Saratoga Rainbow: Saratoga Elementary WY, designed and painted by Linda Fisher-Perue and the fabulous 5 & 6th graders. Inspired by a Shoshone-Bannock legend of “The Wolf, the Fox, the Bobcat and the Cougar”. 12'x52", Jan 2018
Our mural follows the Australian Aboriginal creation stories of the Rainbow Serpent as the “Mother of Life” who created the bodies of water and all the animals, fish, birds, and plants. The sky, is the Father, providing moisture for the living and stars for guidance. Our mural was designed to show and tell the Wyoming Shoshone-Bannock tribe legend of “The Wolf, the Fox, the Bobcat and the Cougar”. Our Rainbow Serpent has the head of a Panther (our school mascot) with Indian facial features and human hands.
The Shoshone-Bannock tribe resided in Western Wyoming in the Eastern Snake River Basin but, also some in our area south of the basin. The area provided water and food for them, so they were very happy there. But then all of a sudden, as the legends say, there came a warrior group. They were very vicious little people who drove the Shoshone-Bannock away from this prime forest area. These warriors are compared to all the evils of the world, law breakers, thieves, murderers, liars, cheaters, bullies, haters, and they spread evil everywhere.
The Shoshone-Bannock tribe had a council and sent a wise Medicine Man to go out into the wilderness and try to figure out how to stop the ‘little evil people’. The wise Medicine Man followed a star to an opening where he found the wolf, the fox, the bobcat and the cougar (panther). The cougar had a head of an Indian and his paws were hands of a human. He scared the Medicine Man, but the cougar said, “Do not be scared of me or of the bobcat, the wolf, or the fox, because we are spirits and will help you with your problem with the ’little evil people’. We will help you with only one condition: No one of your people will hunt, kill, or eat the bobcat, wolf, fox, or cougar. If you agree to this, the spirits will help you drive out the’ little evil people’.”
The Medicine Man returned to the tribe and told them what the spirits had said. They did not believe him so they all migrated to follow the star with the Medicine Man to meet the spirits. The spirits were in the sky when they arrived and the Medicine Man started rising in the air. As he rose, the four spirits shot down lightening toward the little evil people, starting a forest fire surrounding them and they were burned. When the fire died out, the Medicine Man came down to Earth. The spirits said, “You are okay, now”. So, even to this day, the Shoshone-Bannock will not hunt, kill or eat the wolf, fox, bobcat, or cougar because they are still upholding their promise to the spirits for helping them get rid of those ‘little evil people’.
Our mural includes a large, bright sun (the largest star in the Father sky) and we dedicate it to our teacher and friend, Ms. Annette Mason, who recently died of cancer. She is a legend to our community, and is now a star, looking down on us all and reminding us to ‘never give up and to always be kind to others’, like the example she set for us to follow. “The sun is a daily reminder that we too can rise again from the darkness, that we too can shine our own light.”