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Two Tongues

American History is at times embellished
Consequently it's sometimes wrongly cherished
John Wayne simply portrayed the Hollywood view
He fought make-believe battles all life through
From the Alamo - to World War II

But it is in the Native American domain
That myth is portrayed to be most profane
The Indian brave is blatantly misrepresented
Truth was bent to the advantage of Daniel Boone
So much of history is still cocooned

For American Aboriginals had hearts and souls
With family pride and sacred goals
A grace and pride that reaches back in time
"Wakan Tankan Nici Un" in Cherokee
Means - May the Great Spirit walk with thee

Geronimo went on to say
"Yigaquu osaniyu adanvto adadoligi
nigohilvi nasquv utloyasdi nihi"
"May the Great Spirit always give you blessings"
Hardly the chant of a crazed assassin

They believed in one God
With the philosophy - that was clearly stated
"Ho! Mitakuye Oyasin" "We Are All Related -
our Earthly meeting is surly fated"

For after all is said and done
"Under the sky - all living things are one"
Yes - Geronimo - of Apache fame
Said "God meant us all to be the same" -

"There is one God looking down on all"
This Apache Chief - was no ones fool
But soldiers killed his wife - and then his child
It's little wonder he went wild

Yes, when the white man came, there was a rout
Because they tried to wipe his people out
It's no wonder he suddenly went insane
And he attacked and burnt the wagon trains

So if Indians speak of peace and Love
And worship just one God above
Has Hollywood got its' philosophy right?
Were all Indians only born to fight?

Is popular history out of stride
As it seems to take the white mans side
Has the Indian been properly portrayed
Or have Indian virtues been betrayed

When foreigners first arrived from their voyage
Tired, starving and overwrought
Indians came forth, not to fight
but helped the white man in his plight

They came out of the forest to share their food -
This resulting in a festive mood
And it is written that there was enough for all
At the first "Thanks Giving" in that fall

But soon contentment turned to greed
As the white man began to spread his seed
Plunder and rape became the white man's way
The Indians really had no say

Gold prospecting and gambling . . .
Liquor and undue land claims
For the Indians there was no safe haven
And the teepees all went up in flames

When pioneers began to take Indian land
Their blood soon stained the sun-bleached sand
The soldiers were sent to put things right
But they only helped - if you were white

And few white men of the time
Had "walked a mile in native shoes"
To understand what he'd been through
And appreciate his point of view -

And the American Government of the day
Aided and abetted all the way-
And for the lowly Indian - which they helped maim
They shunned the blame - quickly rejecting the Redman's claim

So soldiers help the pioneer
And soon the official policy was clear
It was take, take, take - without any giving
And they did their best to stop the Redman living

Yet the Indians really lived as one with nature
Never cut green branches with a knife
Kill only to eat and use dead wood for cooking
All living things are a part of life

Whilst the white man cut the forests and polluted the air
For a balanced nature they did not care
The Indians had been the custodians of the land
But conversely - the white man didn't give a damn

In the Indian Wars Geronimo proclaimed
"We are all children of one God -
The Great Spirit cannot think we are no use
He would not have created us simply for abuse"

There is an Indian creed which believes
Ever present in the Sun, the darkness, and the wind,
God is listening to what we say.
That's Indian thinking and the Indian way

"When you were born - You cried - And the World rejoiced -
Then live your life in such a way
That when you die - nothing is remiss
And - The World will cry - Whilst you feel bliss"

A hundred plus tribes used to ride the plains
All with a simple philosophy lived in their veins
In tune with nature - like yin and yang
And one Great Spirit whose praise they sang

There was Buffalo, water, grass for feed
There was nothing more for them to need
Fresh air, forests, mountains and no pollution
To live with nature was their solution

Shawnee, Chippewa Mohawk Navajo Cherokee
All poetic - free spirit names are these
Choctaw, Iowa, Sioux Skakopee Shakopee
All very soon lost their liberty

Crow, Cheyenne, and then Blackfeet
Had no choice but to retreat
Now memories living in mournful songs
But sadly many of these tribes are gone

But stories of the Lakota at "Broken Knee "
Can never be ignored or washed away
And the Cherokee on the "Trail of Tears"
Are still remembered - after all these years

The Native American - were openly abused
because Washington could not afford to lose
The Shoshone, Arapaho and then Apache
Were shoot against the wall heralded by the U.S. bugle call

Choctaw, Comanche, Kiowa
As the list goes on it gets hard to see -
Through the river of tears
That is Native American History

Pawnee, Wichita, Navajo
How could the invaders sink so low
Black Elk the Sioux Holy Man lamented
For him the circle of life had been all that mattered

And this spiritual man proclaimed
that Indian Nations hoop was broken
and its people scattered

He said "our dead never would forget
The beautiful world that gave them being."
"The rivers, the mountains, the lakes and bays
That the white man came to take away -

"And when the last Red Man has perished
and the memory of my people becomes . . .
just myth portrayed in the white mans lies
These shores will throng
with the invisible dead of my tribe..."

But truth will win out - and its no myth
that Elk expressed and here described
First in Indian dance, then documentation
He has made indelible the history of his proud nation

Ironically when Lieutenant Custer disobeyed his orders
And attacked instead of favoring peace
And sealed the fate of the Indian race
He made "The Little Big Horn" his last disaster

Outnumbered by the combined Indian Nation
Bent on revenge for the many Indian deaths
And protecting the tens of thousands in their camp
Two Thousand plus warriors came from every side

There was no stopping Crazy Horse and Chief Hunkapa
Leading the Cheyenne, plus Sans Arcs, Miniconjoux
Oglala Sioux, Blackfeet and the Sioux,
It took twenty minutes to annihilate "Yellow Hairs" Cavalry

Reno and Benteen arrived far too late
Finally sealing Custer fate -
But this massacre took away all sympathy
And Custer's Ghost got revenge at "Wounded Knee"

The Politicians plans for peace - took on a frown
And orders came to hunt the Indian down
Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull - and White Feather
All names that will surely live forever

All part of history of which they can be proud
But better you don't speak too loud
For the invisible dead are not far away
And ghosts might come to have their say

On yesteryear's stories of -
"The American Way"

Albert Gazeley ©2004

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