Poetry about our Native Americans
Del "Abe" Jones
Abe - The Poor Man's Poet

"Mankind's greatest accomplishment
is not the revolution of technology,
it is the evolution of creativity."
© 1984 Del "Abe" Jones

A poet knows not day or night
And not always wrong from right
But without the poet's written word
Think of all we mightn't heard.

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce


CHIEF SEATTLE'S 1854 ORATION (incomplete)



The whites honor the "Hermitage"
And the man who once lived there -
But, that leader of our Nation
Was cruel, unjust, unfair -
He ordered the removal
Of the Cherokee from their land
And forced them on a trek
That the Devil must have planned -
One thousand miles of misery -
Of pain and suffering -
Because greed of the white man
Could not even wait till spring -
We should bow our heads in shame
Even unto this day
About "The Trail Of Tears"
And those who died along the way.
It was October, eighteen thirty-eight
When seven thousand troops in blue
Began the story of the "Trail"
Which, so sadly, is so true -
Jackson ordered General Scott
To rout the Indian from their home -
The "Center Of The World" they loved -
The only one they'd known -
The Braves working in the fields
Arrested, placed in a stockade -
Women and children dragged from home
In the bluecoats shameful raid -
Some were prodded with bayonets
When, they were deemed to move too slow
To where the Sky was their blanket
And the cold Earth, their pillow -
In one home a Babe had died
Sometime in the night before -
And women mourning, planning burial
Were cruelly herded out the door -
In another, a frail Mother -
Papoose on back and two in tow
Was told she must leave her home
Was told that she must go -
She uttered a quiet prayer -
Told the old family dog good-bye -
Then, her broken heart gave out
And she sank slowly down to die -
Chief Junaluska witnessed this -
Tears streaming down his face -
Said if he could have known this
It would have never taken place -
For, at the battle of Horse Shoe
With five hundred Warriors, his best -
Helped Andrew Jackson win that battle
And lay thirty-three Braves to rest -
And the Chief drove his tomahawk
Through a Creek Warrior's head
Who was about to kill Jackson -
But whose life was saved, instead -
Chief John Ross knew this story
And once sent Junaluska to plead -
Thinking Jackson would listen to
This Chief who did that deed -
But, Jackson was cold, indifferent
To the one he owed his life to
Said, "The Cherokee's fate is sealed -
There's nothing, I can do."
Washington, D.C. had decreed
They must be moved Westward -
And all their pleas and protests
To this day still go unheard.
On November, the seventeenth
Old Man Winter reared his head -
And freezing cold, sleet and snow
Littered that trail with the dead
On one night, at least twenty-two
Were released from their torment
To join that Great Spirit in the Sky
Where all good souls are sent -
Many humane, heroic stories
Were written 'long the way -
A monument, for one of them -
Still stands until this day -
It seems one noble woman
It was Chief Ross' wife -
Gave her blanket to a sick child
And in so doing, gave her life -
She is buried in an unmarked grave -
Dug shallow near the "Trail" -
Just one more tragic ending
In this tragic, shameful tale -
Mother Nature showed no mercy
Till they reached the end of the line
When that fateful journey ended
On March twenty-sixth, eighteen thirty-nine.
Each mile of this infamous "Trail"
Marks the graves of four who died -
Four thousand poor souls in all
Marks the shame we try to hide -
You still can hear them crying
Along "The Trail Of Tears"
If you listen with your heart
And not with just your ears.

The preceding was partly inspired by a story told to children by John
Burnett on the occasion of his eightieth birthday in 1890. It was printed in
a book titled "Cherokee Legends And The Trail Of Tears", adapted by Thomas Bryan Underwood.

