Land of the Spotted Eagle

By Luther Standing Bear | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
HUNTER, SCOUT, WARRIOR

IN THE natural course of events every Lakota boy became a hunter, scout, or warrior. It was necessary that every boy should choose one of the three callings and by the time he had reached early manhood he was ready, by training, to follow the one for which he seemed most fitted. The selection was his.

Not every young man became all three -- hunter, scout, and warrior -- in one. The bravest warrior was not always the best scout nor was the best scout necessarily a good hunter. Some men possessed special ability as scouts and followed scouting almost exclusively. Then there were men who developed into expert hunters and rode fearlessly into a herd of buffalo in mad flight, yet when it came to facing an enemy in battle they were not the foremost.

Most young men at some time in their lives tried to become medicine-men. They purified themselves and held the vigil hoping for direct communion with spirit powers, but in this few succeeded.

To become a great brave was, however, the highest aspiration. At the same time it imposed upon the young man the greatest efforts. Not only must he have great physical bravery and fighting prowess, but he must meet the severest tests of character. The great brave was a man of strict honor, undoubted truthfulness, and unbounded generosity. He was strong enough to part with his last horse or weapon and his last bit of food. In conduct he never forgot pride and dignity, accepting praise and honor and wearing fine regalia without arrogance. To endure pain, to bear the scars of life and battle, to defy the ele-

-39-

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Land of the Spotted Eagle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Notes xiv
  • Preface xv
  • Explanatory Note xix
  • Contents xxi
  • Illustrations xxiii
  • Introduction xxv
  • Chapter I - Cradle Days 1
  • Chapter II - Boyhood 13
  • Chapter III - Hunter, Scout, Warrior 39
  • Chapter IV - Home and Family 83
  • Chapter V - Civil Arrangements: Bands, Chiefs, Lodges 120
  • Chapter VI - Social Customs 148
  • Chapter VII - Indian Wisdom 192
  • Chapter VIII - Later Days 226
  • Chapter IX - What the Indian Means to America 247
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