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Not so long ago ...
your numbers darkened the west
a noble profile of strength and pride
and the epitome of the innate, free, pioneering spirit
that your country was founded upon ...
It is said that single
groups of your kind painted the
plains in numbers that spanned from
state-to-state, as powerful and dominant as any
species that came before you ...
Yet in perfect balance
with nature, and not to the
detriment of the creatures with which
you shared that stark and majestic landscape.
But it would be ONE of those creatures ...
That affected that balance
to YOUR detriment and liability -
those brutal creatures were at once
more intelligent and more disgraceful in their selfish
intent to utilize to their benefit only ...
Everything that they came
into contact with, and you were
an easy and abundant target for their spoils.
These vain beings saw no end to your numbers, and endless
profit to their use and your abdication ...
Oh, some of those beings
who had come to their attainment
alongside you - the ones with burnished
and painted skin, respected and treated you as they
did their own ...
Taking only what was
needed for their survival and safety
leaving no portion underutilized ...
but larger of their number - the ones with bleached
skin who called you "Buffalo" ...
Those who had come from
a land unknown and asunder, took
your hides only, and left the rest ...
their horrid waste was left to bloat and rot and
stain the emerald grasses ...
They had no appreciation
for your noble and rugged beauty
no care for the crimes that they brought
upon you, no interest in ANYthing, other than
what put gold in their pockets ...
And so the streams and
rivers ran red with your remains
the once innumerable herds were pared
and chewed and whittled and hacked and slaughtered
for the sake their selfishness ...
Your skulls were stacked
in numbers that stole breath from
those who cared, your hides were washed and
worn and wasted on the further want of these pale beings
until you were nearly gone ...
Gone from the grand
lands that once groaned
with the thunder of your hooves, until
the masses of dark majesty that had once flooded the
prairies, became speckled and sparse.
For those of us who now
look back with shame and regret
at the devastation and abomination that
our kind wrought upon you, I am deeply, soulfully sorry and
heartily penitent for our crime ...
I, and many others like me
shall hereby endeavor to always
regard you with admiration and wonder
and do our best to teach the generations to come of your
grand nobility and stately stature ...
You, Mighty Tatonka.
~ 3rd Place ~ in the "Native American Lore" Poetry Contest, Frank Herrera, Judge & Sponsor.
Copyright © Gregory R Barden | Year Posted 2017
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