The Gleaner
Arts & LifeSharing Our Stories

Sharing Our Stories – January 10, 2024

Story told by: Mitch Deer
Edited by: Aaron McComber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Translated by: Karonhí:io Delaronde

Little People

…During the last days, the army moved into the Pines. A tank came in and started pushing everybody back. Everyone fell back into the Onen’tó:kon Treatment Centre. I wasn’t there when that happened because I was on the other side of the reserve.

They decided to block off the roads and I was trapped. I had the water on my backside, mountains in front of me, the police to my left, and the army to my right. So I went to the fishing shacks that were there, the kind that they drag out onto the ice in the winter.

I was scared, I didn’t want to be captured.

 

Warriors and supporters leave the Onentókon Treatment Centre on the final day of the crisis September 26 1990 Mitchs two sons Oniataríio Deer second from left in foreground and Rohrháre Deer fifth from left in foreground are present PHOTO Robert GalbraithKanienkeháka Onkwawénna Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center

 

I stayed there for hours and a tank came down the road. There was this tree and some tall grass and I just laid there holding my weapon saying, “You can’t see me, you can’t see me, you can’t see me.”

It stayed there for 20-30 minutes. I think they were just as scared as me because they wouldn’t get off the tank.

After it left, I decided to go up the mountain. I had a van and in it I had tuna fish, peanuts, soda, and a big bottle of water. I put them all in my army uniform pockets and crossed the road.

 

PHOTO Robert GalbraithKanienkeháka Onkwawénna Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center

 

I didn’t trust anyone living there because I know some of those guys were turning in warriors; you couldn’t trust them.

I took all my stuff with me and started going up the mountain.

I was walking in the bush and I had no flashlight. I started getting worried because I knew I was off the path. I couldn’t find it because it was too dark.

 

Illustration of Iakotinenióiaks freeing fish from a childs basket from the 1917 book Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children by Mabel Powers COURTESY The Project Gutenberg

 

You know what happened? A light came on in the path – a little light like the size of a pinhead. Then maybe 70 feet further, another light. It was the Little People, the Iakotinenioia’ks, and they were helping me. Guiding me up the mountain, back to the path.

Everywhere in the world has Little People like leprechauns or elves but a lot of people don’t believe in that. But they helped me. I even got down on my hands and knees to look at the little light in front of me. I knew they were helping me because I believed in them.

 

lakotinenióiaks dance amongst mushrooms and rocks in the 1917 book Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children by Mabel Powers COURTESY The Project Gutenberg

 

During the Crisis, we asked for everyone to help us. We asked the dead people in the graveyard, we asked the Hatowis, we asked the Little People to help us and they did.

Now what I understand about them is that they are only going to help you if you are putting yourself 100 percent behind what you are doing. If you are doing it half-assed, they aren’t going to help you. So you have to fully devote yourself to the cause.

We always knew about the Little People, they were in our legends. I had never seen them but I know those who have. There are people who are gifted and they’ve seen them and I don’t question that.

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