At the Northern edge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains is a large lake that is frozen for most of the year. It is called ‘The Great Bear Lake’.
Between the mountains and this lake my family has lived for generations. Sheltered by a thick forest of firtrees, our village has remained untouched by outsiders and invaders through the years. The hard conditions of the very cold, long winters and the harsh countryside has protected our people from the outside world. My family and I think it is the most beautiful, calm, peaceful place on earth.
My family are part of North American Indian tribe called ‘Altitida’. My name is Running Paws. My brothers are Thunder, Lightening and Waterfall. My parents are called Silver Fox and Polar Bear. Our names are decided when we are small children and it is possible to see what our characters are like. When we are babies we are all called ‘Little Ones’.
When I was younger I would always be running after squirrels, wild cats and my brothers. That is why I am called Running Paws. My mother is named Silver Fox because she has black shining hair that glimmers like silver in the moonlight. My mother is really quiet, quick thinking and sleek just like a fox. My father is named Polar Bear because the biggest creature that our people have ever seen are Polar Bears. They are strong and tall just like my father. Polar Bears are very protective of their families and never run away in the face of danger. My father is very brave and valiant too. Not so many years ago Polar Bear, my father, showed he deserved his name.
One long, cold winter’s day my father was out fishing and hunting with the other men and my brother, Thunder. They were out on the ‘Great Bear Lake’, which was frozen. Polar Bear had moved away from the other men when he noticed a huge crack appearing in the ice. Everyone had heard the noise of the men from the city using explosives to find oil. Now look what was happening!
Polar Bear called to the others with his huge voice,
“Get off! Get off, the ice is cracking. It is breaking up!”
The words shot across the iced lake, cutting through the cold air like a bullet, and hit them. The men and Thunder gathered their stuff up and ran. Polar Bear looked up. He gasped. He muttered an old tribal chant to the gods,
“Gwate mandi, Gwate mandi. ”
My people used this when they needed extra strong powers to protect others. Polar Bear chanted louder and louder as he gazed at what was in front on him.
A huge iceberg was heading towards him, but worse the village. It was as large as a small mountain. Bigger cracks were appearing in the ice all the time. The iceberg was moving slowly, smoothly, steadily, getting nearer.
It moved like melting butter off a plate. Polar Bear had to think quickly. He planned his actions carefully. Polar Bear grabbed his huge, strong whaling rope and ran swiftly as a wild cat across the ice. Gently jumping the cracks. When he reached the shore he tied his rope around rocks and trees and then, with out pausing, raced back across he iced lake to the other bank.
This time there were more cracks in the ice and Polar Bear had to be light on his feet as he leapt across the breaking ice dragging the whaling rope behind him. When Polar Bear arrived on the other side he did the same thing. He was panting but did not stop for breath. He quickly tied his strong rope around rocks and trees this side of the lake as well.
The people from the village had come out to watch by this time. They could not believe their eyes as the iceberg was redirected by the whaling rope, away from the village, towards the open sea. I remember how everyone in the village cheered. That is how my father, Polar Bear, who is as brave as any thing, became the Hero and really earned his name.