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CHIEFS
We will be known by the
tracks we leave behind
Dakota Proverb
 
 
 
Chief Joseph
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt
(1840-1904)
I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, "Yes" or "No." He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. 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.
 
   
 
Crazy Horse
Tashunca-uitco
(1849-1877)
Crazy Horse earned his reputation among the Lakota not only by his skill and daring in battle but also by his fierce determination to preserve his people's traditional way of life. He refused, for example, to allow any photographs to be taken of him. And he fought to prevent American encroachment on Lakota lands following the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, helping to attack a surveying party sent into the Black Hills by General George Armstrong Custer in 1873.

We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit Gave us this country as a home. You had yours. We did not interfere with you. The Great Spirit gave us plenty of land to live on, and buffalo, deer, antelope and other game. But you have come here; you are taking my land from me; you are killing off our game, so it is hard for us to live. Now, you tell us to work for a living, but the Great Spirit did not make us to work, but to live by hunting. You white men can work if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say why do you not become civilized? We do not want your civilization! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them.

 
 
 
Sitting Bull
Tatanka-Iyotanka
(1831-1890)
As a young man, Sitting Bull became a leader of the Strong Heart warrior society and, later, a distinguished member of the Silent Eaters, a group concerned with tribal welfare. His first battle at age 14, in a raid on the Crow, and saw his first encounter with American soldiers in June 1863, when the army mounted a broad campaign in retaliation for the Santee Rebellion in Minnesota, in which Sitting Bull's people played no part. The next year Sitting Bull fought U.S. troops again, at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, and in 1865 he led a siege against the newly established Fort Rice( in North Dakota). Widely respected for his bravery and insight, he became head chief of the Sioux nation about 1868.
 
 
 
Red Cloud
 Makhpiya-Luta
(1822-1909)
Beginning 1866, Red Cloud orchestrated the most successful war against the United States ever fought by an Indian nation. The army had begun to construct forts along the Bozeman Trail, which ran through the heart of Lakota territory in present day Wyoming to the Montana gold fields from Colorado's South Platte River. As caravans of miners and settlers began to cross the Lakota's land, Red Cloud was haunted by the vision of Minnesota's expulsion of the Eastern Lakota in 1862 and 1863. So he launched a series of assaults on the forts, most notably the crushing defeat of Lieutenant Colonel William Fetterman's column of eighty men just outside Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming, in December of 1866. The garrisons were kept in a state of exhausting fear of further attacks through the rest of the winter.

Red Cloud's strategies were so successful that by 1868 the United States government had agreed to the Fort Laramie Treaty. The treaty's remarkable provisions mandated that the United States abandon its forts along the Bozeman Trail and guarantee the Lakota their possession of what is now the Western half of South Dakota, including the Black Hills, along with much of Montana and Wyoming.

 
 
 
COCHISE

Mescalero Apache
Birthdate unknown - Died June 8th, 1874

COCHISE, as the fabulous leader of the Apaches in the southwestern United States, gave the U.S. Army hell for years. The Apaches knew every canyon and valley, every hill and crag, every stream and spring, and almost every sage bush behind which to hide. They would attack travelers or settlers, wagon trains, or whatever else offered itself as a target, both north and south of the Mexican border. They would disappear into the mountains and scatter, often ambushing their pursuers. The Apaches were a foe no less formidable than the
Confederacy of Six Nations, which at one time threatened the very existence of the newly founded American nation.

For some ten years Cochise and his small band held the army at bay and waged a bloody war throughout southern Arizona. In 1872 he finally surrendered and practically dictated the terms under which he would cease his activities. Torn Jeifords, who operated a stage line through the Cochise country and was a highly regarded friend of Cochise, was instrumental in arranging his surrender to General 0.0. Howard.

The birth date of Cochise is not definitely known, but he died at Camp Bowie, Arizona, on June 8, 1874. He had been ill for several weeks.

 A Speech by Cochise

Cochise made this talk at a council, which was held at the agency at Canada Alamosa, early in September of 1866. General Gordon Granger conducted the affairs of the council.

The sun has been very hot on my head and made me as in a fire; my blood was on fire, but now I have come into this valley and drunk of these waters and washed myself in them and they have cooled me. Now that I am cool I have come with my hands open to you to live in peace with you. I speak straight and do not wish to deceive or be deceived. I want a good, strong and lasting peace.

