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Standing Bear's speech




Stories Worth Rereading > Standing Bear's Speech | Various
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Standing Bear’s Speech

from The Indian Journal

The first time an Indian was permitted to appear in court in this country and have his rights tried was in the year 1879. Previous to this every Indian in the United States was subject to the orders of the Secretary of the Interior. If he happened to be a man of a tyrannical nature, the Indians fared hard. One Secretary of the Interior had caused all the Poncas Indians to be driven, at the point of bayonet, from northern Nebraska down to Indian Territory, depriving them of lands to which they held government deeds. They were left in the new country for months without rations, and more than one third of them died. Among these was the son of Standing Bear. The old chief refused to have the boy buried in the strange country, and, gathering about thirty members of his tribe together, he started for their ancient hunting-grounds, intending to bury his boy where generations of the Poncas chiefs lay.

The Secretary of the Interior heard of the runaways, and through the War Department telegraphed to General Crook, of Omaha, to arrest the Indians, and return them to Indian Territory. So General Crook arrested Standing Bear and his followers, and took them all, with the old wagon that contained the body of the dead boy, down to Omaha.

Standing Bear told his story to the general, who was already familiar with many wrongs that had been committed against the Indians, and who was indignant at their treatment. He detained the Indians at Omaha until he consulted with a Mr. Tibbles, an editor of a newspaper. They agreed to espouse the cause of the Indians, securing to Standing Bear a trial in the United States court. It was the most notable trial ever brought in the West, and, in fact, the scope was as wide as any ever tried in this country; for upon its decision one hundred thousand persons were made citizens.

Mr. Tibbles, who attended every session of the court, describes what took place, in the following words:

The court room was crowded with fashionably dressed women; and the clergy, which had been greatly stirred by the incident, were there in force. Lawyers, every one in Nebraska, and many from the big Eastern cities; business men; General Crook and his staff in their dress uniforms (this was one of the few times in his life that Crook wore full dress in public); and the Indians themselves, in their gaudy colors. The court room was a galaxy of brilliancy.

On one side stood the army officers, the brilliantly dressed women, and the white people; on the other was standing Bear, in his official robes as chief of the Poncas, and with him were his leading men. Far back in the audience, shrinking from observation, was an Indian girl, who afterward became famous as a lecturer in England and America. She was later known on both continents by a translation of her Indian name, In-sta-the-am-ba, Bright Eyes.

Attorney Poppleton’s argument was carefully prepared, and consumed sixteen hours in the delivering, occupying the attention of the court for two days. On the third day Mr. Webster spoke for six hours. And during all the proceedings, the court room was packed with the beauty and culture of the city.

Toward the close of the trial, the situation became tense. As the wrongs inflicted on the Indians were described by the attorneys, indignation was often at white heat, and the judge made no attempt to suppress the applause which broke out from time to time. For the department, Mr. Lambertson made a short address, but was listened to in complete silence.

It was late in the afternoon when the trial drew to a close. The excitement had been increasing, but it reached a height not before attained when Judge Dundy announced that Chief Standing Bear would be allowed to make a speech in his own behalf. Not one in the audience besides the army officers and Mr. Tibbles had ever heard an oration by an Indian. All of them had read of the eloquence of Red Jacket and Logan, and they sat there wondering if the mild-looking old man, with the lines of suffering and sorrow on his brow and cheek, dressed in the full robes of an Indian chief, could make a speech at all. It happened that there was a good interpreter present—one who was used to “chief talk.”

Standing Bear arose. Half facing the audience, he held out his right hand, and stood motionless so long that the stillness of death which had settled down on the audience, became almost unbearable. At last, looking up at the judge, he said:

“That hand is not the color of yours, but if I prick it, the blood will flow, and I shall feel pain. The blood is of the same color as yours. God made me, and I am a man. I never committed any crime. If I had, I would not stand here to make a defense. I would suffer the punishment and make no complaint.”

Still standing half facing the audience, he looked past the judge, out of the window, as if gazing upon something far in the distance, and continued:

“I seem to be standing on a high bank of a great river, with my wife and little girl at my side. I cannot cross the river, and impassable cliffs arise behind me. I hear the noise of great waters; I look, and see a flood coming. The waters rise to our feet, and then to our knees. My little girl stretches her hands toward me and says, ‘Save me.’ I stand where no member of my race ever stood before. There is no tradition to guide me. The chiefs who preceded me knew nothing of the circumstances that surround me. I hear only my little girl say, ‘Save me.’ In despair I look toward the cliffs behind me, and I seem to see a dim trail that may lead to a way of life. But no Indian ever passed over that trail. It looks to be impassable. I make the attempt.