My main inspiration, though is the shame and disgust I feel as I learn more about the atrocities perpetrated by our forefathers and the injustices
which still occur to the true Native Americans.
John Burnett was a Private in an infantry company which took part in the
Cherokee Removal of 1838-1839.Near the end of his story he says, in part,
"Future generations will read and condemn the act....". Do we?
In closing he says, "However, murder is murder whether committed by the
villain skulking in the dark or by uniformed men stepping to the strains of
martial music.Murder is murder and somebody must answer, somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country in the summer of 1838.Somebody must explain the four thousand silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile. I wish I could forget it all, but the picture of six hundred and forty-five wagons lumbering over the frozen ground with their Cargo of suffering humanity still lingers in my memory.

Let the historian of a future day tell the sad story with its' sighs, its'
tears and dying groans. Let the great Judge of all the earth weigh our
actions and reward us according to our work."
If only it worked that way!



The land of Winding Waters
In the place known as Oregon -
Sacred land deeded to them
At the first rising of the sun -
These Nez Perce, people of Joseph
Were the heart of their homeland -
Where the great eagle soared the sky
Above treetops of forests, grand -
Where ponies grazed the green glade
And naked boys, mounted bareback
Laughing and shouting happily
Raced to some certain place and back -
Young bodies glistening with droplets
Of crystal, cool water that cools -
Bronze skin drying in bright sunlight
On sandbars of eddying pools -
A land of peace and contentment
Where man could walk, proud and free -
Where his roots grew deep into the Earth -
Where heart and soul would always be -
They would fish for the great Salmon
On their homeward river run
Bound, with great determination
To where their life had first begun -
Something in their blood akin to mans'
When he has long been on the roam -
Some compelling force within
That leads him back to his home -
They seemed insurmountable -
Those obstacles to be leapt -
But only death would stop his trek
To where heart and soul were kept.
The Salmon jumped high from the water -
Buried 'neath the Earth the Camas roots -
Herds of Buffalo across the mountains
Known as the Bitterroots
It truly was a land of plenty -
Blessed by the Great Chief in the sky
And loved by the Nez Perce people
Born there to live until they'd die -
It was home, their heritage -
Where their forefathers' wisdom
Echoed from the Burial Grounds
Which was listened to and done -
Around campfires Chiefs told stories
Of the paleface searching for the sea -
How, Chief Twisted Hair drew a map
To show them where it might be -
They returned with tales of conquests
Which still live until this day -
Of how this Indian Nation helped
Lewis and Clark find their way.
A peaceful tribe like most
Who tried to share with the white man -
Until the forked-tongued ones
Tried to force them from their land -
Under the flag of truce -
Fired on by those in blue -
Chief Joseph gave the war cry
Of the battle that ensued -
Nearly three months of fighting
As the Nez Perce tried to flee
To the safety of Canada
Where they hoped they could be free -
But the bluecoats kept on coming -
And despite their valiant fight
Joseph bowed in surrender
On one cold September night.
He said, "Most of our Chiefs are killed
And too many Braves lay dead."
As he cast down his rifle
He raised his blanket o'er his head -
He said, "My heart is sick and sad.
Our children freeze in the weather.
From where the sun now stands,
I will fight no more, forever."
Placed on far-off reservations
And finally back to the Northwest -
Never to return to Wallowa
The land they loved, the best -
One hundred-fifty of them left
Sent to the Colville Reservation -
Sentenced to a life of poverty
Was another Great Indian Nation.
In the year of nineteen hundred-four
Chief Joseph's Spirit did depart -
And a doctor who examined him
Said, "He died of a broken heart."
In this story lies a moral
And a shameful legacy
That to this day defiles the words,
"The Land Of The Free!".

Chief Joseph was inspired by a book with the same title by Robert Penn
Warren, Poet Laureate of the United States. Mr. Warren was kind enough to
critique my poem before his death in 1989. My letter from him is one of my
favorite items I possess.


Some say they came on Caribou hunts
When the Ice covered the Land
But, they say, "We were Born here!"
That, their Creation had been planned.

