Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition

By John G. Neihardt | Go to book overview

10 WALKING THE BLACK ROAD

We stayed in that country near the Bighorn Mountains for about a moon, maybe a little more. My father told me all the fighting had not done any good, because the Hang-Around-the-Fort people were getting ready to sell the Black Hills to the Wasichu anyway, and that more soldiers were coming to fight us. He said that Three Stars was on Goose Creek and that many other soldiers were up on the Yellowstone, and that these would come together and have us between them.1

Some of our people had been leaving us, a few at a time, and going in to live at the agencies the Wasichus had made.2 But there were many of us left, and so we started with all our ponies to get away from the soldiers.3

We traveled in a very long line down the Rosebud and camped where the river flows through between high bluffs. Then we moved on down stream to where we had the big sun dance before the rubbing out of Long Hair. The soldiers had come through that way, and the holy place was all cut up with shod hoofs and made dirty with horse droppings. Then we moved on down stream to a sacred place where there is a big rock bluff right beside the water, and high up on this bluff pictures used to appear, foretelling something important that was going to happen soon.4 There was a picture on it then, of many soldiers hanging head downward; and the people said it was there before the rubbing out of Long Hair. I do not know; but it was there then, and it did not seem that anybody could get up that high to make a picture.5

We moved over to the Tongue River and camped a little while. When we were there, scouts came in and said that a big fire-boat* had come up the

* Steamboat. [Wáta phéta ‘fire boat.’—RDM]

-81-

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