Moving — Today v. American Indian Style and Free Give-Away


Welcome to another Tuesday and another free give-away.  Today I’ll be giving away a free e-book copy of BLACK EAGLE.  Please do review the Give-away Guidelines on the front page.  They’re pretty simple, but please remember that unlike some other sites, we don’t necessarily contact you when you are a winner.  We hope that you’ll come back in a few days to see if you won, and if you did, that you contact us (or me as the case may be) personally.  So please do check back.

The above is a painting by George Catlin of an Indian encampment on the move.  Because my family has been in the act of moving (my children as well as my husband and me), I thought I might point out some differences — some are pretty obvious — and some likenesses.

We’ve all done it or will do it in the future — moving from one place to another.  To my mind it is never fun and it includes boxing up everything, and then unboxing it as soon as one is “settled.”  So let’s compare:

1)  Boxing things up:  Today (me and husband) — about one month — perhaps a little longer.

1a)  Boxing things up,  American Indian Style:  getting one’s possessions ready to go:  Approximately 3-4 hours.

2)  Mode of transportation:  Today (me and husband as well as my daughters), trucks — in addition to hiring a moving company, which cost can be a little outrageous.

2a) Mode of transportation, American Indian Style: the travois, as pictured above.  The cost?  A horse — usually the family owned at least one horse, and if not a horse, then a trusted dog (hopefully a rather large dog).

3) Time to unpack:  Today — gee whiz, we’re still unpacking boxes after six (6) months.  Goodness!

3a)  Time to unpack, American Indian Style:  In addition to unpacking one’s possessions, one also needed to raise the tepee.  Time requirement to do all the above:  a few hours.

Before we go too much farther, let’s define a travois.  According to,  travois is defined as:

noun, plural travois (truh-voiz)

“A transport device, formerly used by the Plains Indians, consisting of two poles joined by a frame and drawn by an animal.”

So that bring me to my next comparison,

4)  Duties:  Who does what?  Today — moving furniture (either the man of the family or the moving company, composed usually of men.  Yes, it’s true that I helped move some of the furniture, but my help was minimal, I’m afraid.  My husband may not weigh more than 20-30 pounds more than I do, but he is very much stronger that I am.  So what were my contributions?  Unpacking those boxes and determining where everything went (of course my husband helped with this, too).  Time involved:  Days –sometimes weeks.  In fact, much to my dismay, I’m still involved in this.

4a)  Duties:  Who does what?  American Indian — the men cut the poles for the travois and helped to attach them to the horses.  The men then gathered up any of their means of protecting the camp (guns, bows and arrows, knives, etc.), and prepared to guard the entire camp on the march.  Some men would go in front, leading the way, some would take up the rear, protecting the camp from that direction, and others would directly flank the camp as it moved, protecting it from that position.

The women?  The women were responsible for taking down the tepee and setting it up again, gathering up all the family’s possessions and getting them ready to go.  They were also responsible fore erecting the tepee once their new camping place was established and setting up the tepee for living.  Time involved:  A few hours at the most.

I once read an account from George Catlin of an Indian encampment on the move.  He was utterly amazed at the quickness by which it could be done.  Word that the camp was on the move was made in the morning, and by noon, the entire camp was taken down, all the women, children, dogs and horses were on the move.  Scouts and others would erase all traces of the camp so that one couldn’t detect easily that there had once been an encampment there.  But he was even more amazed at how quickly the camp was set up — within a matter of hours.  He said even the best drilled army couldn’t have done it in as organized a fashion, let alone within hours.As another comparison, once, at a rodeo in Blackfeet Country, I saw a contest between contestants to set up and take down a camp in as little time as possible.  I watched as each of the contestants set up the tepees and other articles and took it all down — within minutes.  Of course, this was a contest and a rodeo and so it doesn’t compare with moving an entire camp, but nevertheless, I was impressed.
Oh, moving woes.  I am in the midst of them and moving is NOT my favorite thing to do.  So, if you feel so inclined, please come on in and tell me about your own moving stories — I bet we each one have at least one.  I’d love to hear them.




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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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38 thoughts on “Moving — Today v. American Indian Style and Free Give-Away”

  1. I swear every time I’ve moved I’ve had just a little bit more stuff than before. This is one of the reasons why I’m always looking at my stuff thinking “do I really still need that thing or should I repurpose it, sell it or take it to Red Cross flea market? Do I still read that book and if I do, could replace it with an ebook?”

