Tethered to a stake, Raven ran her fingers through her long thick hair. Its beauty illuminated by the burning fire, revealed the reason for her name. Dark luscious locks coiled around her shoulders. She pulled her buckskin skirt around her knees. Looking around, tears filled her eyes, she so wanted her family.
Raven had been by the river alone, cooling her feet in the rippling water when the white man had grabbed her from behind. She had put up a fight but he did not hesitate to hit her and all went black, Raven had passed out.
Her father was Chief of the Chetco tribe whose camp was by the Winchuck River. Stories of these snatchings were often told by the elders when gathered together at night. Deerskins wrapped around the little ones kept them warm while the adults talked by the fire.
It was now two full moons since she was taken and each night she looked up at the stars knowing her parents in Oregon were also looking up at them, sad and lonely, just like she was.
Untying the rope, the man shoved her on to his wagon.
“Tomorrow you will fetch a handsome price for me.”
The white man was rough and dirty. The scars on his face told her he had been in many fights. Although she did not understand everything he said, Raven knew she would never see her people again. She did not want to sleep as it would bring the new day quicker to her and the thought of it scared her.
This morning in the town, where the white people lived, was noisy and full of men shouting and fighting. Raven kept her head low.
With the rope again around her neck she was dragged up onto a cart. Men and women came to look at her and touch her. They placed their hands on her private places and roughly pulled at her torn clothes.
“Stupid injun,” the children called out. Some laughed, others spat towards her bare feet.
Raven heard a man shouting out to those gathered around. Shortly he struck his stick against a wooden table. There was a cheer. She was taken from the cart and brought to a different man than the one who had stolen her.
Led away by her new master, she feared what life with the settlers would bring her.
— Mary Bradford