“I take my child by the hand, and my wife follows after me. Our hands and our feet are torn by the sharp rocks, and our trail is marked by our blood. At last I see a rift in the rocks. A little way beyond there are green prairies. The swift-running water, the Niobrara, pours down between the green hills. There are the graves of my fathers. There again we will pitch our teepee and build our fires. I see the light of the world and of liberty just ahead.”

The old chief became silent again, and, after an appreciable pause, he turned toward the judge with such a look of pathos and suffering on his face that none who saw it will forget it, and said:

“But in the center of the path there stands a man. Behind him I see soldiers in number like the leaves of the trees. If that man gives me the permission, I may pass on to life and liberty. If he refuses, I must go back and sink beneath the flood.”

Then, in a lower tone, “You are that man.”

There was silence in the court as the old chief sat down. Tears ran down over the judge’s face. General Crook leaned forward and covered his face with his hands. Some of the ladies sobbed.

All at once that audience, by one common impulse, rose to its feet, and such a shout went up as was never heard in a Nebraska court room. No one heard Judge Dundy say, “Court is dismissed.” There was a rush for Standing Bear. The first to reach him was General Crook. I was second. The ladies flocked around him, and for an hour Standing Bear had a reception.


A few days afterward Judge Dundy handed down his famous decision, in which he announced that an Indian was a “person,” and was entitled to the protection of the law. Standing Bear and his followers were set free; and, with his old wagon and the body of the dead child, he went back to the hunting-grounds of his fathers, and buried the body with tribal honors.


Four events in 1969 I'll never forget


I said good-bye to the war....


Typical ambiance during the Second Indochina War



My tenure in the (late) Republic of Viet Nam during the Second Indochina War included part-time work in a civilian capacity for Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support, an organization operating under the protective political cover of the U.S. Agency for International Development. My full-time job involved enlistment in the U.S. Air Force Security Service, 6924th Security Squadron, near Da Nang Air Base. I was a Radio Intercept Analysis Specialist, RI20250-1. This identity card (fingerprints on the reverse) used to be medium green in color, but has faded over time. But then, I've faded as well.



Pan American Airways took me back to the States.



I moved to Portland, Oregon....


Mount Hood guards the eastern approaches to Portland.



The "counterculture" had established itself.



Those were the days of eight-column newspapers.



Humans went to the Moon....


S69-39526 (16 July 1969) --- The huge, 363-feet tall Apollo 11 (Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module 5/Saturn 506) space vehicle is launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39 Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT), July 16, 1969. Onboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft were astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 is the United States first lunar landing mission. Astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin will descend in the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the moon, while astronaut Collins remains with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit.



The lunar module [LM] was a two-stage vehicle designed for space operations near and on the Moon. The spacecraft mass of 15,065 kg was the mass of the LM including astronauts, propellants and expendables. The dry mass of the ascent stage was 2180 kg and it held 2639 kg of propellant. The descent stage dry mass was 2034 kg and 8212 kg of propellant were onboard initially. The ascent and descent stages of the LM operated as a unit until staging, when the ascent stage functioned as a single spacecraft for rendezvous and docking with the command and service module (CSM). The descent stage comprised the lower part of the spacecraft and was an octagonal prism 4.2 meters across and 1.7 m thick. Four landing legs with round footpads were mounted on the sides of the descent stage and held the bottom of the stage 1.5 m above the surface. The distance between the ends of the footpads on opposite landing legs was 9.4 m. One of the legs had a small astronaut egress platform and ladder. A one meter long conical descent engine skirt protruded from the bottom of the stage. The descent stage contained the landing rocket, two tanks of aerozine 50 fuel, two tanks of nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer, water, oxygen and helium tanks and storage space for the lunar equipment and experiments. The descent stage served as a platform for launching the ascent stage and was left behind on the Moon.



The mission's Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) took place on 20 July 1969. Lunar Module Pilot Aldrin made this photograph with a Hasselblad 500 Electric Data Camera; Commander Armstrong is working at the Lunar Module's Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA). This is the only photograph of Armstrong made during the EVA.



Sharon Tate and others were murdered....


Sharon Marie Tate (1943-1969). "I honestly don't understand the big fuss made over nudity and sex in films. It's silly. On TV, the children can watch people murdering each other, which is a very unnatural thing, but they can't watch two people in the very natural process of making love. Now, really, that doesn't make any sense, does it?"



Sharon was athletic, fluent in Italian, shy, well liked, well read, well traveled, witty. Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was her final read. Sharon loved animals, life, people, the universe ... and then she was gone.



The murders took place on 9 August 1969 at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. In addition to Sharon and her unborn child—who would have been named Paul Richard Polanski—Abigail Anne Folger (1943-1969), Wojciech Frykowski (1936-1969), Thomas John Kummer a.k.a. Jay Sebring (1933-1969) and Steven Earl Parent (1951-1969) were murdered at the house on Cielo Drive.


