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The Little People of Oklahoma

BY GALEN PROSE

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Not many people have heard of the "Little People" before, because most know them by the names of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti or Skunk Ape. But where I come from, we call them the Little People. I am from the Caddo tribe, and the governmental headquarters for the Caddo Nation are located at the Binger Y, which is about halfway between Anadarko and Binger, Oklahoma. The encounters with Little People my family and I have had took place there.

The reason Caddos call the Little People little has always puzzled me, because to everybody else they are described as huge. It may be partially out of respect, I think, because I wouldn't like it too much if others identified my most defining trait as my giant feet! But strangely enough, even though in most sightings in the area they are almost always small. I mean, their given name is not irony in the slightest. But why are they so short? My mother and I have collaboratively theorized that the Little People are juvenile Bigfoots.

When my mother was about eight years old, she and her grandma and grandpa had driven all the way from Norman, Oklahoma to camp overnight in a little house my family owned on a hill in a densely wooded area that overlooked the dance grounds at the tribal complex at the Binger Y. They were planning to stay overnight for the dance or pow-wow and leave in the morning. They hadn't had the time to unpack the car and put all of the stuff in the little house before they had to leave to go somewhere.

But when they returned, they climbed the hill and the car doors were open. It was a mess and looked as if the car had been ransacked! My mom's grandparents inspected the damage and found interesting evidence. A bag of Fruit Loops -- my mom's favorite cereal at the time -- had been ripped open and the colorful rings had been scattered about the car like it had burst open. It wasn't torn apart by claws or teeth, but pulled apart... ripped by hands from each end. A trail spilled from the car and led into the forest.

On top of that, the car smelled awful. And the Fruit Loop thief must have been there not too long before for the smell to still be there. My mother asked my great grandma who broke into the car, and she told my mom that the Little People had done it. Who would've known Bigfoot liked Fruit Loops?

That happened in the late 1970s or early '80s. What happened to me occurred in 2007 when I was 11 years old. I was at a summer camp down at the Y that they hold every year for one week in June, where Caddo descendants go to reconnect with their heritage. Campers came from a ton of different states. A thunderstorm rolled in the wee hours of the morning early in the week. Shirley, the head honcho at the camp, moved all of the campers to the roundhouse (also called the community building), even though it wasn't raining that hard, because a bunch of the kids didn't have rain flies on their tents. And the non-Oklahoman campers weren't quite as fearless and accustomed to the tornado alley weather. So we moved all 60-some teenagers to the indoor arena.

Well, it didn't ever stop raining all week. It never calmed down enough for us to move back to the campsite. One night, several campers complained of hearing slow scratching on the metal doors of the roundhouse. Nobody could see anything outside of the small, rectangular glass windows because it was so dark. "It sounded like nails on a chalkboard," my cousin said. "And I tried covering my ears, except it was so loud and the scratching didn't stop."

The next morning, my cousin and some other campers who had heard the scratching checked out the door. There were tiny scratches in the paint near the bottom... like sharp fingernails clawed at the door. It was real. We were all scared, but we didn't know what it was. Shirley feeds the Little People dinner leftovers every night. (I think this is creepy, personally!) But that particular night, she forgot to set out the food for the Little People. They had come out of the woods and begged at the doors for food. (Which I find even creepier!)

But then I started thinking: If the Little People could open a car door, why not a building door? I'm just glad the doors of the roundhouse were locked! It's a rule at the camp to not go into the woods. It doesn't need to be enforced, exactly; the forest around the complex is scary enough without the added bonus of Little People. (Who apparently like Fruit Loops....)

There hasn't been any Little People activity at the Y for the past couple of years, because they are fairly shy folk. But since then, the roundhouse doors have been repainted and Shirley still feeds their youngsters leftovers every night.

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