Our distinguished Mashpee Wampanoag Chief Silent Drum (Vernon Lopez) thought he was dreaming as he was walking down his hallway mid-morning to make his bed.
Oh, well, that was not happening, because all of a sudden he heard glass breaking. He froze in his tracks. The chief has done years of traveling around the world, including during World War II. Now at 97 years old, he has lived in his house for 50 years and heard spirits often, but no broken windows—ever.
This man of wisdom turned around and softly walked to the den, meeting not a human being who he thought might have broken in, but a 30-pound, real live turkey, a male now named Turkey Warrior.
As Silent Drum tried to make him leave, Turkey Warrior looked up, blinked his eyes and, in his gobble grunt, said, “Go make your bed as you started. I’m going to your couch,” and, he did, walking slowly across the living room twitching his tail feathers as if he owned the house. Up on the couch he flew. Walked all over, looked out the window and said, “Gobble-gobble,” again.
Chief tried to make him move off the couch. Finally he did so, strutting across the floor as slow as he could. Arriving in the kitchen Turkey Warrior stopped, looked up, and winked with his beady eyes. Silent Drum opened the door. Turkey Warrior gobbled, “Hell, no!” Up on the chair he flew, then, looking around, like lightning he flew out another window, breaking the glass into small pieces.
Silent Drum said to himself, “What do I do now?” He felt vulnerable. He decided to call his daughter, Marlene, Rabbit Clan Mother who lives near him. She walked down to his house. He told the story. She was in awe. Glass was everywhere and Turkey Warrior was still walking around the yard looking for his princess girlfriend.
I found out later that it was mating time of year.
Oh, yes! Turkey Warrior saw his reflection in the window.
Now it is two months later and he has not finished his journey. Still comes back to visit and has found his way to Marlene’s house, where he struts his stuff also. In the meantime here comes the Chief with his drum. Sits in a chair and starts drumming. Turkey Warrior and Princess start dancing. They hug, looking like a feather bag. It was obvious they were addicted to the beat of the drum. Turkeys have fed the People of the First Light for many centuries.
Chief Silent Drum looks out his repaired window into the bluest of skies and says, “Oh, well, I do believe that this two-legged creature with wings teaches humans about persistence, the flight of faith and how to have some fun dancing in the circle of life.”
Joan Tavares Avant, M.Ed., is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Wampanoag Deer Clan mother, and a former director of the Mashpee School District’s Indian Education Program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.