Haw Kola
  • Published: 2020-07-01
  • ISBN 10: 9781733425735
  • Language: English
  • Length: 86 pages

Haw Kola

Indian Summer

Written By: @EsteeKessler


How many times did you roll your eyes when your mom or dad said,

“What goes around comes around?” …  until it did?

Haw Kola, a Lakota Fall is a story of 1860 Minnesota. The book deals with hot button topics they faced then which still are facing us in the twenty-first century. Related from a teenager’s viewpoint, the story describes the experience of one family of Minnesota settlers who became friends with a nearby Lakota village. The book touches on racial prejudice, minority profiling, bullying, victimization, and the special friendship between teens living in different cultures. When the greed of the local Indian agent who decides to line his pockets instead of providing the food and provisions promised in the treaty causes an uprising, the local Lakota chief comes to the family farm to warn them they needed to go to the white man’s fort.

Haw Kola, a Sioux greeting for “Hello, my friend,” is a morality tale for Middle and High School age readers illustrates difficult concepts in an age appropriate fashion.  Karma in pioneer days.


The day began murky, lit only by the thin light of dawn. Then a rap-rap-rap on the door resonated over-loud in the early morning stillness.

“Who might that be?” Papa asked, sitting up in bed. “We rarely have visitors this early except during harvest and that’s still several weeks away.”

“The only way to find out is to go to the door,” Hilda, the ever-practical-one replied.

Emil grunted, but heaved himself up and headed down the stairs. Halfway down, he heard footsteps behind him following.

“Morning, Papa,” said Heinrich.

Emil continued down and opened the door to the last person he expected to see. Wamdisapa and two of his warriors.

“Hau, my friend,” he told the chief. Craning his head to spot the others in the band, Emil continued the formal greeting. “Have you eaten?”

“I have not nor can I now. I come to warn you, my friend. You must leave and go to a safe place—the white man’s fort would be best. War is coming and members of my tribe and their allies will attack at nightfall. Go now and turn your team neither right nor left until you reach your destination. Others besides myself may be watching. Take as much with you as your wagon will hold, tie some of your animals behind if you can.”

“Why are they going to war?”

“What the great father of the white men does not deliver, they intend to take. I do not want you and yours captured and turned into slaves for the tribe, or in any way be hurt or killed.”

“You are a true friend. Thank you for warning us.”

“You have proven yourself a friend worth warning many times over,” the Lakota replied.

Wamdisapa half-bowed and put his hand on his chest. Emil returned the bow and gesture. The Lakotas slipped back into the obscurity of the frail light and disappeared from view.

“Come, boys. Wake your sister. We must hitch the oxen and load the wagon. Schnell!”

Heinrich woke Herman and Emma.

As soon as she heard the reason for haste, Mama organized the clothes and jars of canned food to take to the wagon She was Thankful Herman was still living with the family and in town snowed in. Papa and Herman led the two oxen from the barn while Heinrich pulled a crate big enough to hold half-dozen hens, which he took to the wagon. They would need eggs.

Emil turned to Herman, “Bring that short trough to the wagon. We can use it to water the cows— I'll tie them to the tailgate. The two returned to the barn. Emil retrieved two milk cows, which he tethered to the back rail of the wagon. Herman trailed him, balancing the long tin trough in both arms.

Meanwhile, Mama had Emma carrying the lighter bundles while she took the jars and cook pans. When they reached the wagon, her face split in a huge grin when she saw her husband had found the bows, which formed the framework of the hoop holding up the top of the cloth wagon cover. He and Herman toted to heavy metal arcs to the wagon and fixed them tight, tying the fabric to the bows in intervals. Between them then raised the canvas, important for a long journey in the hot summer sun. Heinrich and Herman filled a water barrel and carted it to the back of the wagon using a handcart.

While Mama was taking an inventory – matches, lamps, candles, soap, tea, coffee and blankets to use at night, Emma and Heinrich ran off to the garden to pick what might be ripe. Snapping her fingers, she exclaimed, “I forgot something.”

“This will have to do, Mama,” Emil said. “We’re near midday already and Wamdisapa said the attack would come tonight. We must be as far as we can before darkness falls. The journey to St Cloud is at least two days--lucky for us, days are long at this time of year.”

“Come on boys, Emma. Time to go. Emma, you get up on the bench of the wagon with me. Herman and Heinrich, you two ride double and stay close to the cows to keep them calm. They are no good to us if they slip their tethers and bolt.”

Emil mounted the other horse they were taking with them and picked up the rein of the oxen. Better for the oxen be on lead until they were far enough away to safely respond to commands from the reins. He stood back, viewing the load, checking for balance.  They were ready to go until Mama jumped off the wagon and ran back into the house. The boys looked at each other and Herman asked Emil, “Why’d she go back in?”

His answer came when she came back out carrying a silver teapot and an ornate gravy ladle. “These belonged to my mother. I couldn’t bear it if anyone stole or destroyed them. After all, we brought them this far.” The tone in her voice seemed to ask if it were okay.

“Good thinking, Hilda. We can’t abandon our heritage,” Emil said to reassure her.

He chucked at the team of oxen and took hold of their yoke. With the heavy wood crossbar in hand, he set off to the northeast for St. Cloud and safety.

 Emil’s urge to hurry was palpable. He understood the consequence if they failed to reach the fort in time.