When God made the world he gave one part to the white man and another to the Apache. Why was it? Why did they come together? Now that I am to speak, the sun, the moon, the earth, the air, the waters, the birds and beasts, even the children unborn shall rejoice at my words. The white people have looked for me long. I am here! What do they want? They have looked for me long; why am I worth so much? If I am worth so much why not mark when I set my foot and look when I spit?

The coyotes go about at night to rob and kill; I can not see them; I am not God. I am no longer chief of all the Apaches. I am no longer rich; I am but a poor man. The world was not always this way. I can not command the animals; if I would they would not obey me. God made us not as you; we were born like the animals, in the dry grass, not on beds like you. This is why we do as the animals, go about of a night and rob and steal. If I had such things as you have, I would not do as I do, for then I would not need to do so. There are Indians who go about killing and robbing. I do not command them. If I did, they would not do so. My warriors have been killed in Sonora. I came here because God told me to do so. He said it was good to be at peace so I came! I was going around the world with the clouds, and air, when God spoke to my thought and told me to come in here and be at peace with all. He said the world was for us all; how was it? When I was young I walked all over this country, east and west, and saw no other people than the Apaches. After many summers I walked again and found another race of people had come to take it. How is it? Why is it that the Apaches wait to die, that they carry their lives on their fingernails? They roam over the hills and plains and want the heavens to fall on them. The Apaches were once a great nation; they are now but few, and because of this they want to die and so carry their lives on the fingernails. Many have been killed in battle. You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight to our hearts. Tell me, if the Virgin Mary has walked throughout all the land, why has she never entered the wigwam of the Apache? Why have we never seen or heard her?

I have no father or mother; I am alone in the world. No one cares for Cochise; that is why I do not care to live, and wish the rocks to fall on me and cover me up. If I had a father and a mother like you, I would be with them and they with me. When I was going around the world, all were asking for Cochise. Now he is here, you see him and hear him, are you glad? If so, say so. Speak, Americans and Mexicans, I do not wish to hide anything from you or have you hide
anything from me; I will not lie to you; do not lie to me. I want to live in these mountains; I do not want to go to Tularosa. That is a long ways off. The flies on those mountains eat out the eyes of horses. The bad spirits live there. I have drunk of these waters and they have cooled me; I do not want to leave here.

 
 
Geronimo
Goyathlay
(One Who Yawns)

Chiracahua
Born 1829 - February 17th 1909


 
As leader of the Apache Indians in Southwestern United States, he made a record of ferocity and tenacity seldom equaled in the Indian wars. Out manned and outgunned, he was able to outmaneuver all of the troops sent after him.

Geronimo believed in the old adage of "he, who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day," and that is the tactic by which his small group of Apache warriors was able to harass such a large area of the Southwest. They would strike and then fade into the mountainous country, making their next foray miles from the last one. Geronimo was captured several times, but always escaped and resumed his wild life. He finally surrendered at Camp Bowie, Arizona, on September 4, 1886. At the end there were some five thousand troops after a band of thirty six Apaches, including men, women, and children.

As a prisoner of war, Geronimo and other Apaches were sent to Fort Pickens, Pensacola, Florida; then to Mount Vernon, Alabama; and finally to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he died from pneumonia on February 17, 1909. He is buried at the fort.

Geronimo was an attraction to the numerous visitors at Fort Sill. He was converted to Christianity in 1903. He went to Washington, D.C., in 1905, and was a conspicuous part of the inaugural procession of President Theodore Roosevelt.

 Geronimo was an able speaker and the talk given here was at a conference held March 25, 1886, at the Canon of the Funnels, near San Bernardino Springs, New Mexico, where General George Crook was attempting to deal with the Chiricabua Apache chieftains. Geronimo was trying to impress Crook with his good intentions.
 

I want to talk first of the causes which led me to leave the reservation. I was living quietly and contented, doing and thinking of no harm, while at the Sierra Blanca. I don't know what harm I did to those three men, Chato, Mickey Free, and Lieutenant Davis. I was living peaceably and satisfied when people began to speak badly of me. I should be glad to know who started those stories. I was living peaceably with my family, having plenty to eat, sleeping well, taking care of my people, and perfectly contented. I don't know where those bad stories first came from. There we were doing well and my people well. I was behaving well. I hadn't killed a horse or man, American or Indian. I don't know what was the matter with the people in charge of us. They knew this to be so, and yet they said I was a bad man and the worst man there; but what harm had I done? I was living peaceably and well, but I did not leave on my own accord. Had I left it would have been right to blame me; but as it is, blame those men who started this talk about me.