    • Gosh, that’s so wise, Minna, and something I admit that I don’t do. Like you, however, I have noticed that each time I move, I have more and more things to move. : )

  2. What a great comparison. We have certainly complicated our lives. I was an Army brat as a child and we moved a lot.

    • That’s right. My Goddaughter has moved a lot, and watching her move, I was impressed. It did, however, take more than a few hours — but certainly she was more organized than I am when I have to move. And I noted that she threw a lot of things away — or gave them away. : )

  3. I really only dealt with moving once back when I was with my ex and we bought a new house. When we divorced, we pretty much just sold everything so neither of us had to do much moving. Everything I took with me could be moved in my car during a couple trips.

    • Hi Janine!

      Actually when my ex and I divorced, I, too, was able to gather up all my things and put them in a car — a single load. It wasn’t a good move, however. Amazingly, I don’t find moving very easy. : )

  4. The thought of moving makes me shudder. Thank goodness, I haven’t had to make many moves in my lifetime.

  5. I love moving, especially to somewhere completely new. Different places, different people, new challenges, and the process of making a house a home, love it! I’m hoping to be in the position to move late this year, and I’m looking forward to it, I have been in the area I am for 7 years a couple of little moves but not a big one since I first turned up here, unfortunately this area alienates me from a lot of my older family, so a move closer is on the cards and I can’t wait. Although I have already started packing up bits and pieces, I don’t want to get carried away too much, as I’ll end up unpacking things looking for something.

    • Hi Vickie!

      Wow, this is great. I used to be in Real Estate long ago, and I remember working with people who also loved to move. Interestingly, as much as I dislike moving, I sure have done a lot of it — and have lived in many different places all over the US. My heart, I must admit, is in the West, although I no longer live there. But there are some things more precious than being in an area that one loves — and so here I am… : )

  6. I move about every two years when I was a kid. My father could never stay in the same place for very long. After I married I have only moved once thank goodness. I never wanted my kids to have to switch schools all the time. I can see why the tiny home movement is so big, a person can move from place to place more easily. Plus it would be much cheaper.

  7. You know, Rebekah, there’s another reason why I like the tiny home…so much less to clean. : )

    Every time I see a big home with only one family in it, I can’t help but think, gee whiz, who’s gonna clean that thing from week to week? You’d have to be a billionaire just to hire someone to clean it and keep the yard up, and that’s something I have never wanted to be — a billionaire… I think money can (not always) but can ruin a person. My opinion.

    • Rebekah, am not sure, but I think that you might have answered this. I thought I saw another email from you on this, but then it was gone and I couldn’t find it — if you had something else to say, please let me know. : )

  8. Oooohhh, I love this comparison! Very interesting and eye opening. I’ve moved. A LOT. I don’t like the packing up part, but I love the actual move and new adventure! I hate endings, but love new beginnings…

    New place, new beginning, the chance to start fresh…and I LOVE unpacking, getting to see all the things that made the cut (I always get rid of things I don’t want to move, but I only think that comes from the numerous moves and unpacking things I don’t like!) I love fixing, organizing and redecorating a new place. And I love being organized…which only happens when I first move into a new place…I have to work on that one!

  9. I am NOT an organized person. We have moved 5 times so far. My husband doesn’t believe in throwing thing out. Needless to say the cost of moving has been LARGE! I believe we are in our last home. Health problems grow with the aging process. I have recently developed a system: whenever one of our kids shows up I make sure they take something they want or can use home when they leave. We gave two bedrooms worth of furniture to our grandchildren. Another bedroom’s furniture was recycled. When the children (50+ years) visit they bring air mattresses. They are VERY slowly helping to empty the house. I also make sure any packed boxes (left from
    previous moves) are taken one at a time(Did I say NOT organized?) They get a surprise when they get home and I am rid of one more box. Believe it or not the house seems fuller though we are not buying much of anything. Books rule! I AM trying!

    • Hi Whitney!

      What a good idea — to give things to the children and grandchildren. Problem with me, however, is that I’ve moved so much, many of those things I still have — they don’t want.

      I love the idea, however. I have to think on it. : )

  10. Hi Karen,
    Very interesting comparison about moving! I am with you on a smaller house. We thought for a brief moment or two about buying a larger home at one time, but when I considered the upkeep, I just shuddered. I am trying so hard to clear things out of our house now. Moving would probably be a blessing in disguise to get it done. I just know that having clutter around and too many things to dust just makes me feel weighted down.

  11. Hi Kathryn!

    Me, too. Having too many things around that have to be dusted and cleaned continually, is a little daunting. So, like you, I like the smaller homes. Sometimes my kids admire these large homes, and my response is almost always — great, but who’s going to clean it? : )

  12. I will never forget the day my husband and I moved from our house to an apt. It snowed, the movers never showed up and my family had to borrow a truck and move the heavy stuff; the neighbor’s dog kept running in and out of the open door; the people we rented our house to decided to move in 2 days early, while we were trying to move out. It was one of the worst experiences I can remember.

