, Father Pandosy was an Oblate missionary who is credited with founding the first settlement.

Of course, over time the First Nations tribes have had their own stories of the hunger and desperate state they found the Oblate (black robed) missionaries who came to teach the words of the Catholic faith.

The First Nations tradition of oral history versus the documentative recordings of the white man have created much of the point-counterpoint of these fascinating tales from the past.

I thank you for telling a very personal story with eerie ramifications, but it should bring us to think about what, and who, have come before. It should motivate us to respect and re-discover some of the peaceful life that is missing in our speeding times.

Keep up the fascinating tales of the Abinaki tribe--oral histories only last as long as the breath of the storyteller continues to move in and out from his lungs.

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Randslam, thank you sir, true ! all that you say! Everyone should learn of thier first nieghbors . I am proud to know a couple of Native Abanakis' , one of the origional peoples of the northeast . Stay well, can wait to check your sites.

Marina Lester 5 years ago

Love the story, of sharing the land with a past which has drifted into legend. A always loved stories such as these. Building a log cabin sounds like a good sort of hard work! But I myself probably would not have built so close to such stories, my imagination would have too much fun scaring me! :P :D Stay well ahorseback!

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Hi Marina , ! Thanks for always sharing , I'm glad you enjoyed , I'll work on scary stuff for you. Got to keep my girl happy. LOL.

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

great story!! We are always treading on the past arent we? it makes us salute those who go before us I think.

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

RNMSM . Thank you very much . We do at that my friend.....:-}

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