The Tatanka lore and tradition of the Plains People
When the people were many we covered the plains with our numbers.
We were vast and strong like Tatanka, the bison buffalo sent to us by Spirit,he was our friend.
In earliest time we used His hides to make our tipi homes, but now the bison slumbers.
Some of our wise men shamen have said now that they are gone,and it signals our end.
No more do the real people borrow the skin of tatanka for robe and blanket and food.
gone are the times that the buffalo covered the world sent to us by Spirit,Maker Of All Things.
Our ancestors said thank you to Spirit and his gift, tatanka. His skin against weather upon our tipis stood
Even more than the Thunderbird and the Eagle which brought good fortune to our tribes upon their wings.
First came the White trappers and they cheated us of our beaver skins,our other furs too.
But we said,'let them be. Their taking is small. There is plenty for all.' That was when these new people from the east where our god sun rises were only but a few.
Soon their numbers grew and they killed the Spirit sent Tatanka and burned our maize grown tall.
Our Braves fought back, but it was as if Spirit had deserted us and gone away.
We used our age-old skills to fight off these invaders with our weapons small.
We used our bows and lances with skill and bravery, but could not win back our day.
This enemy could kill our Braves from far away with only a boom- stick and tiny metal ball
Then very soon the new people divided up our prairies and woods with a horrible metal creature.
This beast shook the Makers very earth, and we were filled with terror and fears
We gazed upon this monster and it made loud noises and smoke.The quiet plains had gained a horrid feature.
We named it 'Iron Horse' but we said those words only with many confused tears.
Soon the Great Maker's animals which were our food, our clothing, and our forest friends went away.
The noise and smoke, people and cities along the way of the Iron Horse chased them all into oblivion.
Then the new men stole our land and said it was theirs now because this was a new era, a new day.
They called us 'savages' and gave us tiny bits of land to live within.
We are mostly gone now, like Tatanka,Beaver,Wild Pony,Deer,Wolf,mink and almost all of Spirit's beloved creatures.
We still do not understand what happened. It took so little time before we,the Children of Spirit were lost upon the wind.
They brought us what they called a wonderful gift. They said it was named 'civilization.' But it had new names to our Indian teachers.
We learned new words to call the White Man's civilization. They were lies,theft,starvation, genocide.Was it by our trusting that we sinned?
We say farewell to you. Our culture is almost dead, We few still try to save what can be of our sacred lore given first to us by Earth Mother and Great Spirit.
On the wind our voices still sing praise and remember the times of the greatness of the tribes. Our lore from dust and ashes we try mightily to resurrect.
In the distance do you hear our drums? Do you hear our distant flutes and sounds of all the birds? Hear it?
Oh, hear us for yet a little while. We are still your brothers, and we do not want to die.
In better times we had beautiful names. We were The Apaches,The Comanches, The Tlingit, The Oglala, The Lakota,The Cherokees,Navaho, Perce Nez, Blackfeet, Crow, Tuscarora,Huron,Mohawk,The Iroquois,Weckquasgeek,Siwanoy, Algonkian and thousands more. Keep our names in your hearts and remember our deeds. In that way you can be sure that our names will not become the shrill winds of forgetfulness, like the winter gales that rage up and down the canyon lands, saying nothing. Goodbye.