One hundred years ago the Cherokees lived in the Appalachians, where they had a great civilization. But one day the white men broke their promises to the Cherokees, and these people were driven from their homes into exile along a trail that is still called the Trail of Tears.
Waupee came upon a ring in the prairie that seemed to have been worn by many moving feet, but there was no trail leading to or from the ring. Waupee hid, and soon twelve dancing sisters descended to earth in a basket and began to dance around the ring. Waupee caught one of the sisters and claimed her as his bride. One day they traveled back to the stars, taking with them earthly gifts. There was great rejoicing when Waupee and his family arrived, and each one there chose a gift. Waupee and his wife and son chose a feather from the white hawk, and together they became white hawks and returned to earth.
Eight-year-old Betsy left her home on the Indian reservation to live for the school year with a white family. There was much for Betsy’s new family to learn about her and her Indian ways, and there was much for Betsy to learn too. Her new white sister understood Betsy best, even though some children at school were unkind to both of them.
After a few months Betsy unexpectedly had to return to her Indian family because they needed her. No one knew if she would ever return to her white family, but eventually Betsy let the white sister know of her love.
Tom moved to a new house, and the very worst thing—being the new kid in class on the first day of school—was what he dreaded most of all. Tom seemed to do everything wrong. But Tom’s classmates were friendly boys and girls, and finally the first day was over!
Sioux Indian boys earned their names by either doing some great deed or because of some disgrace. They carried these names for the rest of their lives.
More than anything, Little Jim wanted a great name. He tried to gain favor in many ways, but he was not given a new name. Then one day his father spoke of him as “my son, Jimmy,” and Little Jim knew that he had finally grown up!