Délıne | Where The Water Flows

Breaking Twigs


As told by Johnny Neyelle, Délįne Elder

Long ago, the elders spoke on all issues. Setá (my father) taught us well. He died while I was in Wrigley attending school. He left a message for me with a woman back home. He told her, Setúe (my daughter), “although young Johnny is away among strange people I am not in the least worried about him, for I am very pleased about how he takes care of himself “. I have often wondered about Setá’s message. I was his favorite, but he was at peace even in my absence. This is because the elders of long ago knew about the qualities of a young man the instant they heard him speak. They would also be able to judge him by how he clothes himself, and his work habits. A young man’s betá, or possibly an elder, would follow on his trail and look at the signs of his bush skills. This way, they could predict his future. At the time, I didn’t own a house yet. I was but a young man with not a worry in the world. Setá used to say, “Seya (my son), listen when someone is talking. Look at his mouth, and take an interest in learning. This is how you get knowledge.” And he said of someone who doesn’t listen, who doesn’t want to learn anything, that he will be prone to make mistakes, like breaking twigs and scaring the game away.