They say, "We are the Human Children
Of the Goddess, fallen from the Sky".
Who formed Land on the Great Turtle's back
Brought forth the game and all the birds that fly.

She made all the Land to blossom
Put Fishes in the Ponds and Bay
And in this lush Land, the Shinnecock
Still live there, unto this Day.

They caught shellfish and the scaly fish
And most their food came from the Sea
With Whale hunts from dugout Boats
They harvested the Ocean's bounty.

They were noted for their fancy beads
Formed from Clam and the Whelk Shell
The Dutch turned them into Wampum
For the Colonies to use to Buy and Sell.

Among the oldest self-governing Tribes
For two hundred years and more
State-recognized by New York State
And now waiting at the Federal door.

Today, numbered more than thirteen hundred
Six hundred on dwindling ancient Lands
Twelve hundred acres of reservation
They survive with some expansion plans.

They have their own Flag and Official Seal
Of the Shinnecock Indian Nation
And strive to preserve their Cultural ways
For each New, Proud Generation.


A long, long, time ago
There were no People on the Earth
It was covered by deep Water
All around it's girth.

There were huge Monsters in the Water
And flying Birds filled the Air
And one day they looked to the Sky
And saw a Woman falling there.

The Ducks quickly held Council
To save Her from the awful fate
Of falling into the Water
And they had little time to wait.

They decided to spread their wings
And they answered their Council's call
They did, and like a giant blanket
They stopped the force of Her fall.

Then the Monsters held a Council
And decided they could not help Her
That only the Giant Tortoise was big enough
To bear Her on His back, for sure.

He volunteered, and She was placed there
And as if by magic, He grew in size
And He soon became an Island
Right there, before Her eyes.

After a time, this Celestial Woman
Gave birth to twin Boys there
One was The Spirit of Good
Who made all good things, everywhere.

The other twin was the Spirit Of Evil
Who made worms and bugs and weeds
To do evil to good animals and birds
And corn, fruits and other plants and seeds.

All the while the Giant Tortoise
Continued to stretch His shell
And the World grew much larger
He'd move and cause a quake as well.

After many years had passed by
The Sky-Holder, Ta-rhu-hia-wah-ku
Decided to create some People
And that's what He began to do.

He wanted the best in Beauty
And in Strength and Bravery
So from the bosom of the Island
Six pairs of People came to be.

The first were left near a great River
Now called the Mohawk
They are the Tribe of Indians
Also known as The Mohawk.

The second pair were told
To move their home near a large Stone
And this Tribe is the Oneidas
As they came to be known.

A third pair were left
Way up high, upon a hill
And called The Onondagas
As they are to this day, still.

A fourth pair were the Parents
Of those called The Cayugas
Placed in what is known as New York
Along with the Tribe of Senecas.

The last pair went up the Roanoke
To a North Carolina home
Where The Tuscaroras will tell you
The Sky-Holder made his home.

But, the other five will tell you
And they won't be outdone
Say, they were The Sky-Holder's home
And they were, "the favoured One!"

As the years went by they scattered
And spread over many lands
And whatever their principal Game
Became known as those, so-called Clans.

The many Iroquois Families
Still tell their Ancient Native Lore
And this is only one small part
For there is really so much more.


For some it's a Day of Thanks
And for some a Day to Mourn
With those conflicting stories
Of how Thanksgiving was born.

Some say a friendly gathering
Of Pilgrims and the Indians
People from a far off Land
And the real Americans.

We may never know for sure
The true account of History
But there are no doubts today
Of what has come to be.

The Native's rights were taken
And, "Land of the Free" became a lie
Reservations became a prison
Where the "Red Man" was sent to die.

Treaties were written and broken
And still are until this day
Especially when the Indian
Might get in the White Man's way.

So now some gather 'round a figure
Overlooking Plymouth Rock
At a statue of Massasoit
Where the Wampanoag can talk.