Some time before I left an Indian named Wodiskay had a talk with me. He said, "they are going to arrest you." I paid no attention to him, knowing that I had done no wrong; and the wife of Mangus, "Huera," told me that they were going to seize me and put me and Mangus in the guard-house. I had also learned from the American and Apache soldiers, from Chato, and Mickey Free, that the
Americans were going to arrest me and hang me, and so I left.

I would like to know now whom it was that gave the order to arrest me and hang me. I was living peaceably there with my family under the shade of the trees, doing just what General Crook had told me I must do and trying to follow his advice. I want to know now who it was ordered me to be arrested. I was praying to the light and to the darkness, to God and to the sun, to let me live quietly with my family. I don't know what the reason was that people should speak badly of me. I don't want to be blamed. The fault was not mine. Blame those three men. With them is the fault, and find out who it was that began that bad talk about me.

I have several times asked for peace, but trouble has come from the agents and interpreters. I don't want what has passed to happen again. Now, I am going to tell you something else. The Earth Mother is listening to me and I hope that all may be so arranged that from now on there shall be no trouble and that we shall always have peace. Whenever we see you coming to where we are, we think it is God you must come always with God. From this on I do not want that anything shall be told you about me even in joke. Whenever I have broken out, it was always been on account of bad talk. From this on I hope that people will tell me nothing but the truth. From this on I want to do what is right and nothing else and I do not want you to believe any bad papers about me. I want the papers sent you to tell the truth about me, because I want to do what is right. Very often there are stories in the newspapers that I am to be hanged. I don't want that any more. When a man tries to do right, such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers.

There are very few of my men left now. They have done some bad things but I want them all rubbed out now and let us never speak of them again. There are very few of us left. We think of our relations, brothers, brothers-in-law, father-in-law, etc., over on the reservation, and from this on we want to live at peace just as they are doing, and to behave as they are behaving. Some-times a man does something and men are sent out to bring in his head. I don't want such things to happen to us. I don't want that we should be killing each other.

What is the matter that you don't speak to me? It would be better if you would speak to me and look with a pleasant face. It would make better feeling. I would be glad if you did. I'd be better satisfied if you would talk to me once in a while. Why don't you look at me and smile at me? I am the same man; I have the same feet, legs, and hands, and the sun looks down on me a complete man. I want you to look and smile at me.

I have not forgotten what you told me, although a long time has passed. I keep it in my memory. I am a complete man. Nothing has gone from my body. From here on I want to live at peace. Don't believe any bad talk you hear about me. The agents and the interpreter hear that somebody has done wrong, and they blame it all on me. Don't believe what they say. I don't want any of this bad talk in the future. I don't want those men who talked this way about me to be my agents any more. I want good men to be my agents and interpreters, people who will talk right. I want this peace to be legal and good. Whenever I meet you I talk good to you, and you to me, and peace is soon established; but when you go to the reservation you put agents and interpreters over us who do bad things. Perhaps they don't mind what you tell them, because I do not believe you would tell them to do bad things to us. In the future we don't want these bad men to be allowed near where we are to live. We don't want any more of that kind of bad talk. I don't want any man who will talk bad about me, and tell lies, to be there, because I am going to try and live well and peaceably. I want to have a good man put over me.

While living I want to live well. I know I have to die some time, but even if the heavens were to fall on me, I want to do what is right. I think I am a good man, but in the papers all over the world they say I am a bad man; but it is a bad thing to say so about me. I never do wrong without a cause. Every day I am thinking, how am I to talk to you to make you believe what I say; and, I think, too, that you are thinking of what you are to say to me. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all children of the one God. God is listening to me. The sun, the darkness, the winds, are all listening to what we now say. 

To prove to you that I am telling you the truth, remember I sent you word that I would come from a place far away to speak to you here and you see us now. Some have come on horseback and some on foot. If I were thinking bad, or if I had done bad, I would never have come here. If it has been my fault, would I have come so far to talk to you? I have told you all that has happened. I also had feared that I should never see Ka-e-te-na again, but here he is, and I want the past to be buried. I am glad to see Ka-e-te-na. I was afraid I should never see him again. That was one reason, too, why I left. I wish that Ka-e-te-na would be returned to us to live with his family. I now believe what I was told. Now I believe that all told me is true, because I see Ka-e-te-na again. I am glad to see him again, as I was told I should. We are all glad. My body feels good because I see Ka-e-te-na, and my breathing is good. Now I can eat well, drink well, sleep well, and be glad. I can go everywhere with good feeling. Now, what I want is peace in good faith. Both you and I think well and think alike.

