Monday, May 11, 2009

The great-grandson of Sitting Bull recently visited our town and I was able to hear him speak and visited with him a bit after his talk. Sitting Bull is the famous Indian Chief who defeated General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He later performed with Bill Cody and then was finally killed by American soldiers.

The great-grandson told us about his tribe of people called the Lakota who are part of the Sioux Nation. They live in Montana and the Dakotas. He told us that his people had no written history and that oral history was very important to them. He listened to stories his mother and grandmother told him about Sitting Bull and the rest of the Sioux. He has now written a book about his people. The oral history doesn’t work for our culture. For us to pass on a message it has to be in the form of a text message and in some abbreviated language. Even the book is disappearing from modern American culture and the newspapers and other forms of the printed work are rapidly vanishing. The historians of the future aren’t going to have an archive of written material to tell our story. That is probably just as well because the news is so bad. The electronic devices change so rapidly the historians of the future will have no means of retrieving the messages left by our youth.

He also told us that his people really weren’t savages as depicted in our history books and in the movies. He said that they were the original green people and protectors of the environment and nature. The US Government and the white man kept impinging on their land and hunting grounds until they had no choice but to retaliate and fight. I suspect that if we talked to the Crow Indians they might have a different story about the Sioux being a peace loving people. The Indians used to fight and raid each other tribes but the great-grandson didn’t tell us about that.

The big lesson I learned from the great-grandson and the story of the Sioux is that you can’t trust the government. They promise you things but then enslave you and take away your property. They may even kill you as they did Sitting Bull.

Sitting Bull would love my porch. He could watch the deer roam through the yard and take out his bow and arrows to dispose of a few. I would love to have Sitting Bull as a neighbor. We could just sit around, tell stories and shot deer.


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