I am an old woman now. The buffaloes and black-tail deer
are gone, and our Indian ways are almost gone. Sometimes I
find it hard to believe that I ever lived them.
My little son grew up in the white man's school. He can read
books, and he owns cattle and has a farm. He is a leader among
our Hidatsa people, helping teach them to follow the white
He is kind to me. We no longer live in an earth lodge, but
in a house with chimneys, and my son's wife cooks by a shove.
But for me, I cannot forget our old ways.
Often in summer I rise at daybreak and steal out to the corn
fields, and as I hoe the corn I sing to it, as we did when
I was young. No one cares for our corn songs now.
Sometimes in the evening I sit, looking out on the big Missouri.
The sun sets, and dusk steals over the water. In the shadows
I see again to see our Indian village, with smoke curling
upward from the earth lodges, and in the river's roar I hear
the yells of the warriors, and the laughter of little children
It is but an old woman's dream. Then I see but shadows and
hear only the roar of the river, and tears come into my eyes.
Our Indian life, I know, is gone forever.
Waheenee - Hidatsa (North Dakota)