This is part 2 of my story. Click here to read part 1.
Stella woke up in a daze. She was lying in a strange house that was different from anything she had ever seen before. A Cherokee women was cooking something in the small kitchen.
Suddenly Stella remembered her fall from the day before, and someone had picked her up. Was it possible that her rescuer was an Indian?
Meanwhile Louise and Walter had search parties out looking for her. When she had not returned after supper and Aunt Rosa arrived home, they got worried.
Aunt Rosa was told everything and she insisted that they send search parties out for her. But because of the storm, Walter was unable to even ride to town to get help, so they had waited until morning.
Louise was devastated and Walter was shattered. The search parties had looked for her for three weeks, so they started their father’s funeral without her.
For five years they heardnothing of their beloved sister. Walter was married and had two of his own children. He became a wealthy ranch owner, after inheriting Aunt Rosa’s farm. Louise was engaged and lived with Walter and his wife Charlotte.
One day a knock disturbed Louise from her piano playing. She opened the door and saw a young woman, just a little younger then herself, with dark curly hair and a tiny baby in her arms. It took a few moments for Louise to recognize the women as her own sister Stella.
“St-Stella?” stammered Louise, “Is it really you?...I’m so happy to see you, we thought you were dead, I can’t believe this, why haven’t you come sooner?”
The words all came out in such a hurry that Louise could barley hear what she was saying.
“Walter come quickly” shouted Louise.
Walter appeared quickly. He was as startled and as overjoyed to see her as Louise was.
After much greetings and hugs, Stella sat down and told her story.
“After the news of Father’s death, I ran away through the storm and out of Aunt Rosa’s property. Speaking of Aunt, where is she?”
“She passed away a year after you left us.” Walter informed her.
“I have been gone so long,” Stella said thoughtfully, “Oh, back to the storm, Blanche suddenly skidded and I fell off. A kind Cherokee named Onacona (meaning white owl) picked me up and carried me to his village. I was unconscious.
His mother and sisters took care of me until I had fully recovered from the fever I had from riding in the storm. I didn’t return home because I needed a break from this house, and I wasn’t ready to face my life again.
After staying for a few months, I was accepted into their village and I became a Cherokee. I married Onacona and this is my daughter, Adsila (meaning flowering).
I have lived in that village for five years, It has become my home and I love the Cherokee people as if they were my own kin. Of course I still thought about all of you, and I missed you, but I still couldn't turn back.
Recently there has been trouble in the Cherokee tribe. There are rumours about a Cherokee removal by the Government. There are some men in the village that say we should fight for our land and our hopes, and even fight white man. But many beleive we should try to make peace and do whatever the white men say we should.
However this is still only a rumour, but I have to admit that the rumour is looking more likely then ever. The Government has already taken most of the children to boarding schools, to be 'civilised'. Their parents had no choice.
We have even adapted to their customs, and Cherokee no longer have their own religion, the missionaries have brought revival and Christianity to us, and we have hoped that white man can see us as brothers and sisters in Christ. However, different skin colour means a lot to some people.
I decided to come here and ask if these rumours are true. If they are, my plan is to implore you to hide as many Cherokee Indians in this house as it can hold."
As Stella finished, her brother and sister noticed a new determination and a passion for her new 'people'. She was still the same Stella, but also somehow different. Was this perhaps, because of her new-found mission and destiny? To save the unwanted people of America?
After thinking for a while, Walter spoke up.
"How do you think you can hide a whole tribe in this house, I know you have entirely good intentions, but your plan is just not realistic"
Stella stood up; narrowed her eyes; and drew herself as tall as she could against her brother. Her siblings immediately recognised this as the typical iron-will-Stella-look.
"If you can't save even one of my people, then I will march with them to the ends of this country, helping comfort as much as I can. You can be sure that I will escape no fate that my family faces, all because of skin colour."
Walter and Louise could see that there was no way they could refuse her.
"I will help you and your people as much as I possibly can, but I cannot guarantee how many I can save. But Stella, you will go with Louise, Charlotte and my children to England where you can be safe. If this rumour is true, there could be serious consequences for hiding Indians, and I don't want you to be involved. "
"Walter, I am already as heavily involved in this issue as much as anybody could be, there is no use stopping me, but of course Louise and your family must go", replied Stella.
After talking it through, Louise claimed that she wouldn't return to safety if both her sister and brother wouldn't. So Charlotte and her children went alone.
The Coles' spent the next three months finding out all they could of this recent 'rumour'. Walter found out that it was indeed true. And with a heavy heart, he informed Stella. What was worse for Walter, was that Stella was considered an Indian to the government since she was married to a Cherokee. She was in just as much danger as every other Cherokee. Plus she had a baby to take care of.
Walter worked even harder on a plan knowing how personal this issue had become. He knew that Stella would go with her people anyway, but to know that the Government would actually force her out of Tennessee and into the unknown wild west, was unimaginable.
Part 3 Coming soon!