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Dream Catcher - The Life of Ernie Pepion



Dream Catcher - The Life of Ernie Pepion
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.69

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    decorative, discrimination, integration, non-Indian, sift, automatic, rancher, spite, wise, series, reservation, therapy, honesty, works, high, joyous
     content words:    Ernie Pepion, Blackfeet Indian, Blacktail Creek, Rocky Mountains, Vietnam War, Native American, Montana State University, Close Yet So Far, Red Man, On January


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Dream Catcher - The Life of Ernie Pepion
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Long ago, a Lakota wise man sat upon a high mountain. He had a vision. A spider appeared to him and wove a web in a willow hoop. The spider used beads, feathers, and horsehair in his web. He told the wise man about the cycles of life. The spider called the web a dream catcher. He said that the web would catch good dreams, but that bad dreams would go through the hole in the center. Today, Indians hang decorative dream catchers above their beds or around their homes to sift through their dreams.
 
2     Ernie Pepion had many dreams. He was born in 1944 in Browning, Montana. He grew up on a Blackfeet Indian reservation. He also went to a non-Indian school. He loved to ride his horse at dawn along the Blacktail Creek. He loved the beautiful Rocky Mountains. He worked as a rancher and a rodeo rider. He later served in the Vietnam War.
 
3     Ernie's dreams changed in 1971. A car accident made him a quadriplegic. He lost the use of his arms and legs. He could still speak and move one of his hands. He recovered in a veteran's hospital in California. Ernie felt that his dreams were lost forever. He had to learn how to feed himself and how to use a wheelchair. One day, he met another veteran on an iron lung who could only live for one hour a day off the machine. During that one hour, the man would paint. Ernie wanted to learn, too.

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