An old farmer. The bags under his eyes grow heavier with each day. Although they are aged and tired, they still linger on that tower. He grits his teeth to hold back tears, expletives, cries of desperation. He thought there was a purpose to giving up everything he had. But now they’ve turned their backs on him.

A Ho-Chunk woman. Her eyes are piercing. She is not afraid of these men, but she knows she should be. They take and take and take so greedily, like starved wolves desperate for food. They want overabundance. The abuse the land, they abuse her, and she can do nothing. This will be the last time she sees her home.

A young child. Her eyes are closed in delight, a smile on her face. When they open, the ripples on the water catch her attention. She splashes down further on to the riverbank, following the path of the brown trout that glides through the Kickapoo. Far off, a goose calls, and she turns her head to search for its camouflaged body.

The concept of historical connection can be applied more broadly to the world at large. As humans, we tend to want to distance ourselves from history, viewing it as one straight timeline with its endpoint at today. But history is not that simple, nor that subjective. Rather than a streamlined list of events, history is a tapestry created by the interweaving of stories, moments, and memories. History, at its core, is personal. It’s about the ways that people interacted with each other and the world.

ERIN GUOKAS

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