Chapter One: A Hole in the Ground
I'd felt so nervous when I first started, but as I wrapped up my presentation on Lakota spirituality, I had a sense that I could really get into the teaching thing. Dr. Callahan had asked me to make the presentation to the Philosophy of Religion class, as an extra credit project and because I was planning on going to grad school in philosophy. As I looked out at the rest of the class, I saw a few people who seemed interested and a couple had their hands raised with questions. Jason caught my eye, and my heart fluttered just a little. I wondering what he was thinking about the outfit I chose. It wasn't what I wanted, really, for a class presentation – it was more for a Friday night date. But I only owned jeans besides the mini-dress I wore.
"Yeah, Tammy, right?" I called on a blond sitting in the front of class.
"Are you like a medicine woman or something?" she asked, glancing at the medicine bag I brought in.
"No," never! "There's only one holy man left among the Oglala." I didn't mention that it was my Grandfather. "But anyone can have a medicine bag. I got mine by going on a vision quest when I came to college." Grandfather insisted.
I pointed to a boy I'd never met or talked to before. He sat up straighter in his desk. "Aren't you afraid all that stuff will lead you to the devil? The Bible's against sorcery."
I flushed a little and looked at Dr. Callahan, but she didn't act to interfere. "It's not really sorcery; it's a religious artifact. My people don't believe in the devil." Shit, I didn't mean to say "my people."
"The Bible condemns other religions," he said. I rolled my eyes.
I tried to ignore him by calling on Jason who'd just raised his hand. We'd been dating for six months now. Tomorrow we we're supposed to head to Acapulco for our senior year spring break.
"Don't you think all this stuff is just superstitious mumbo-jumbo?" My jaw dropped at what he said. Of course, I didn't usually talk about this stuff to anyone. Not since Lacey broke up with me, and I had no one to talk to about it. "How do you even consider this religion?"
"Isn't anything that brings us closer to God a religion?" I said.
"Not if it's not in the Bible," the unknown guy said. I saw Jason nodding his head. How many times had I gone to Church with him on Sunday and never seen this side of him.
"That's just circular thinking," I retorted, getting angry. "I think religion goes beyond the Bible."
I saw Jason shaking his head, but before anyone else could say anything, Dr. Callahan stood up. "Let's thank Rowan for sharing her family's religious tradition today." Most of the class clapped, but not the mean boy who'd brought up the bible. And Jason didn't look too enthusiastic.
I gathered my stuff and followed Dr. Callahan to her office. It was down in the basement of the administration building, a small office with two small windows. Books sat in piles on her desk, while her book shelves overflowed with others.