ALL MY RELATIONS
Book Three of the Saga of the Seventh Generation
A Trilogy For Our Times
ALL MY RELATIONS is the last book of the trilogy, The Saga of the Seventh Generation, which tells the stories of four families struggling to define America. Willow and Willie Bear have combined Isha’s, Mizheekey’s, and Samuel’s families and later Mathias and Anna combine the families of Obediah and Samuel. Their offspring, Jessie and Peter will bring all the families together, breaking the curse that will free the seventh generation, Sara and Benjamin, to fulfill Crazy Horse’s prophecy.
Jessie is the abandoned daughter of Chastity, determined to protect her brother and sister when both of their parent’s disappear.
“I’m a cop, you kids. You have to open the door. I’m not going to hurt you, but you have to open the door.” The baby started to cry. The oldest girl shot the cop a look that shamed him for scaring the baby. “If you kids don’t open the door, I’m going to have to break in,” he said, motioning to the tow truck driver to get the Slim Jim. Jessie knew her dad would be mad if the policeman broke his car, so she moved her hand slowly to the lock and pulled up the button. She pushed the children behind her and stepped out of the car to meet the frustrated officer. Her head came up to his belt buckle. Her unwavering, deep black eyes looked up to face him. Office Stevenson softened at the small, courageous look of her. She was a soft brown color, probably an Indian, coiled up like a baby rattler who didn’t have enough venom to do much, but would strike any way. “
Peter is the son of Mathias and Anna, caught in the end of the 20th century of Vietnam, civil rights, and the Grateful Dead.
“After Vietnam, Matt, Peter’s father, had a temper that was legendary and precipitous. The outbursts had left Peter with a confused uneasiness around his father. His tender laughter might be inexplicably erased by an uncompromising tirade against injustice. This could be provoked by something as simple as socks strewn on the floor for someone else to pick up or as tragic as a homeless person freezing to death on the streets of Denver. After Vietnam, Matt had become an explosive barometer of fairness. Peter learned an unwavering sense of right and wrong from his father, but he also learned to fear its passion.”
David, a Blackfoot Native, is Peter’s closest friend and first connection with the Indian world that will define his future.
“Wounded Knee was so authentically raw that Peter’s tears choked his words, ashamed of his part in any of this. People of his own kind had unashamedly taken David’s land, killing David’s ancestors, many of them women and children. David cried too. He was unable to either hate or forgive his good friend, who had been born almost two hundred years after frightened children shrieked for their mothers, mothers screamed their powerless fury at the murderous attackers, and frail elders prayed to the Creator for a mercy that did not come. It was easier to laugh, to shrug, to forgive. But today, in this place, as witness to all the violence between them, nothing was easy. The two sat in the rain on the steps of their shame. It was a deep and prickly part of each of them, an unspoken thorn in their relationship. To look it squarely in the eye was to cringe unendurably. To look away was to shame the muddied distance between them.”
Sara is the oldest child of Jesse and Peter and struggles to find her place in a white and native world when each assumes she is the other.
“Sarah thought about her questions and doubts about who she was. Her Indianness. Her whiteness. Her shame. Her pride. She kept looking outside of herself for an answer. Solo. Sarah thought of her mother’s courage. She had believed it had come easily and naturally. She had assumed that her mother’s childhood was full of the normal trials and tribulations of her own. Knowing that her mother had triumphed over such horrendous obstacles shifted everything in Sarah’s understanding of the world. Her petty obstacles lay like toys in the landscape of her growing up. In her whiteness, Sarah could see a fragile, but empowering sense of hopefulness. She now saw in her Nativeness, a deep, stubborn sense of survival. They were both aspirations, not identities, but they were hers to cherish and nurture. “I think I need a solo,” she said to her beautiful auntie.”
Benny has his own struggles as he navigates a white world of sports and education, reclaiming his white and native power.
“Benjamin had a different path. The four months in the hospital after the accident were a heartbreaking spasm of determination and resignation, acceptance and rage. On some days, the 18 minutes that it took to pull on his pants was a rallying cry for celebration; on other days, it was the mortifying humiliation of defeat. On some days, Benjamin laughed and pouted with the therapists; on other days, he screamed and threw things. Captive to his unwieldy chair, Benjamin could not run away from his anger or hide from his vulnerability. He retreated into the hospital television and computer video games, taking on the superheroes, running, flying, conquering. At times, Benjamin bristled at optimistic thinking, seething at anyone’s efforts to find a bright side. At other times, he laughed at his own tears. “I guess it wasn’t as good a day to die as it seemed.”
The deep and tragic love between Jessie and Peter finally breaks the curse, leaving the Seventh Generation, Sara and Benjamin to find their way in the 21rst century. Child of a white father and Navajo mother, Sara searches for her own identity in a world that is neither white nor Native. Benjamin struggles with his own obstacles as he navigates a white world of sports and education. Found in their own hard won strengths and the unconscious victories of their ancestors, Sara and Ben gather with “all the colors of mankind…under the sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth become one circle again.”
“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
From the Great Binding Law of the Iroquois Confederacy
comprised of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora peoples.