The Power (Story by Risa Peris)

And then they laughed at me. A goddess. The children were very cruel. They cared nothing about gods and goddesses.

“I’m not going back,” I told grandmother who was a queen.

“You will. Learn the white man’s ways. Learn the language. You are a goddess. A long lineage.” She stirred a pot of fish and broth.

I went back to school. The children made fun of me again.

“I’m a goddess,” I said.

“You’re a loser,” they said.

I held fast. No one was going to derail my heritage. “There are no losers in my family.”

Outside the snow shivered and the school, built to resemble whale fat, quivered. There were very few windows but I know the parents peaked in the two windows. I saw my mama.

I fled into her arms. “Mama, am I a goddess?”

Mother nodded. “Of course you are. Grandma tells me all the time.”

And so I was. A goddess. I prayed on the shore and the land and caribou and fish were plentiful.

“Grandma, I have powers.” She was shrinking underneath blankets.

“Of course you do. You have powers if you believe. But be careful…”

The teasing continued at school. Other students joined.

“I will make sure your family has no meat.”

The children scoffed. Crazy. But I prayed at the ocean edge and no family was able to hunt or fish.

“Treat me kindly,” said I to my school. No one made fun of me after that. No one even looked at me. That was difficult. I wanted a friend. But when you have the power you have no friends. Choose your path in life carefully.


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