    • Oh, my gosh. What a nightmare that must have been. Interesting that the movers didn’t show up — was it the snow? You’d think they’d at least have called…something…

      Must admit my moves haven’t been nightmares, but just the same, I don’t like moving. There was once a time when a landlord was going to sell the house we were living in. I so disliked moving, that I decided to try to buy the house — my husband agreed and we did end up buying it. : )

  13. We live in a large, old, rambling style farmhouse that now has quite a few rooms closed off since we just don’t use them. However, the house is on 3.3 acres in the country which I love as well as all of the critters we have on the back of the property. I wish we had a small cabin on the back of our land.

    As for moving, we’ve been here 30+ years, so we have way too much stuff. We started a campaign to start getting rid of things but it surely will take a while. When we moved from an apartment long ago I had two bookcases, with double rows of books. Now I have seven bookcases plus a book room with at least 75 plus–yep, 75–boxes of books.(In order and labeled to find things easily.) Many I’ve read of course, but I also have many I haven’t read yet (like a whole box of Jo Beverley, for instance) and many lovely collectible books. (Beside buying new releases, I managed a charity bookstore for a hospital at one time, and many books come from there–cheap buys or books headed for the dumpster.) So moving? It would be mostly about all of those books to deal with one way or another.

    Now if that weren’t enough, here’s the kicker. I lost my mom a year ago, and she lived in her own apartment within our house, and I have all of her lifetime belongings as well–including books! I’ve made some forays into getting rid of her stuff-like things, but it’s a slow and painful process for me. I hope with time it will get easier.

    Funny but for all the stuff accumulated over the years, now we get just the basics we need, living a very much simpler lifestyle. But stuck with stuff from the past.

    I wonder how any teepees it would take just to house my books?! lol

  14. Hi Eliza!

    I must admit that I, too, am guilty of having too many books. Someone once suggested I get rid of some of them. I’m afraid I can’t. Many are research — many are books one can’t find anymore and I can’t bring myself to part with them. In truth, the main thing left for me to unpack is our books. But I’m not sure I could really part with any one of them.

    Books are special — I know my God daughter told me that she transferred many of her books and photos to her iphone — and so she threw away the hard copies. Not so me. I love those hard copies — and what if something ever happened to knock down the grid — I’d miss all my books.

    But I also understand someone wanting to get rid of things they don’t need and consider old or not necessary. But photos and books for me are not in that category. : )

  15. Hi karen. Love your stories. Always amazes me how fast they are on the move. But, they don’t have nearly the amount of stuffs we all have. And I agree stuff sure accumulates. hardest move4 I have had was the last. My hubby was dying so wanted to move about 12 hours away. He was unable to help so was very hard trying to sort the lot of STUFF he had. My oldest daughter from Houston came and stayed a mo. helping me pack. Then we had an auction to get rid of the rest. Also sold our trailer and bought another when we arrived to Pasadena, TX. Also was rushed at the last day cause my husband was rushing to leave the very next morning after the sale. Not an easy thing to do for really need to have all your attention on the sale. Then had a hard time finding a mobile home that would take an older trailer. Olus trying to find an older one that was cheap as the money we had. Wello to make an older story short GOD finally helped us find one in a park for sale for the money we had. Only reason are could get this older one was because it was already in the park, cause they only wanted those no older than 4 years old. Would love to win your book. By the way my son said if I ever moved again I couldn’t take my books. HA!
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    • Hi Maxie!

      Wow, that’s quite a story, and a move. We had to sell our motor home, also, and that’s a whole ‘nother tale. But finally we made the move — my daughters also have made the move — they are still — after about a month — trying to settle in — there was so much that didn’t work in their new house, they are still in the midst of fixing. One thing after another, I’m afraid. But there you go — I guess moves are good for getting rid of things one doesn’t use and doesn’t need anymore. : )

  16. 12 yrs ago we sold or gave away everything we didn’t need in the mission field. I may have been a bit hasty with heart items… Still now I’ll think, we still have too much stuff!

  17. Yes, Melody, we did the same when we moved. We sold and gave away things — mostly we gave away things — all of our furniture except for a very few items. All went — too costly to move them across the country. Cheaper to move and then buy them again where you move to. Truly. We did the cost analysis. Still, though, I have some unpacking to do — mostly books and clothes at this point — eventually I’ll find all of my own books that I use for give-aways. They are still packed away, too, except for a very few. Thanks for the comment.

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