“Quote Unquote”

September 1, 2017 § 3 Comments

“Wherever we went, the soldiers came to kill us, and it was all our own country. It was ours already when the Wasichus [whites] made the treaty with Red Cloud that said it would be ours as long as grass should grow and water flow. That was only eight winters before, and they were chasing us now because we remembered and they forgot. We were not happy anymore, because so many of our people had untied their horses’ tails [left the warpath] and gone over to the Wasichus. We went back deep into our country. The bison had gone away, and a hard winter came early.”  —  Wooden Leg of the Cheyenne

“It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are — perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”  — Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

“Accommodation had failed, War had failed. And the bullet-riven Ghost Shirts buried with their wearers in the mass grave on the lone knoll above Wounded Knee Creek were ample proof that religion too had failed the Indians. There was no room left for the Indians in the west but what the government saw fit to permit them. One elderly Lakota chief who had witnessed the march of events from the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851 to the tragedy at Wounded Knee four decades later saw nothing remarkable in what had transpired. “The [government] made us many promises,” he told a white friend, “more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.”  —  Peter Cozzens, The Earth is Weeping

Photo courtesy of Ben McMurtray

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