The Pollock Family, 6 of 14: Out of the Wilderness

The Pollocks called him John because he’d come out of the wilderness like John the Baptist. They cut his matted hair and washed his clothes, and he was definitely more civilized, but he was still an Indian. They weren’t sure what kind.

When they arrived in Elizabethtown, they found a miner who spoke a smattering of Native languages. It took only a brief interchange with the boy before the man announced, “He’s Navajo. I’m guessin’ he’s an orphan run away from Fort Union on the Long Walk.”

“The Long Walk?” Thomas asked.

“General Carleton had Kit Carson round up the Navajos, put them at Bosque Redondo Reservation to starve.” He moved away from the boy. “There’s talk of sendin’ ’em home.”

“But he’s an orphan,” Sarah protested.

“They’re still his people,” Thomas told her.

“How would he get there?”

“Oh, Injuns can always find their way,” the miner said carelessly.

Copyright © 2015 Loretta Miles Tollefson

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