Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition

By John G. Neihardt | Go to book overview

5 AT THE SOLDIERS’ TOWN

After all the meat was dried, the six bands* of our nation that had come together about the time when the great vision came to me, broke camp at the mouth of Willow Creek and scattered in all directions. A small part of our band, the Ogalalas, started south for the Soldiers’ Town on Smoky Earth River (the White), for some of our relatives were there and we wanted to see them and have a feast of aguiapi and paezhuta sapa with chahumpi ska in it. All the rest of the Ogalalas stayed in the country with Crazy Horse, who would have nothing to do with the Wasichus. This was late in the Moon When the Cherries are Ripe (July)1 and we boys had a good time playing. There were not many boys in our small band, and we all played together. I had quit thinking about my vision. The queer feeling had left me and I was not bashful any more; but whenever a thunder storm was coming I felt happy, as though somebody were coming to visit me.

We camped first on Powder River, then on the headwaters of the north fork of Good River (the Cheyenne) where there is a big butte that we called Sits-With-Young-One, because it has a little butte beside it.2 Then

* Ogalalas, Brules, Sans Arcs, Black Kettles, Hunkpapas, Minneconjous. [The Lakotas comprised seven major divisions, not six; although these groups are frequently referred to as bands, they are more accurately designated as independent tribes. Here, Neihardt has merged the Blackfoot Sioux and Two Kettles into a single group.—RDM]

† Fort Robinson. [Camp (later Fort) Robinson was established March 8, 1874, at Red Cloud Agency, near present Crawford, Nebraska (Prucha, Military Posts of the United States, 102). The Lakota name for the White River is Makhízita wakpá, ‘smoking earth river.’—RDM]

‡ Aguiapi, ‘brown all over,’ bread. Paezhuta sapa, ‘black medicine,’ coffee. Chahumpi ska, ‘white juice of the tree,’ sugar. [Agúyapi; phežúta sápa; châh

pi ska.—RDM]

-38-

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