A twelve-year-old orphan with faraway friends and unkind relatives, Ashkii must depend upon himself for survival. Though Ashkii provides food for his aunt and cousins, his cruel aunt rewards him for his work with ridicule and scraps from the hunt.
To survive, Ashkii remembers the stories his grandfather had told him about the years of hardship at Fort Sumner. "A small cup of grease soup was all we were given for food. When the soldiers ate, we had a chance to repair our shoes, gather 'azhíí: juniper bark to place inside our moccasins to cushion our feet. By the time we arrived at Hwééldi, our moccasins were tattered and in need of repair." These memories provide the strength and courage Ashkii needs for his journey into manhood.
Bilingual: Navajo and English