When they started to arrive from the sea, shooting fire from their hands, my tribe thought they were aliens, even if this word didn’t exist in our language. We believed they were creatures different from us, magic creatures. The rumour of the arrival of these creatures, who came to conquer us and to destroy our houses, was spread around all the tribes. We didn’t have a proper communication system between one zone and another but it was like the Apocalypse was about to arrive and everything changed.
Every single day whole families would come to ask for housing and protection. Their faces were worn away by many days of travelling and they talked about these pale skinned men, we imagined them greyish or at least this is how we used to draw them. They used to go around covered in cloths from which they could create bursts of fire to kill our brothers. They spoke a weird language and each of us used to imitate them in various ways because even the conquerors spoke different languages. Some of them seemed to have no soul, those who spoke a hissing language, like snakes. They rode their big horses while throwing incandescent beams in every direction. They bought with them other creatures who looked alike us but had darker skin. Those were slaves , even though in our tribes this word didn’t exist. They built houses one on top of another, robust and solid as if they weren’t ever going to move again.
A boy reached our encampment running, as if he hadn’t stopped for days. He was out of breath, wounds everywhere, he couldn’t breath and the abrasions caused by the sun were constantly bleeding. He was only able to say ‘they are coming!!’ before fainting in the brothers’ arms who bought him to rest in the shaman’s tent. We had to decide what to do next, if to escape or stay to defend our land. My grandfather was the chief of the tribe and there was, as usual, a small gathering in which everybody could take part but everybody had to gain a certain level of rights for their word to be respected. Many of the tribe people wanted to abandon the land; we all knew that. Especially those ones who had already lost their tribe and arrived there asking for refuge. They couldn’t deal with another defeat. Another massacre just under their eyes. They then decided that everyone could be free to make a decision, the ones who wanted to defend the land could have stayed there to do so and all of the ones who didn’t want to face the enemy could face the desert instead, looking for friends and refuges; they said that towards the West and towards the mountains there were some safe places at the moment. The shaman would have guided this group. Both my Mother and Father with my elder Brother decided to stay and defend our land. I was too little to make a decision and for this reason I was told to go with the shaman towards the West. I was saved.
Now I live in the Hopi Reservation with the other brothers who survived the Apocalypse. Now I know it wasn’t an apocalypse and that those men weren’t different creatures that spit fire from their cloths. Now I have a wife and two beautiful children. We don’t play cowboys and before watching Western films I had to explain to them that that is our story told by the men who killed their grandfather, grandmother and uncle.
Now I’m happy because I’ve got the love of my family, a quite life and a land that I would defend with my own life. Now, I’ve learnt to forgive and that peace is most important than anything else. I teach my children to remember. To remember that this land is ours and we always have to defend it; we are the survivors of the Apocalypse.