Of a "National Day Of Mourning"
For an unrecognized Nation
How that could happen to a People
Boggles the imagination.

But, maybe someday in the future
There will be a true Thanksgiving Day
And one more wrong will be righted
For isn't that, "The American Way"?


Restored in the eyes of the World
Finally, as a Sovereign Nation
With the Government of the U.S.
They now have, a relation.

The Son and Grandson of Chiefs
Running Wolf says they fanned the Fire
From old coals that died a little bit
They rekindled, The Medicine Fire.

He says, as Keeper of that Spirit Flame
He preserves some of the Ceremony
A Shadow of what was, in days long past
Of their Ancient History.

An Identity and a Heritage
From hundreds of years ago
Trying to Teach the Younger Ones
The things they need to know.

The hardest is the Spirituality
Buried 'neath the malls and the blacktop
As the Spirit, Mother Earth, and Four Winds
Ask when, it will ever stop?

He says, "It is in the Heart
And in the Dream and Mind."
"Two canoes in the stream" of Life.
Each one being, a different kind.

One is Modern and of History
One identifies the Heritage
Each one tells a different story
And each one shows a different page.

From quiet Brook into the Stream
And the plunge into the raging River
The cycle stopped, as human greed
Replaced forever, that Natural Giver.

He says, the "modern" in him sees
What was really happening
With wonder, of the sense of Loss
To each and every Human Being.

"That's why we wear buckskin and feathers"
"Why we have our Ceremonies"
"So at certain times we remember Dreams
That were at one time our Realities."

For more than thirty thousand years
(Proved by archaeology)
These People of Rhode Island
Have a long, rich history.

The first accounts of contact
Penned in Fifteen twenty-four
Told of a large population
Of farmers, hunters and more.

Considered as "great Warriors"
Paid tribute by other Bands
Protecting their neighbor Tribes
In those ancient Tribal Lands.

They had winter homes, a "long house"
Where they gathered from the cold
Maybe twenty families together
A kind of "commune" from days of old.

They would move back to the shore
In the warming time of spring
Build Wigwams and Wetus
Which was temporary housing.

They would dig out large canoes
That could hold up to forty men
Fishing and farming until the cold
When they'd move inland again.

They had battles with the Peuqot
The Mohawk and Mohegan
Smallpox and the Colonists
Almost wiped out this Indian Nation.

With Chiefs Miontonimo's
And Canonchet's missions unfulfilled
Both of them were executed
And most of their people lost or killed.

Today, on twenty-five hundred acres
With twenty-five hundred living there
There's just one more Indian Legacy
That is cruel, unjust, unfair.

(Narragansett Fire Spirit)

A long, long time ago
Before the white man came
There was a Great Sachem
And Sogagonish was his name.

He was very powerful
Because of his strong Manitou
And all of his people tried
To make His every wish come true.

He had five sons and a daughter
Whom he loved with all his heart
But his love for the girl
Set her on a pedestal, apart.

His wife went to Cautantowwit's House
Just the very last winter
And his daughter now tended him
And he counted on her, for sure.

When she reached the age to marry
She became very, very sad
And her father asked her why
Her eyes no longer sparkled like they had.

She explained that when she was married
She could no longer tend his fire
And could not fix his favorite meals
And her will to live longer would expire.

She said, if she were forced to marry
She'd eat the berries he'd warned her about
He'd said that if she'd eaten them
She'd have died without a doubt.

His heart was nearly broken
When he heard her tale of woe
Made it known she would not marry
Until, it was his time to go.

She was very happy once again
And cooked his favorite foods each day
Sewed him brand-new moccasins
Even before his old ones worn away.

Then on one very cold night
She built the fire larger than most
So her father wouldn't catch a draft
And she'd have to tend it very close.

But she was tired from caring for him
And she fell asleep near the huge flames
The oldest brother smelled the sickening smoke
And ran to find the burnt remains.

