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Pihtikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker's Escape)

Stan Cuthand

Sakamoteyiniw, son of Poundmaker
Sakamoteyiniw, pictured above and in the December historical column, was the son of Poundmaker. He attended Big Lake School in St. Albert and was known as a good story teller.

It was decided by the Warriors to go on a scouting expedition to the Blackfoot country led by Pihtikwahanapiwiyin. They walked for many days across the vast expanse of the plains, towards the south-easterly direction

Finally, they reached the foothills and saw a large camp, with horses grazing about the teepees and the outer rim of the camp.

Here the Warriors decided to wait in hiding and to rest from their arduous journey.

During the early morning as it became bright enough to distinguish objects such as arrows that might come their way, they quietly rounded up some horses and drove them slowly away from the camp. Riding those they caught, they then fled with speed for home.

During the day, one of the warriors looking back saw at a distance a rider coming over the crest of a hill. Immediately he yelled, "Miyaman anih ki-nawaswatiawinanaw." I believe we are being pursued!' The other warriors looking back saw other riders coming down the hill.

They continued to push on with more haste but the Blackfoot were gaining.

One of the warriors stopped and motioned Pihtikwahanapiwiyin to stop, while the others continued on. Poundmaker and the warrior jumped off their mounts and the warrior took his tobacco pouch; saying; "Look, the Blackfoot are gaining on us rapidly and if they catch us, they will kill us. You must have some knowledge that we can rely on for protection!

Otherwise you would not have brought us here. Here is my pipe for you to point with. Pihtikwahanapiwiyin took the stem to his totem "Oh grandfather you have said that if there is a time I needed you most, to ask for help. Give us protection from those pursuing us. Cover us, hide us for our safety."

Thus Poundmaker quickly held this pipe offering. They mounted their horses and rode in great haste.

Shimmering and dancing across the prairie was a heat wave, distorting images in the distances.

When Poundmaker caught up to the others he told them to ride close together, so that they would appear like a single tree or animal from a distance. The heat waves continued all day and made it easy for them to escape.