Tuesday, March 5, 2013
"The Colour of Blood"
"The love of home and native land was strong enough in the minds of these people to induce them to brave every peril to return and live and die where they had been reared."~Judge Elmer Dundy
They saw him rising slowly from his seat, and they could see the eagle feather in the braided hair wrapped in otter fur, the bold blue shirt trimmed in red cloth, the blue flannel leggings and deerskin moccasins, the red and blue blanket, the Thomas Jefferson medallion, the necklace of bear claws. When he got to the front, he stopped and faced the audience, and extended the right hand, holding it still for a long time. After a while, it is said, he turned to the judge and the large crowd by Bright Eyes.
"That hand is not the colour of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same colour as yours. I am a man. The same God made us both."
"I seem to stand on the bank of the river. My wife and little girl are beside me. In front the river is wide and impassable." He sees there are steep cliffs all around, the waters rapidly rising. In desperation, he scans the cliffs and finally spots a steep, rocky path to safety. " I turn to my wife and child with a shout that we are saved. We will return to the Swift Running Water that pours down between the green islands. They are the graves of my fathers."
So they hurriedly climb the path, getting closer and closer to safety, the waters rushing in behind them. "But a man bars the passage...If he says that I cannot pass, I cannot. The long struggle will have been in vain. My wife and child and I must return and sink beneath the flood. We are weak and faint and sick. I cannot fight." Standing Bear stopped and turned, facing the judge, speaking softly.
"You are that man."
In the crowded courtroom, no one spoke or moved for several moments. After a while, a few women could be heard crying in the back and some of the people up closer could see that the frontier judge had temporarily lost his composure and that the general, too, was leaning forward on the table, his hands covering his face. Soon, some people began to clap and a number of others started cheering, and then the general got up from his chair and went over and shook Standing Bear's hand, and before long, a number of others did the same.
The court was adjourned shortly after ten o'clock on a warm Spring evening on the second of May, 1879.
~ Chief Standing Bear
~From "I AM A MAN";
by Joe Starita
5 March, 2013