He cried out with such grief
That the whole tribe was awakened
He told them both had perished
That their beloved Sachem had been taken.

The people were so upset they called a meeting
And asked their medicine man to pray
To ask the Spirits in the spirit world
Why they had lost so much that day.

How could the Spirit of the Fire
Become so offended and upset
To take their Chief and his daughter
To the house of Cautantowwit.

The old, wise medicine man
Said they would have a great clue
And that next night the youngest son
Had a dream and then he knew.

A crow came to him in his sleep
And explained the painful fate
So he gathered all the people
To tell the story he'd relate.

Yota'anit, the Spirit of Fire
Felt other Spirits got more love
Like the Spirits of the Sea and Sky
And the Moon up above.

He was always blamed for burning them
Or not warming them from the cold
They fall in love under the Moon
All of them, young and old.

The Spirit of the Sun got honored
For making all of the crops grow
But there's no praise for Yota'anit
For his heat and soft red glow.

He thinks that he's not honored
Though maybe feared and respected
And the tragedy was just his way
To show how he felt neglected.

The people were so hurt and sad
They swore they would change their ways
They would honor and respect him
For all the rest of their days.

The first Spring after the tragedy
They burned everything they owned
And when they moved from their Summer quarters
Burned all but what they wore and tools of stone.

Other Tribes thought that they were crazy
But when the new diseases came
Their people were strangely spared
And things would never be the same.

Once again they asked the Medicine Man
To talk to the Spirit World to see
If this luck, was their reward
And they found that, to be.

And even until this day in time
When there's a lover's desire
It's nurtured by the soft, warm glow
Of Yota'anit's Spiritual Fire.


Yota'anit is dancing for me
And the wind whispers in the trees
Spirits from the past circle around me
And Speak of the People's Histories.

My Mind enters the Circle
And searches days from first to last
For the answers to tomorrow's questions
And what those memories have cast.

I listen for Ancient Voices
Who speak of those yesterdays
About ancestors of all Nations
And the Wisdom of their ways.

Those times create what is today
And the promise of tomorrow
With the hope the ways of good and right
Will replace the pain and sorrow.

The whispers of the Wind are clear
And lies die in the rising smoke
With the Answer to the Calling
In what the Great Spirits once spoke.

Mohegan. once of Pequot
With New York the first known home
Then around fifteen hundred
They both picked up, to roam.

They settled in Connecticut
In the Thames River Valley
Mohegan in the upper portions
The Pequot, closer to the Sea.

They called it "Moheganeak"
And "Wolf", the meaning of their name
And after "The Pequot War"
Things would never be the same.

The Mohegan Sachem,Uncas
Estranged from the Pequot
By whether they should trade
With the English or not.

That was the only difference
That there was between the two
But it really was so sad
What that difference, did do.

The Dutch and English traders
Worked Tribes against Indian Brother
As usual borne from the greed
Of the White Man, unlike any other.

Almost as bad as the Wars
Were diseases the White brought
At least in Battle there was a chance
But in those epidemics, naught.
But the Strength, and Will prevailed
Though at a terrible cost
The Mohegan Culture lives today
Though some Traditions have been lost.

An Honorable, and Proud, People
Who if you ask, say, they are well
With Great Hope for the Future
And many Old Stories to tell.


There are several versions
Of how the Pequot got their name
In the old days many spellings
All close but not quite the same.

Some say Sassacus' Father
Was the one it signifies
Some say, it means "Grey Fox"
Who is quick, cunning, and wise.

Tradition says, they were an "inland Tribe"
Who fought their way towards the Sea
Then spread out in all directions
Even to the Thames and Mystic Valley.

Their great Chief, Sassacus
Was known and feared far and wide
And He took the lands He wanted
From most the Algonquin Tribes.

He boasted that at a single whoop
A thousandwould rush the battle-field
And the flight of all their arrows
Would obscure the sun like a shield.

