Cankpe Opi Wakpala (Wounded Knee Creek)

She had danced the Ghost Dance to restore her world to the way it was before the soldiers came, before her people were cornered onto tiny reservations whereas they had always roamed free. She had danced to bring back the buffalo, her husband, her relatives, her heroes. She longed to be with them again. In trance and visions she had seen the New Earth coming: an Earth where the grass grew, the wind blew, and the streams did not run red with blood. But as she lay dying, one of hundreds of men, women, and children shot down along Wounded Knee Creek in 1890, she realized that in bittersweet irony, her prayers have been answered. She was glad that Tashunka Witko (Crazy Horse) and Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull) were killed before this happened, before their spirits were broken, before they could rot away on a reservation. As the snow came down, froze her body and numbed her pain, she could see the sky open up, and White Buffalo Woman dancing in the clouds. She saw a land fresh and green, the prairie filled with buffalo, the campfires of happy villagers. She saw her dead loved ones smiling down upon her, and she knew she was coming home.

'Eighty-five years ago
the ghost dancers thought
that by dancing
they could change the earth.
We dance to change ourselves.
Only when we have done this
can we try to change the earth.
-Crow Dog, 1974-

(drawn in markers)

Cankpe Opi Wakpala (Wounded Knee Creek)

Copyright 2003 by Yumeni www.twilightvisions.com. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12 May 2010 07:46:41 -0400 .

 

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