Pawâkan Macbeth Synopsis

PAWÂKAN MACBETH by Reneltta Arluk

  • Set in 1870ish on the Plains of Alberta.
  • The Cree are at war with the Blackfoot and the Canadian Government

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Characters in order of appearance:

  • Young Macikosisân – Meets Wihtiko during his coming of age ceremony.
  • Macikosisân – A great Okihcitâw (Warrior). Is taken over by Wihtiko as an adult.
  • W – Wihtiko.
  • Enemy Warriors – Voiceless and strong.
  • Kâwanihot Iskwew – Found by Macikosisân’s family as a girl. Now pregnant.
  • Wiyôyôwakak – Coyote Howlers. Tricksters.
  • Okimâw Wîpastim – Chief of the Plains Cree Nation.
  • Kihcîkosisân – Son to Okimâw Wîpastim.
  • Otepwestamâkew – Serves the Okimâw as a Caller.
  • Asinîwipwât Warrior – Ally to the Cree Nations.
  • Kîmôcâpiw – A Sihkos (Weasel). Cousin to Macikosisân. Ally to everyone.
  • Môsâpew – Best friend to Macikosisân. A great Okihcitâw (Warrior).
  • Plains Cree Women – Kâwanihot Iskwew’s friends.
  • Iyinîsit – Young son of Môsâpew.
  • Maskwa – A great Okihcitâw (Warrior) from the Sakāwîyiniwak, in the North.
  • Guest – Guest of Macikosisân’s celebration feast. Can be a Wiyôyôwak.
  • Singer – Singer at Macikosisân’s celebration feast. Can be a Wiyôyôwak.
  • First Apparition – Warns Macikosisân of Maskwa.
  • Second Apparition – Tells Macikosisân none of women born can harm him.
  • Third Apparition – Tells M he will be undefeated ’til men rise from traceless tracks.
  • Maskwa Iskwew– Solo parenting at Sakāwîyiniwak’s camp.
  • Maskwakosisân – Clever child of Maskwa and Iskwew Maskwa.
  • Nakoda Ally – Tîpî Witness of Kihcîkosisân and Maskwa’s meeting.
  • Larocque – Métis Ally Rebel.
  • Bostonais – French Métis Ally Rebel.
  • Desjarlais – French Métis Ally Rebel.
  • Woman Caring for Kâwanihot Iskwew – One of her friends.
  • K’eskore – Female Warrior Rebel.
  • Nakoda Warrior – Joins Alliance to fight Macikosisân.
  • Oskâpew – A Young Male Warrior.

Pawâkan Macbeth – A brief synopsis

Three Wiyôyôwakak plan a meeting with the Cree warrior Okihcitâw Macikosisân, who is fighting in a great battle against invading nations. After winning the battle, Macikosisân and his friend Môsâpew encounter the Wiyôyôwakakes. They offer them three prophecies: that Macikosisân will become war chief, then an Okimâw (leader) of the Cree, and that Môsâpew’s descendants will become Okimâws.

Môsâpew laughs at the prophecies until Okimâw Wîpastim names Macikosisân his new war chief, in return for his bravery. Then Wîpastim announces that his son Kihcîkosisân will succeed him as Okimâw. Upon hearing that the second prophecy has been thwarted, Macikosisân becomes greedy. Wîpastim announces that he, his son and his entire camp will visit Macikosisân’s camp to celebrate Macikosisân’s new position. Macikosisân rides ahead to tell his pregnant wife Kâwanihot Iskwew all the news. Upon hearing the prophecies, she becomes greedy, decides that Wîpastim must die, and invokes evil spirits to help her. Macikosisân agrees to kill Wîpastim, and frame on his son for the murder. Macikosisân kills Wîpastim in his sleep after the feast, but Kihcîkosisân escapes, fleeing to safety in Nakota territory. Macikosisân is made Okimâw and the second prophesy is fulfilled.

Macikosisân begins to fear the third prophecy. To thwart it, he plots to kill Môsâpew and his son Iyinîsit. He ambushes them, but Kâ Iyinîsit escapes. At feast that night, Macikosisân is haunted by Wîpastim’s and Môsâpew’s ghosts. Fearing his future, Macikosisân finds the Wiyôyôwakak, demanding more prophecies, and medicine to ensure his child is a son. When they seem to oblige, he gets ruthlessly confident. He wipes out the family of Okihcitâw Maskwa, a rival who Wîpastim greatly respected when Maskwa goes to Nakota territory to visit Kihcîkosisân. Macikosisân ruthlessness turns against him as but one by one the Wiyôyôwaks’ prophecies turn out differently than he expects. The Wiyôyôwak medicine changes Kâwanihot Iskwew, who dies. A Metís force who have also suffered under Macikosisân’s tyranny and join with Kihcîkosisân and Maskwa, who are leading 1000 Nakota warriors to march on Macikosisân’s camp. Macikosisân is killed and Malcolm is named Okimâw of the Plains Cree.