Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Stands with a Fist original costume

 If you read westerns that involve Native Americans, you've probably seen the word "Tatanka" a lot.  I had the good fortune of visiting the site in South Dakota, financed by Kevin Costner in honor of his famous movie,Dances with Wolves.  Since my debut novel and a successor were set in the "sacred hills," Paha sapa, I was anxious to soak in as much as I could about an area I'd only imagined.  It was amazing and I took some pictures to share.

The first thing is the Tatanka (Buffalo) that met me at the doorway to this mini-museum.

The next thing was the amazing photo gallery that showed how White man destroyed the very animal that the Indians depended on for virtually everything.  Bladders were used as water receptacles as we use canteens, stomachs were used as cooking vessels by dropping hot stones into the content, sinew or tendons were used for sewing, bowstrings, and other things, and bones were used for scraping smooth the many hides that served as lodge coverings, blankets and clothings.  There is so much more to share but I'll post my pictures and hope you'll be as disgusted as I was.
Buffalo killed for sport
Buffalo skulls piled high as proof of the kill

And my favorite, besides the authentic costumes was the buffalo jump made of metal that showed one of the oldest manners in which Indian warriors collected only the animals they needed to survive:

As you can see, a presentation was involved by a lovely Lakota Woman who told interesting tales about her ancestors.  I wish I had gotten her name, but I only recall that when the Indians were forced to the reservation, they were told they must take a first and last name.  Her family wanted Lakota words meaning two buffalo, but were not allowed the Sioux words, but Two Buffalo is last name I will always respect.  When we left I had a sudden need to hug her and apologize for what my ancestors did to hers.  She was wonderful as she passed around the bladder, stomach, and bones as examples of necessities of her tribe.  The Black Hills are indeed sacred, and I understand more now than through my research why the Sioux wanted to hold on to them.

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