Sunday, March 23, 2008

Miller’s Custer’s Fall

I took great delight in reading about the last true (free) battle for the Great Sioux Nation, but we all know what happened afterwards so...the glory is tainted with melancholy. I didn’t take many quotes from the book - there’s a couple, but I focused primarily on the translated Lakota text (which I’m trying to learn). I’ve read different interpretations for some of these words; I’ve included those in parenthesis. And I rarely do this, but I documented the page number for the actual quotations.

Custer’s Fall: The Native American Side of the Story
David Humphreys Miller
Pg. 26:
"Sioux and Cheyenne women in the Little Big Horn camp might well have laughed at their white sisters’ clamor for recognition in matters with which females were not normally concerned. Never their husbands chattel as commonly supposed, Indian women exerted tremendous influence within their own sphere of activities."

hanblake oloan / hanbleoklake - Sioux prayer for advanced knowledge; Sitting Bulls prayer, as reported by One Bull: "Wakan Tanka {Great Mystery}, hear me and pity me! I offer you his pipe in the name of my people. Save them. We want to live! Guard them against all misfortune and danger, I beg you. Take pity on us!"

pte - "buffalo"

hoka hey (hoka heya) - "call to battle" (call of elation; prior to the white man’s invasion, used for a myriad of events, including successful hunts and rituals)

wasicun - "whites;" "You can’t get rid of them" (often interpreted as "eater of fat" or "fat-eater" - a reference to the white culture’s disregard for the Earth and life on it, as well as their greed; sometimes misinterpreted as "crazy man," "idiot," or "fool")

Walking Blanket Woman/Mary Crawler - Ogalala (Oglala) girl who "wore full war dress;" her "brother was killed at Rosebud;" she "carried his war staff and fought as hard as any male warrior;" "was afterwards permitted to take a man’s part in all war dances;" died in 1936

ota - "plenty" or "many"

azinpi - "teat" or "nipple"

wasicun sapa - "black white man;" the term for those of African descent

mni wakan - "holy water;" whiskey

Pg. 176:
"Individuality, not regimentation, was the Indian way."

henala - "enough"

Pg. 194:
"In numb bewilderment the Sioux turned lamely to follow the white man’s road. The old way had vanished sharply soon after Little Big Horn. Now even the dream of the old life was ended. The power of the sacred hoop of the universe - which had always bound the people together with earth and sky - was broken forever."

Pebin Hanska Ktepi - 1876, "they killed Long Hair (Custer)"

Pg. 218:
"Among the Sioux and Cheyenne, women usually ruled the camp. They owned the tepees and furnishings and many of the horses as well. The men generally did pretty much as the women wanted...The rank of a family depended as much upon the sensibility and morality of its womenfolk as it did upon the generosity and bravery of its men."

Heyokan Iowan - "thunder song"

Tetons - main western division of Sioux Nation

Hunkpapas - "cutthroats"
Sihasapas - "Blackfeet"
Minneconjous - "Those-Who-Plant-by-the-Water"
Itazipchos - Sansarcs - "No-Bows"
Sichangus - Brules - "Burnt Thighs"
Oohenonpas - "Two Kettles"
Ogalala/Oglala - "Those-Who-Stand-in-the-Middle"

Santee - Dakota - southeastern division of Sioux Nation
Yankton-Assiniboin - northern division of Sioux Nation
All Sioux call themselves Allies - in their speech: Lakota, among the Teton tribes; Dakota, among the Santees; Nakota, among the Yankton-Assiniboins

Pg. 224:
"Sioux is a French contraction of the Chippewa word Nadowessioux - meaning ’enemy.’ The name has stuck, however, and the Allies have long been known to the whites as the Sioux."

tiyospaye - "extended family group;" clans or bands

parfleches - painted, rawhide bags used inside tepee for storage

Pg. 288:
"The disciplining of children was mild. The usual way of securing obedience from a child was to frighten him or splash him with water. Ridicule was often the most effective deterrent to misbehaving. Beating, or even slapping, was rare. Indians considered it wrong to resort to corporal punishment and thought white parents treated their offspring like enemies when they struck them. Children were allowed to learn their own lesons without parental restraint."

Pg. 229:
"...Indians lived by the axion that no single person should endanger the people, that no individual should lure and enemy of drive away game by unnecessary sound."

Pg 229:
"The tribes recognized four cardinal virtues: Generosity, Bravery, Moral Integrity, and Fortitude. Four sins were regarded as unpardonable:

1. To permit anyone to go hungry.
2. To lose one’s eldest son in battle.
3. To permit the baby of a dead mother to cry from hunger.
4. To return alone from war after one’s comrades have all been slain.

Pg. 231:
hanble cheyapi - "crying for a vision;" ritual where young men stood barefoot on the skull of a buffalo and faced the sun constantly from sunrise to sunset, without food or drunk, and with only four brief rest periods all during the day. If by ightfall no vision had come, the eeker was compelled to take the heavy skull to a nearby river, plant it on the bottom, and stand on it in chest-deep water all through the night."

Pg. 232:
"Any illness might be cured by bathing the patient in the purifying smoke of a fire made from sweet grass, sweet pine, juniper needles, pulverized mushrooms or toadstool, and powdered bitterroot."

Tunkan / Tunkasila - "Grandfather;" often used in reference to "God"

Issiwun - "Buffalo Head" or "Buffalo Hat"

Akicita - "soldiers;"

War Societies: Kit Foxes, Crow Owners, Badgers, White Marks, Bare Lance Owners, Owl Feathers, White Horse Riders, and Strong Hearts. Silent Eaters, confined to the Hunkpapa tribe.

Dream Society - men who shared same/similar dream of one animal from which they derived power. Principal of these were the elk and buffalo.

heyoka - "joker" or "contrary;" Thunderbird was spirit animal; were often apprentices to medicine men; did everything backwards (said good morning at night; wore clothes backwards). [My thoughts: similar to court jesters in Medieval Europe].

Pg. 239:
"Among all Plains tribes, hermaphrodites were thought of as a source of good luck around a camp or, occasionally, in a war party."

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