Colin F. Jones

THE GHOST DANCE OF WOVOKA

In the cold Chinook wind they sat,
Listening to the prairie dogs bark,
The rime of heavy frost on their lodge poles,
As the winter night grew dark.

The Ogallala Sioux dreamed of a Messiah,
For he had come to them before
In total eclipse as the moon rose higher,
Erased by the light of the suns repour

Wovoka was in a trance when he died,
But the Great Spirit had ordered his return,
To talk to them and banish all lies,
Bring goodness and new things to learn

So the ghost dances began in a frenzy,
The tribes fasting of food and water,
“We must dance to balance the moon
Till the Earth shivers from its own slaughter.”

“At the point of all the four winds,
Our heavenly Father has set us his mark
A reference to all tribal things,
Vivid realistic and stark”

“The clay pipe which marks the Cheyenne,
The Holy Arrow in the north for them too,
When the sun rises, the hail is there,
Telling the Arapaho what they must do”

“There lies a pipe and nice feather in the south,
Representing the Crow tribe today,
As we gather where the tree sprouts alive,
At Pass Creek all naked I say.”

Sitting Bull the great chief of the Sioux,
Was mistakenly blamed for the Messiah,
And was murdered as the frenzy grew,
By Indian Police the white men had hired.

Big Foot the Chief of the Cheyenne,
Gathered together what was left of the tribes,
And as ‘back to the reservation’ began,
He was arrested though he had but tried.

So the tribes headed off for the hills,
Of the Badlands followed by 7th cavalry men,
To Wounded Knee where the fresh water spills,
Where they finally caught up to them.

In a blizzard of snow and cold air,
They were massacred, man woman and child,
With Hotchkiss guns killed without care,
Slaughtered and cruelly defiled.

They fought them, the defenceless tribes,
Alongside their women and old,
Supported by children who tried,
To defend the Indian soul.

But they died under the blaze of the guns,
Defenceless but brave to the end,
They fought for their Mothers and sons,
For their ancestors on whom they depend.

Have they gone now the red warriors with time,
Vanished from the plains and the hills?
Or do they still live in spiritual rhyme,
With a destiny yet to be filled?

The plains and the canyons are silent,
The wind on the prairie is thin,
Gone is the magnificent giant;
The brave warrior mighty and grim

The coyote howls in the mountains,
And the rivers flow down to the plain,
And there on a bend in the river,
Is a camp where some Indians remain.

Smoke spirals towards the great heavens,
And there a proud God looks down,
He counts only sixes and sevens,
And though his forehead is creased with a frown,

He smiles for his children are forthright,
Still complementing the hills and the plains,
As the moon blocks the face of the sunlight,
There is thunder, and down falls the rains.