Well, we have talked enough and set here long enough. I may have forgotten something, but if I remember it, I will tell you of it tonight, or tomorrow, or some other time. I have finished for today, but I'll have something more to say bye and bye.

Quanah Parker

Comanche
Born 1845 - Died February 23, 1911

THE COMANCHE Indians were described as the Lords of the Plains, and under their brave and resourceful chiefs they ravaged the High Plains from the Platte River down into Mexico. One of the most distinguished chiefs of this proud people was Quanah Parker. Quanah had an unusual background. He was the son of a Comanche chief and a white woman, Cynthia Ann Parker. Cynthia was taken from Parker’s Fort on the Navasota River in East Texas at the age of nine, when the Comanches raided the fort and left only a few  survivors.

Quanah was born in 1845, although the stone erected over his grave gives the date as 1852. He died February 23, 1911, and was buried in Post Oak Cemetery, near the mission of the same name.

Quanah’s band of Comanches, the Kwahadi, refused to go onto the
Reservation following the Treaty of 1867. About seven hundred Indians were with Quanah at the famed Battle of Adobe Walls, in West Texas. This started a series of border rampages along the southern edge of Kansas that lasted for years. In 1876 Quanah finally led his band in to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where they surrendered and submitted to reservation life. Quanah made the best of the new conditions, and was the most prominent and influential member of the confederation of Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa tribes which settled in the neighborhood of Fort Sill.

The City of Quanah, Texas was named for him. Quanah has many relatives living in Oklahoma.

Quanah Parkers Mother has a story all her own.   As touching as anything else I've read so I feel it should be told.
 
 

 A white Indian and her tragic saga

On a May day in 1836 in northern Texas, a 9-year-old frontier girl was abducted by a raiding band of Comanches, who swooped down on the family home and killed her father. The child was Cynthia Ann Parker, favorite niece of Isaac Parker, rancher, soldier and legislator. The story of her 25-year captivity and her subsequent return is one of the most poignant of all the frontier tales.

As Cynthia Ann toiled at the work of a Comanche woman, her complexion darkened from the sun and dirt, and her flaxen hair, clipped short, became greasy. Yet as a white she remained an alluring prize. The chief, Peta Nocona, chose her as his bride when she was 18, and she bore three children two sons, Quanah and Pecos, and a daughter, Topasannah. For 15 years she cared for her family as the tribe staged forays into Parker County, named after her uncle.

Cynthia Ann's return to white society occurred the way she had left it, through a raid. While camped near the Pease River in 1860, her tribe was surprised by a detachment of government Indian hunters. Her husband and her teen-age sons escaped into the prairie. Quanah later would become a noted Comanche warrior and chief. During the skirmish Cynthia Ann's short hair and buffalo robe gave her the look of a brave, but just as she was about to be shot by a white man she held up her baby, Topasannah, as a sign that she was a woman. Closer inspection revealed her blue eyes, conclusive evidence that she was white.

Certain that they had found the long lost lady of the Parker family, the soldiers summoned Isaac Parker. He tried to talk to the blue eyed woman, but she spoke little English. Finally Parker said, "Maybe we were wrong. Poor Cynthia Ann. "On hearing the name the 34-year-old woman remembered it from her childhood:

"Me Cynthia," she replied simply.

Cynthia was welcomed back by the whites, who even voted her a pension and some land. But she never smiled. Several times she stole horses and lit out in quest of her sons. After about four years back with the settlers, Cynthia Ann's little girl died from a fever. Devastated by grief, Cynthia Ann starved herself to death.

   
White-Bear
Oh, Great Spirit, in my dream I heard the thunder of buffalo and saw a great cloud of dust rise in the East and cover the sun. I heard a bull call my name - White Bear, come dance with me. As we danced I looked into his angry eye and saw the empty cooking pots of my people. Today I meet the buffalo once again in the dance of death. I ask you to make my chest as strong as a hundred buffalo. Make my heart as brave as the bear who lent me his name. Bless this lance with your magic. May it find the heart of the buffalo and be greeted like a lover returned from a long journey.

 White Bears song rises like an arrow through the trees searching out the ear of the Great Spirit. Soon the age old dance of life and death will begin on the prairie. The plains will resound with the war whoops of Indian braves and the angry bellows of charging buffalo. But now, amid the peace of this sacred place, the Sioux warrior lifts his voice and his arms to heaven, and feels his soul lighten and his prayer answered.

 
 
   

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