A long, free-verse poem addressing the fate of the Indians during invasion of the West.
|The old warrior chief sits
atop his magnificent stallion
on a high hill overlooking
the green valley below
through which a wagon train
of many Conestoga wagons
is snaking its way slowly.
Anger fills his body, giving way
to dread and consuming despair.
Like a plague upon the land,
spreading their contempt
for both Nature and the Red Man,
in more and more increasing number
come the White Man with his hatred,
his lies, and his superior guns.
Once the buffalo herds roamed
in great number, flowing across
the land, providing his Native Peoples
with plentiful food and hides.
The buffalo were like the stars
high in the nighttime sky,
but then came the White Man
to slaughter the buffalo for
hides and for sport, shamefully
leaving the meat to rot in the sun.
Now Indian children hunger and die.
The White Man considers
Indian ancestral lands to be his
for the taking. The Native Peoples
tried to make peace with these invaders,
but the White Man has broken treaty
after treaty. They murder Indian women,
Indian children for fun and bounty.
They consider Indians an inferior
race of men, even though Indians
have lived for centuries in complete
harmony with the land. The White Man
doesn't see the soul of Nature that resides
in everything they are destroying.
The old warrior knows his tribe
soon once again must fight gallantly
to attempt to preserve their heritage.
But he also knows deep in his heart
that they cannot stop the humiliation
of his people and the destruction
of their way of life. He understands
loss of their lands and confinement
to a reservation at the mercy of the
White Man will be their pitiful fate;
he also understands his proud people
will fight as long as they are able
against the passage of their culture.
As he turns his horse to ride away,
his heart breaking with sorrow,
he's spotted by the wagon train.
He hears them shout as they point,
"Up there. It's one of those savages."
The old warrior gallops away peacefully
as shots ring out from the White Man.
All too soon the shameful decimation
of the Indian Nations was complete.
[Note: To read more about this shameful chapter
in American history, read the new book
"Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia"
by vehoae. Look for the warrior on the cover.