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This short story appeared in one of Dozois's early Year's Best anthologies and I've been trying to find it for some time.

A young Indian warrior is told he will not die until there's a blue and red star in the sky. Throughout the story he tears it up, never once coming to danger despite many close calls. He and his tribe are cornered or they're about to be executed by the Union and they're able to time travel back 10,000 years. When the Union come around to do the deed, they find everyone gone but iron pots and other iron goods left behind since they can't make the trip. At the end of this short story he's an old man in the past, looking at a blue and a red star in the sky when he finally passes away.

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  • I have the 1st and 2nd anthologies and it isn't in either of those, but the next one I have is the 10th anthology. Have you any idea how early the anthology was? Dec 21, 2016 at 10:15
  • Must've been one of the anthologies from the late 80s to mid-90s since I most likely read it between 94-96.
    – heptapod
    Dec 21, 2016 at 14:12

1 Answer 1

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I think this might be The Moon of Popping Trees by R. Garcia y Robertson and collected in Best New SF 2 edited by Gardiner Dozois in 1988. This anthology was also published as The Year's Best Science Fiction 5th Annual Collection. However if this is the correct story it is a bit different from your recollection.

The main part of the story is set in 1890. A teacher called Miller (I don't think we find out his first name) is given a piece of paper with Einstein's equations of special relativity by a Sioux girl called Stays Behind. This 15 years before Einstein published the theory of Special Relativity. It turns out that the equations were written by a Cheyenne medicine man called Yellow Legs.

Miller goes to talk to Yellow Legs and we get his back story. It is at this point we get the prediction about the stars as when he was a young man Yellow Legs saw a vision:

I had a most powerful vision. In this dream I saw my own death. I saw my body laid out for burial—a worn husk, wrapped in wrinkled skins. Overhead, six stars shown down, four were white and two red, yet it was full daylight.

This dream gave me courage, for I felt that I might never meet death till I saw these six stars shine in daylight. From that day forward I counted many coups, feeling neither fear nor pain in battle. In the Winter of the Hundred Slain, we rode against the Wasichu. When others held back for fear of the bullet storm, I rode right in among them, seizing a Wasichu’s many-firing rifle, though he aimed and fired at me as I came up. Every dawn as I saw the stars fade, I knew this was not my day to die.

At the end of the story Yellow Legs leads the survivors away, but it isn't made clear where they are going. The story says only:

When morning came, Yellow Legs led all who would follow away from Sheltering Place, deeper into the Badlands.

It is the 9th Cavalry that show up at the camp site. The story doesn't mention iron goods being left behind, but says only:

From his seat on the horse’s back, Miller scanned the litter of abandoned guns, knives, cooking tins, cups, pots, wash buckets, belt buckles, and tent pegs.
The corporal rested his weary arm on the saddle. “Looks like these poor Indians just tried to get rid of everything the white man gave ’em.”

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