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First Published on Jan 30 2013
Chief Jack knew: whenever the red man wars against the white, it is always the red man who loses.
But which was she?
Jamie said his mother’s blood flowed in his veins.
Just so, her father’s blood flowed in hers.
And so it had been husband against wife.
Father against daughter.
Brother against sister.
Whenever the red man wars against the white, it is always the red man who loses.
And what if the red man is you?
And what if the white man is you?
And what if the red man and what if the white man both together, mixed together, flowed freely together in the same veins and those veins were you?
The history of the massacre of White River, Colorado of 1879 provides the backdrop for the story of the Tabor family in contemporary times. When family matriarch Christiana Tabor lies dying, she implores her daughter Christine to contact the Ute Shaman Sowowic to guide her passing. Christine Tabor does so, awakening her long buried heritage. The awakening ruptures the Tabor household: Mickey Tabor, Christine’s husband cannot nor will not understand the longing created in his wife. Tensions in the once happy household escalate with brother, Jamie, and sister, Kristin, caught between two immovable forces, until one day, without explanation or preamble, Christine Tabor is gone.
Mickey Tabor begins a long slow slide into alcoholism, secrets, and violence. What once was a close relationship between Kristin and Jamie grows strained and distant. Jamie, once Kristin’s hero, seems to align with his father. One day challenging her father’s strict admonitions and Jamie’s repeated warnings, Kristin breaks open the lock to her father’s room. There, she finds the w’ni thokunup—a Ute musical instrument given to her mother by her grandmother-- and her mother’s letters. Mickey finds Kristin, and attacks her brutally. When Jamie comes home from hockey practice, he stumbles ashen upon the scene, and rushes Kristin to the hospital. Unconscious, Kristin dreams of her mother and grandmother. Upon her return from the hospital, she leaves home for good.
Thus begins fourteen year old Kristin Tabor’s journey, a journey that will take her backward in search of her mother and her Ute heritage, and forward to find romance and love, and eventually, reunification and hope.
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