Shell Shaker Chapters 13–14 Summary
by LeAnne Howe

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Chapters 13–14 Summary

Chapter 13: The Nanih Waiya

Mississippi, September 26, 1991: Seven vehicles from Oklahoma pull up in front of the Nanih Waiya. The mound of earth is soft from recent rains when Isaac Billy gets out of his truck and calls to the others to do so.

Delores takes her shoes off before getting out of the truck and walks up the east side of the mound. At the top, she searches for signs of animal life. Nick Carney had gone to the Durant funeral home to demand McAlester’s body and was given it without resistance. Delores is afraid of being followed or challenged by the D’Amato brothers or others, but nobody seems to have tracked them. In the truck bed is the pile of mud that had begun as flour in the kitchen of the Billy house. The trailer containing McAlester’s coffin and a large bag assumed to be full of money has been dragged by the Peanutmobile. Other cars contain the rest of McAlester’s belongings.

The bag, the one from Auda’s vision, was discovered by an old man. The group decided that as long as nobody touched it or opened it, they would not become Osano, corrupt. McAlester will be buried with his money.

Delores sits down and tries to remember a story she had heard about this place, but she struggles to focus. A group of Mississippi Choctaws arrives: a man gets out of a truck and identifies himself to Isaac as Earl Billy, a cousin Isaac hasn’t seen for many years. Isaac introduces Earl to Delores and says they have finally married after fifty years. The two groups introduce those who don’t know each other. Earl says he is going to use a backhoe to dig a hole big enough to bury McAlester in.

Earl says that young boys receive signs to indicate that they should be healers or spiritual leaders. The sign might be a snake or a bear. He has heard that McAlester received such a sign, but rejected it. Today, the Chahta people come back together to put his spirit to rest.

Earl introduces Delores to the Choctaw women from Louisiana, Texas, and Alabama who have now also returned to Mississippi. There are also a few Choctaw who never left, staying to fight for their rights. One of these, Edith LaHarve, tells Delores that it can be hard to remember that all the parts of the tribe were once one, but now they have been reunited.

The women chant together, and Delores feels filled with joy.

Chapter 14: Road of Darkness

Talihina, 1991: Auda feels herself floating. She sees her own body on the bed. Then, the next moment, she is with McAlester; he tells her he dreamed that they were ancient and still living together with their family around them. She sees her cousin, Buster, listening to her heart with a stethoscope while her mother prays,

Presley War Maker, we need your help. Please come.

The next minute, Auda is looking through the windshield of a car at a group of women speaking Choctaw, asking her father’s spirit to help her. She cannot picture her father and instead sees a sky of umbrellas flapping like birds. She is living in an abundant town and remembers (now in the person of Anoleta) that she first failed to kill Red Shoes the night after her mother’s bone-picking ceremony. She tried to poison him, but he did not eat the poisoned meat.

Next, Auda is in the car once again with Red. He tells her that the history...

(The entire section is 893 words.)