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A Native American Indian Story
by Storie-Jean Agapith
Illustrated by Thomas Mitton

     Sti'Tumma had always wanted to have beautiful beaded "shooflies" attached to her saddle, on the breastplate and under the horse's tummy on the cinch. She had already made a couple for her favorite bridle! The shooflies were made from a small amount of horsehair being folded in half, wrapped with buckskin, and beadwork put over the buckskin. The shoofly would then be clipped onto the favorite spot selected by each rider. So when the horses had their tails cleaned, the hair was saved for Sti'Tumma who then went to work to make herself some beautiful and colorful shooflies. Sometimes Gilly, Sti'Tumma's sister, would do the beadwork on a dozen shooflies at a time for the trail guides. The shooflies would move with the horse and keep some of the flies from settling on the horse!

     It was a beautiful Saturday morning and time to get ready to meet the scheduled trail riders at the lake for the 20-mile ride through the beautiful countryside. Her nephew and youngest brother saddled her horse while she went to select the shooflies to attach to her saddle today. Across the breastplate she clipped six, on the cinch she clipped two, and on the rear of the saddle she clipped two. She stood back to take a good look, and said to herself, "Today both Zoomer and I will look good!"

     At the lake she stayed on horseback due to the pain she was feeling in her back and neck; getting off and on would only make it worse. Today she wanted to be able to complete the ride to show off all her hard work on the beautiful and colorful shooflies. By wearing her new ribbon shirt, she looked elegant upon that gorgeous horse with all the beadwork showing on the shooflies. She met the riders, gathered the riding fees, which were placed in the beaded bag tied tight to her saddle, and even had some pictures taken of her and Zoomer!

     Today Sti'Tumma would begin the trail ride by trailing the riders. She took her time, although Zoomer wanted to be in the lead of the pack. What a lovely day, open views for nice photos, and she noticed that the riders were taking some lovely shots. Zoomer was becoming impatient, so Sti'Tumma let him walk a bit faster to get to the head of the riders. She was almost to the beginning of the riders when a pair of riders, an elder cowboy and his wife, moved up to talk to her. The lady asked, "We were wondering if you are a medicine lady, you have all the scalps with beadwork on them displayed on your saddle. And we wanted to know how you got anyone to actually touch the scalps to put the beadwork on them."

     Sti'Tumma started chuckling, and then broke out in laughter! Her younger brother, the lead trail guide for today, stopped the group to check on his sister. Sti'Tumma decided this was a good spot to take a break and talk about the shooflies she was so proud of. By the time the riders started off again on the ride, the whole Country Trail Ride crew were amazed at how many of these city cowboys and cowgirls didn't understand the Native Americans at all, they still believed there was scalping and raiding going on within the reservation! Scalps, what a joke, now every trail guide would want to be decorated with the "scalps" displayed on their horse to show their "honor within the Tribe"!

     Since that ride, and all the jokes and laughter about the medicine lady and her scalps, Gilly has been able to have a dozen "imitation scalps" beaded and ready for sale at each trail ride during the lunch break at the wonderful and remodeled old campsite.

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Story copyright ©2003 Storie-Jean Agapith. All rights reserved.
Illustration copyright ©2003 Carol Moore. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form
or by any process without prior written permission from the publisher.
1st Edition. Published by Carol Moore