Last Updated on June 22, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1634
Chapter 3: Intek Aliha, the Sisterhood
Dallas, Texas, September 22, 1991: Tema Billy is playing Nora Helmer in a production of A Doll’s House running at the Dallas Theatre. Having left Oklahoma in 1972, she is pleased to have been able to bring her son, Hopaii (called Hoppy), back to the state. Hoppy’s father is a Euchee Indian named Jon, whom Tema met in New York City. In New York, Tema tried out for an agency and developed her career as an actress.
An issue with the stage set causes Tema to stumble and fall. Before she can get up, she hears the words hatak abi, or “mankiller” in Choctaw. She wrenches herself back into her performance but hears the voice say, in Choctaw,
Your hands killed Red Shoes!
Tema explains to Borden, her husband and costar, what she heard, but he says he didn’t hear it. Tema says she is afraid that something is after her. Borden is British, and Tema sometimes feels that he doesn’t take her seriously. Tema says that they need to leave, and Borden points out that they came to Dallas from London only for her. He says he will return to New York with her when their contract ends; he wants to respect her beliefs, but he says she is not a killer. He begs her to accept that she was imagining things.
The next morning, Hoppy wakes Tema with a fax explaining that Redford McAlester has been killed and that police believe Auda did it. It also notes that Susan is in prison. Tema shows Borden, who says that of course she must go at once.
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, Adair Billy is at work at a securities investment firm. Adair is predictable and reliable, known as the “Wall Street Shaman.” She has an MBA and made her reputation in 1985 by saving several clients from a vast financial scandal. Like her sisters, she hears voices.
Adair likes the Choctaw connection to New Orleans, where her people came from, although “no trace” remains of them. She has read a lot about the founder of New Orleans, Jean Baptiste le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, and often visits his house, which even white historians acknowledge was built “to entertain Choctaws.”
In 1982, Adair flew to hear Auda lecture on Choctaw history; Auda was described as the first Choctaw academic to write about the early interactions between the Choctaw and the French, who frequently traded with one another. It irritated Adair that the audience seemed to disagree with Auda when she explained how many Indians were removed from their lands and killed. Auda made it clear to her heckling audience, however, that it was she who was the expert, making comparisons between the history of the American Indians’ removal from their lands and the history of Palestinians’ removal from Jerusalem, which shocked the audience. Auda, slightly drunk after her talk, got into a slight altercation with a woman who called her a “Marxist.” Adair, alongside a young Indian man who worked there, walked Auda out of the building to her hotel.
The man, Gore Battiste, took Adair to dinner, and the pair went to bed together. Nine years later, Adair still thinks about that night. She keeps newspaper clippings whenever there is a macabre event reported in the paper, as well as clippings on Redford McAlester, who she fears is hiding money in offshore bank accounts.
A popping noise startles her. She opens her office door to find a fax in an envelope from Uncle Isaac, saying that McAlester is dead, Auda and Susan have been arrested, and Adair should come home.
Adair sells some shares to acquire some money quickly, then has her secretary telephone Gore, now an attorney in Oklahoma. She decides she will go home.
Chapter 4: Choctough
Durant, September 23, 1991: Isaac Billy has been accosted by a deputy sheriff with a warrant to search Auda’s garage. Durant’s “Big Peanut” sculpture was stolen in the night, and some have...
(The entire section contains 1634 words.)
Unlock This Study Guide Now
Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Shell Shaker study guide. You'll get access to all of the Shell Shaker content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.
- Chapter Summaries