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There were machines beside my bed. They were beeping and making weird noises. I had a headache and a side ache and an arm ache. But I couldn’t feel my left leg.
Slowly I looked around the room. There was Mom asleep in a chair next to the bed.
“Mom? Mom, what happened?” She woke up and looked at me.
“Oh, Jason. I’m so glad you’re awake. Don’t try to talk. I’ll call the doctor to come check you.”
“What happened to me?”
“Don’t you remember? You were in a terrible car wreck. Two days ago.” As Mom left to find the doctor, the images of the accident flooded back into my mind.
After a bad car accident, Jason is left with one paralyzed leg. He’s lucky to have survived, but he’s not sure he can handle life confined to a wheelchair. Even when he was protecting his mom and siblings from his drunken father, or escaping from home to be with his friends, he never imagined having to deal with anything like this.
Now Jason sees himself only as someone who will always be paralyzed, but when he becomes part of the Raven Canoe Family and learns to “pull” a canoe, his outlook on life begins to change.
Gary Robinson is a writer and filmmaker of Cherokee and Choctaw descent. He has spent 25 years working with American Indian communities to tell the stories of Native people. His previous works include From Warriors to Soldiers and The Language of Victory. He lives in rural central California.