I watch the city people glide over the marble floors, moving from one exhibit to another. The past is enclosed in glass with stuffed animals, fake woods, and a painted background.
“Look, kids,” one father says to his three boys, “there’s an Apache. Think he’s gonna get a buffalo?”
He does not know the difference between an Apache and an Iroquois.
“I think you made the Apache sad,” says the smallest, a blond boy.
“Don’t be silly. He’s wax,” the father says. “Look. There’re some arrow heads over there.”
The boy stands in front of me, and squints at the square legend, his lips moving as he reads. “Iroquois,” he says. “You aren’t an Apache. You lived in New York.” He smiles. “You look very brave. Did your people march on the Trail of Tears?”
I want to reach out to this boy who has come all the way downtown to visit this place, but already his father is returning to reclaim him.
“Come on, David. Come see the arrowheads.”
The boy looks back at me, and waves. I hear him say, “Dad, he’s an Iroquois not an Apache. There’s a difference.”
I want to wave back but can only watch them disappear into the crowd.