Paints of Peace


“Dance well.” I stroke my fingers across my son’s cheeks, drawing symbols to praise the creator. “Please the gods and praise their creation.” The white paint of peace applied, I clean my fingers then swirl them in a blue paint made of crushed berries and buffalo fat.  This will remain smooth through the day while the white clay cracks and falls. I hope my paints strengthen him throughout the ceremony.

“It is excellent, mother.” My son in his ceremonial clothing exits the tent.

A white soldier frowns and, through the translator, growls, “Why are you painted up for war?”


This was written for the June 27th Carrot Ranch Prompt, paints. What I was going for here was the misconception/falsehood that native Americans used paint only for war. How many times, do you think, white people used that as an excuse to perform evil? I shudder to think.

I would credit the photo, but it technically isn’t required and the username was… well, it wasn’t very nice, haha!

13 thoughts on “Paints of Peace

  1. Jules says:

    While I am not sure where the tradition of a virgin bride wearing white comes from – I believe in some Asian countries white is a color for death. It is always good to read up on customs when going to another country. But in early history sadly most ‘conquers’ didn’t care what the (or any) native traditions were. It didn’t matter who was there first ‘conquers’ only wanted the best for themselves thinking they had the right to claim what anyone else possessed.

    I enjoyed this historical flash. 🙂

  2. Charli Mills says:

    What a powerful story, H.R.R. The dehumanizing or demonizing of others often leads to the justification of evil acts. How heartbreaking, from this perspective, a mother’s pride and plea for peace perverted into painting up her son for war.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Thank you for your comment. I thought the perspective of the mother was good as well – I thought it made the accusation from the soldier all the more heartbreaking, because now she has to worry if her actions are going to get her baby killed.

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