(Little Big Horn - June 25, 1876)
I wrote this several years ago and thought it would be appropriate to post it on this day that the Lakota call Victory Day. It's Victory Day because if we had not been successful there are many of us who would not be here. This includes my family - my great grandmother was a six year old little girl who was watching this battle take place. So for the fact that we are here it is a day to acknowlede as a day of victory for all of us who would not be here without the courage of our warriors.
To All My Friends & Relatives:
On Tuesday - "Victory Day" - I wanted to write to everyone with something to say but was unable to. Nothing profound seeped into my thoughts and I didn't want to bore you with anything that wasn't. You know how that can be - when you try to force yourself into being creative what you get is old warmed over two day or even year old thinking. And of course being the day of remembering the heroic actions of our unci's and lala's of our past I didn't want to write anything that would'nt give them honor - so I stayed quite and thought of them instead.
But today I do have some things I want to share with you. I was reading an article written by a brand new friend, Charles Peek, professor of English at the University of Nebraska - Karney. He writes about the day Crazy Horse was assassinated. He quotes Touch the Cloud and Nebraska State Poet - Bill Kloefkorn. I want to share these with you and some of my thoughts.
Touch the Cloud - remarks after covering the body of Crazy Horse. (Crazy Horse refused to lie down on a cot he chose to lay on the floor - defying the U.S. Government even as he was dying from the fatal wounds inflicted on him by one of his own.)
"That is the lodge of Crazy Horse. Lying where he chose, Crazy Horse showed the rest of us where we are standing."
Bill Kloefkorn, in his poem "Crazy Horse, Final Reflection, Number 7"
It does not matter where his body is,
for there is grass;
but where his spirit is,
there it will be good
for all of us to be.
My thoughts are:
We need to realize that our great leader Crazy Horse did show us not only where we are standing but how to stand. He admonished the weak hearts, the fools, the selfish and any of those who did not think of the people to stay in the rear - he only wanted the Brave Hearts to be in the front to meet the full force of the enemy. If we take his statement and use this as a way of living. We can use this as a standard to measure the men and women who want to lead our people. Are they willing to meet the challenge of today's enemies do they have the skills to be in front with our leaders from the past. My great grandfather, Edward Dupris' Indian name was "Eats No Meat" which meant He made sure everyone was taken care of before he took care of himself - he fed everyone first and if there was no meat left then he ate no meat.
Crazy Horse thought always of the people - he showed us how to stand, he showed us how we are standing. When we think of how we are standing would he want us to be beside him facing our greatest enemy or would he tell us to go to the rear.
Bill Kloefkron's poem is a reflection of the fact that the Spirit of Crazy Horse is still here among us - "but where his spirit is, there it will be good for all of us to be." Could we feel good to be where Crazy Horse's spirit is? Would we feel able to stand without feeling shame?
It is good to be a Lakota, it is good to walk this road but while we are walking we need to ask ourselves are we living the true life of a Lakota. When we pray, or when we speak - is it for the good of our people. The Sundance Prayer "Hecel Oyate Kin Nipi Kte" --- "So that the people may live." - should be one of our guiding principals for our work and our commitment to our people. Sitting Bulls statement "Let us put our minds together to see what life we can make for our children" should be another.
The old Lakota war cry "It is a good day to die" can be used as a third principal. We need to live to the fullest so when we do leave to be with our relatives "who live beyond the ridge" will they welcome us knowing that our lives were lived in a manner that we would not regret or leave things un-tended or that we lived a life creating strife, chaos and disruptions - and instead of love we were jealous hearted and made people feel bad.
We need to be a good relative to each other - but most important we need to be good to our children and our grand children. This does not mean that we let them do anything we need to give them good advise so when they become adults they can take their place as strong Lakota - they are who will lead our people in the future and will Crazy Horse want them beside him or to the rear.
Yes Crazy Horse - showed us where we are standing - and it will be good for us to be where his spirit is.
With wishes for your good health and safety this summer.
Your relative and friend,
Grows in a Day
(Touch the Cloud was my great grandfather, Matthew Poor Buffalo's first cousin)