Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chief Plenty Coups--Crow

Painting by Howard Terpning

The ground on which we stand is sacred ground.
It is the dust and blood of our ancestors.
On these plains the Great White Father in Washington
sent his soldiers armed with long knives and rifles
to slay the Indian.
Many of them sleep on yonder hill
where Pahaska - White Chief of the Long Hair [General Custer] -
so bravely fought and fell.

A few more passing suns
will see us here no more,
and our dust and bones will mingle with the same prairies.
I see as in a vision the dying spark
of our council fires,
the ashes cold and white.
I see no longer the curling smoke
rising from our lodge poles.
I hear no longer
the songs of the women as they prepare the meal.
The antelope have gone;
the buffalo wallows are empty.
Only the wail of the coyote is heard.

The white man's medicine is stronger than ours;
his iron horse [the railroad] rushes
over the buffalo trail.
He talks to us through his "whispering spirit"
[the telephone].

We are like birds with a broken wing.
My heart is cold within me.
My eyes are growing dim -
I am old.

Chief Plenty Coups - Crow

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