Alan Fletcher – Sioux Me: Stories from the Reservation

Alan Fletcher was a Family Doctor/Surgeon on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana from 1962 to 1966. Sioux Me is a collection of stories about his experiences during that time, mainly with the Sioux Indians.

One day at the end of morning rounds, Betty asked me to check on an old Indian lady in the nursing home.

“What’s wrong with her?” I asked.

“Oh, you go in there and she’ll tell you.” Betty said with a straight face.

So I breezed into the room, putting on my best cheerful and professional manner and said, “Well now, old friend, what seems to be the problem?”

She looked at me carefully for a long time, as if deciding whether or not to talk to this condescending youngster, and then answered slowly, in a firm clear voice, “I’m going to die tonight.”

That was the last thing I expected to hear, and it rocked me back on my heels for a moment.

“Why do you say that?” I asked in a less breezy tone. She answered deliberately, as if talking kindly to a child, “Because the three people in white came to see me last night, and they said I must go with them tonight, so I have time to say goodbye to my friends today. ”

She did not seem agitated or disturbed, just calmly resigned and matter of fact.

I turned to Betty, who seemed as undisturbed as the old lady, and said “Old people often get confused at night, especially if they are not in their own homes. I expect it was some nurse in white who was checking her during the night. ”

“I expect that’s what it was, doctor.” she agreed without much conviction.

In any case, I was sufficiently rattled that I gave the old lady a thorough examination including an E.K.G which was normal except for a mild bundle branch block, not an unusual tracing for her age.

“Just a bad dream, Grandma,” I said.

She looked at me and said nothing, but simply smiled at me with an endearing lack of teeth. In the middle of the night, I received a phone call. The old lady had died peacefully in her sleep. Next morning, when I saw Betty, she smiled knowingly at me.

“You’ve seen this before, haven’t you?” I asked her.

She acknowledged that she had.

“Why didn’t you tell me about it then?” I asked.

“Because I knew you would laugh at me, until you saw it for yourself” she said.

Over the following years, I had almost identical experiences which involved the people in white appearing to Indian patients

I am not a skeptic anymore.

See it at Amazon.com

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