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Friday, December 27, 2013

America's Great Indian Leaders

America's Great Indian Leaders
The great herds that covered the prairies are no more. Along with their guns and disease the Europeans brought hearts formed on conquest and fortunes built on ownership of the Earth. They could not understand the Indian who lived upon the world, taking life from it as the birds of the forest. After the whites drew their lines on paper, and so made their new country, the Indian lands were trampled under the feet of immigrants more plentiful than the Buffalo.
The mighty nations of the East were rubbed out leaving only their names on the white man's maps. By the white man's year of 1861 there were 31 million Europeans on Indian soil. Their Pony Express raced from St. Louis to Sacramento in the passing of only ten days and the talking wires were strung across their land.
The time had come to face the vanishing of the Indian world. Many went quietly to the reservations, yet some chose to fight even in the face of so many foes with such ferocious weapons. And so the last great leaders rose to take their people to safety or to strike back.
Crazy Horse was a quiet man but very brave and courageous. He lived in a time when war was necessary to protect the very existence of his people and his family. Chief Joseph was the diplomat of the "Nez Perce" nation, a great heart who always spoke for peace. He tried to lead his people to another place where they could live in their way. But at the end his heart and spirit were broken. Geronimo was a great medicine man whose magic allowed him to hide from the armies of two nations. When his people were pursued they would run deep into the canyons and turn themselves into a rock, a tree, or a cactus.
Quanah Parker realized they were in a time of change. He knew that warfare no longer worked for his people so he made the transition to being a statesman and he chose to walk the path between two worlds. This is the story of these last great leaders and their peoples at the end of their time of freedom.
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