How did Oyate—The People come to live in the Black Hills?
Borders are defined through battles. Like all nations in the world, borders secured during battles define them. Some, however, are lost and gained through deceit and outright theft. This short excerpt is from Tears Of Sorrow–A Free Nation Lost.
Anton and Star Woman rode to one side as the other two men talked.
“You mean the hills themselves? When we approach, they look black compared to the surrounding land. They just come up out of nowhere; black and beautiful, rising out of the prairie.”
“What makes them look so dark?”
“As you get closer you notice that it’s the pines, so thick and heavy with shadow, they take on the appearance of being black. It’s a beautiful place, a sacred place.”
He reached forward to pull the remnants of sage weed from his horse’s mane, running his fingers to remove the tangle.
When I was there as a young warrior, there was more game than a man could kill in his lifetime. The black hills are filled with high ridges ringed with forest that hold the deer and elk, while the land falls away to create grassy plateaus and beautiful valleys where the bison and turkey thrive.”
Four Wings listened in rapt attention to what he was hearing. “What of the story that the Black Hills are the source of Oceti Sakowan?”
“Many believe the legend that tells us the seven fire places of the Sioux Nation began there. The legend says that in the time of the ancients, there was one land base and one ocean. They fought terrible wars, and they began to hurt the earth. To stop them, she began to shake and the land divided into separate islands to isolate the people and stop the destruction brought on by them.”
The four of them reined the horses and paused to hear what Tatemina was telling the younger man.
He continued, “The people on this island grew as one, but as time passed, they began fighting again and hurting Mother Earth. She sent out warnings to stop, but they didn’t listen.
This time, she shook, and the land opened and swallowed, holding the people inside her. After much time, a trickster took the appearance of a white buffalo to lure the people back to the surface.”
Tatemina leaned forward and patted the neck of his stallion. “The place of their return is the Black Hills where they became Oceti Sakowan—The Seven Fires. They are our ancestors, Oyate—The People.”
Learn more about the hardships endured by the Sioux Nation and the character of this resilient people as they survived incursions on their land and the westward expansion of the nation. click here and consider reading the history available in the two book set, The Thirty-Ninth Man and Tears of Sorrow. Both are available at your local library via the international distributor, Ingram, or to purchase your autographed copy online click here. Also available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
They are ideal Christmas gifts for those people that love to lose themselves in a good book.
At seventy-six, I’m at the beginning of a new chapter in a life filled with blessings from above, adventure, love of family, and kinships reaching into the heavens and to God himself. —AND— I love to tell a story.