I've no doubt those last two events will seem like quaint folklore to many of you, but they were electrifying at the time. I still become upset whenever I think of Sharon Tate and her friends who were murdered via a useless low-life shitbag's dementia.


JOE'S HOLIDAY CAMP BECKONS


Yes, dear friends, it's happening again:  I remain unable to keep up with correspondence here, so I'm taking yet another break from deviantART.  I've switched off receipt of all Activity, Critiques, Deviations, Forum Threads, Journals and Scraps.  Send a Note if you wish to reach me.  I'll be back!

Please forgive my delinquency, those of you who've sent thoughtful communications to which I've not replied!  I love you all.



So, how about a nice foreboding albeit optimistic poem?

Mushrooms

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

— Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) from The Colossus and Other Poems (London:  William Heinemann, 1960)


mushroom village by inmc

  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Carpenters 'Rainy Days and Mondays' 1971
  • Reading: Schlosser 'Command and Control' 2013
  • Watching: Eastwood 'Letters from Iwo Jima' 2006
  • Playing: The Hiding Game
  • Eating: Mystery meat
  • Drinking: Coffee

deviantID

LayaboutJoe's Profile Picture
LayaboutJoe
Joseph A. Haran, Jr.
United States
I was born at New York city and have lived in various places both Occidental and Oriental. Subjectively-chosen highlights: U.S. Air Force Security Service, 1965-69; University of Oregon School of Journalism, B.Sc., 1973; Lane County Chapter, Vietnam Veterans Against the War; worked in positions of increasing responsibility within the journalistic media of magazines, newspapers, radio and television; retired.


NOW FOR SOMETHING (NOT) COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
PHILATELICALLY SPEAKING

DeviantART Stamps: Immediately below are "stamps"—made by artists who are members of this Web site—depicting a few of my favorite things. This collection will grow, in the fullness of time.



Interests

Critiques

Forest song by Redilion

:iconredilion:'s Forest song encapsulates present-day Ukrainian realities through use of an image inspired by a dramatic folkloric play of the same...

Lissi



Please click on the image to view its full size.
Lissi

Lissi was my feline hostess whilst I was at Reading in the U.K. during my "European Tour" of 2008. Lissi died in her sleep on Sunday, 17th March 2013. She was a wonderful person and I shall always miss her, even though our relationship was all too brief.

Visitors

:iconsoloist135:
soloist135
Sep 2, 2014
8:08 pm
:iconareodus:
Areodus
Sep 2, 2014
6:08 pm
:iconalcyone07:
Alcyone07
Sep 2, 2014
2:20 pm
:iconsittingbuddha:
SittingBuddha
Sep 2, 2014
10:47 am
:iconmikaboum:
mikaboum
Sep 2, 2014
10:26 am

Groups

Webcam

'YouTube' recording quality


You can see, via the audio-visual file below, what level of quality YouTube affords its customers who choose to record on YouTube's own Web site. Imagine you're screening a beat-up 16-millimeter sound film, projected on the wall by a noisy old projector; and further imagine the film's sprocket holes are all torn up, so the sprocket wheels can't engage properly and synchronization is continuously lost.



Ta da! See what I mean? Never mind that the subject matter isn't exactly riveting; but even such a tedious presentation as this deserves better technical treatment by YouTube. Nevertheless I'm leaving it just the way it is, since it reinforces my old-man image.

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Alcyone07 Featured By Owner 7 hours ago
thank you for the fav
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Thanks for the Fav 
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awesome43 Featured By Owner 3 days ago
Just coming by to give you a great big :iconhug1plz:
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Thanks for the fave! :)
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TEAofeyes Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for faving my illustration (:  Pixel Rose Hug 2
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Thanks for the favorite! :)
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Thanks for the favourites! ^7^
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JMinecrafterGirl Featured By Owner 4 days ago  New member Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the favourite! I am happy you like my art. :)
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Managodess Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks for all the faves~
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TheAncynt Featured By Owner 4 days ago  New member Professional General Artist
I've have a feeling... you're still feeling young ^^
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LayaboutJoe Featured By Owner 4 days ago

It's true, I still appreciate beauty in this tired old world of ours.

:iconthumbplz:
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TheAncynt Featured By Owner 4 days ago  New member Professional General Artist
^^
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Thank you for the favorites! I'm glad you enjoyed them :aww:
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alimuse Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks so much for the favorites on my fresh bread photos!
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Thank you for the fave.
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Thank you very much for favoriting, No Difference! :)
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Thank you for the fave...much appreciated!
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Dragonrose36 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
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wooow thank you for favs
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Glad you like my photo. Thanks :)
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thanks for the fave :)
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Fav by Nniicole
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thanks for the fav ^^
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thank you for tha fave on my cosplay :33
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