Season 4, Episode 1: “The Story of Little Bird, with Author, Mary Ruth Barnes (Chickasaw)”

“I tossed my hair, my braids glowing in the sunlight. I walked my horse forward, recalling Papa’s words, often said in a most authoritative tone. ‘Get off that pony and walk in the wildflowers, Little Bird. Touch the flowers and feel their petals. They are soft, like feathers. Touch the bark of the trees. Their bark runs in circles, like our lives. The tree grows roots and spreads leaves over the earth. The lines of the bark tell many stories of our ancestors. It is a time for you to remember and enjoy the beauties of God’s land. Get off your horse, Little Bird.’ I would be mesmerized by his words. I looked up to see my three favorite crows on a branch above. They took off, leading the way home. Their feathers glistened in the sun, like my hair.”

In today’s episode, you’ll hear the true story of Esther McLish, told by Chickasaw/Choctaw/Cherokee Author, Mary Ruth Barnes from her award-winning book, “Little Bird”. I was so intrigued by this story that I stayed up nearly all night to finish it – it truly is a must-read!

Check out this beautiful Little Bird trailer:

You’ll hear about Esther’s relationship with the crows that always seemed to have a message for her, the encounters with the Comanches who lived in Reck, how Esther would travel multiple times to challenge the Dawes Commission, and her heartbreaking journey of much loss, while maintaining her enduring strength and spirit.

Mary Ruth also shares with us the story of the pecan trees on her property, what Chihawa lowa means, and the inside scoop of her ancestral stories.

“In the light of the moon our silent ancestors walked, moving among us, giving us hope and truth. The truth of their ancient promise is not made with their words, but with the lives of those who have experienced the past. Please keep researching.” Those were Mary Ruth’s beautiful words at the end of our visit, and I couldn’t agree more.

Rumor also has it there’s a sequel coming out, so as for me, I’ll be ready for another all-nighter to read more about Esther’s life! Check out “Little Bird” at:

Chickasaw Press:


And at First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City!

Mary Ruth’s Website:

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Native ChocTalk Facebook page:

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