Bull, the son of Enemy Horse, is the patriarch of his tribe. He is used to represent stalwart Native Americans who dare to resist acculturation and maintain traditional values. He lives in a changing world, but he clings tenaciously to his heritage. Although he seeks accord with the whites officially representing the dominant culture, he refuses to knuckle under to them. He is a thorn in the flesh of those who think that a good Native American is one who forsakes tribal traditions and enters the mainstream of American life.
Henry Jim, Bull’s elder brother, has joined the white world. He cooperates with government officials. He has built a wooden house in which his daughter-in-law, a member of a tribe to the south, has gone so far as to cover the floors and windows with cloth—much to the dismay of his Native American relatives, most of whom will not enter his house, preferring to stay outside on their horses when they need to see him. Henry Jim has fenced his land as the whites do. He cannot, however, shake his Native American roots. As death approaches, he moves from his house into a tepee outside it, reverting to his tribal customs as his life runs out.
Two Sleeps, not originally a member of the tribe, appeared in the tribal village one day, beaten, exhausted, and hungry. The elders were about to expel him when he collapsed. Of necessity, they ministered to him. He then shared with them a vision that he had about a herd of buffalo he...
(The entire section is 591 words.)