An old man reflects on his life, a long and varied past that has conferred many titles upon him: bound boy, white chief, senator and colonel. Will Cooper's life is indeed long; so is his telling of it. There were moments when I thought I would never finish this book. Yet the relief I expected to feel was replaced by a sense of loss; a lost man, a lost love, a lost people and a way of life, forever gone.
I looked into the bright fire and the darkness and talked in a low voice so everyone had to pay attention to hear. In good plain Cherokee I said, Now, I reckon people can make up their own minds without another windy speech. All I've ever wanted was for our people to have as free a choice about where's home as anybody else in this world. Live where you want to live. Stay or go. I leaned back into the dark as signal that I was done. My hands and face went black.