Two hundred seventy
Died dreaming of a world where the white man would drown
In a world wide flood of their sins.
Where the earth
Would reclaim their
Cities and towns
The Ghost dancers
Who lived by her laws.
History books tell us
The threat is gone.
The ghost dance
Died with the ancestors
Wovoka and his sacred drum
Each time it rains
I go out to the sidewalk
Where the tree roots have broken the concrete and listen to the water’s
“It is coming soon.”
Sara Little-Crow Russell of the Anisinhaabe found in Winona LaDuke’s All Our Relations.
I believe the number of Ghost Dancers comes from the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. The casualties have been reported anywhere from one hundred and ninety to over three hundred Lakota and Cheyenne. Many of them women and children. I’ve put in links to Wikepedia entries because, to be honest, read it and weep.
Yeah, nobody who is alive now had anything to do with the massacre. Most whites were good people. Hell, I’m pretty much pure Northern European. If there’s anything else in the mix I haven’t found it; or it’s so far back in the past it doesn’t matter anyway. Unfortunately the Lakota weren’t meeting very many of the good folks who would never dream of killing women or children. Trouble is, history repeats itself and too many good people are still over in the corner eyes closed, fingers in ears, humming really, really loud.
This piece comes from a place of deep, deep pain.