He was known, "to be all one God"
By the common Indians
And therefore, unconquerable
And as, One who always wins.

If History is to be trusted
The Braves and Warriors He had then
Numbered more than four thousand
Of strong and valiant fighting Men.

On a ridge between the Thames and Mystic
Sassacus built His principal Fort
A lookout to land and water
Where He resided and held Court.

On another hill, three miles east
Is where a smaller Fortress stood
Another place where they could watch
Over the surrounding stream and wood.

Then, there was the Pequot, Wequash
Who was thought of with disgust
He went to the Narragansett
And became a Chief to distrust.

It was not a problem with the Chiefs
But a matter of the heart
With proposals to Chantaywa
Who told Him He must depart.

He found his rival was Oneactah
But knew in combat He would lose
Oneactah was his superior
With any weapons He might chose.

He enlisted two kindred spirits
To assist in his surprise attack
But they soon fell and Wequash fled
Showing the yellow of his back.

That's when He went to the other Tribe
Knowing his Pequot days were done
For He would forever be known
As Wequash, the treacherous one.

John Mason, English Captain
Was sent in to retaliate
For some Whites the Pequots
Brought to a deadly fate.

He had ninety English Soldiers
And enlisted seventy Mohegan
And two hundred Narragansett
To aid Him in his battle plan.

Wequash gave much information
Of the Pequot's Fortresses
And Mason chose to attack the smaller
Since the resistance should be less.

The traitor lead them to a gorge
Where they encamped for the night
Where could be heard the shouts of dancers
Two miles distant, out of sight.

They rested there at Porter's Rocks
On that bright and starlit eve
As Mason readied his group of men
For the battle He perceived.

In the year, sixteen thirty-seven
On the twenty-sixth of May
They marched to the Pequot Fort
Hoping to surprise them that day.

But were discovered by a sentinel
Who shouted, "Owanux!", (Englishmen!)
And, "Advance!", shouted Mason
Ant the battle was begun.

The morning air filled with battle cries
As the English stormed the Fort
The sounds of arrow flying by
And the loud, musket report.

Sheltered in their wigwams
Encouraged by their Chiefs and Wives
The Braves put up great resistance
In the biggest fightof their lives.

Out in the middle of it all
Oneactah could be seen
Fighting the fiercest battle
That anyone had ever seen.

He fought as only the Patriot will
Within the sight of his home
Where all his treasures lay
With the only love he'd known.

After a two hour conflict
And without victory in the fight
Mason grabbed a brand from a fire
And shouted, "Burn everything in sight."

The morning breeze swept the flames
And the fires quickly spread
Andthe Fort billowed thick smoke
Over the wounded and the dead.

Oneactah saw their great peril
And ran home to fetch his Wife
Caught Chantaywa in his arms
Leapt the Fort's wall to save their life.

Wequash, during the engagement
Had been vainly searching there
Saw the two, and took pursuit
With two others, after the fleeing pair.

Oneactah led them on a chase
Trying to avoid the enemy
Through the woods to river's edge
Where a lone canoe would be.

His despair quickly turned to hope
As they leapt in and cast afloat
He seized a paddle, with strong stroke
To propel the light, bark boat.

But their passage to the River
Had not been without it's cost
Chantaywa's arm was pierced by arrow
And much blood had been lost.

Oneactah was wounded many times
Though none of them severe
One arrow cut his black plume off
It was much too close, that's clear.

Their freedom was not yet secure
As Wequash appeared at the shore
His two companions at his side
They knew more battle was in store.

Oneactah handed Her his knife
And without any words spoken
She knew what She must do
If Her protector should be broken.

Wequash and party rushed ahead
To find a good spot to attack
Found that place at "Grassy Point"
Where there was a slight switch-back.

All three took to the water
To intercept the small canoe
Tomahawks and knives for weapons
They felt that they would do.

Wequash's hand was on the bow
And the other two each side
Oneactah's axe dispatched one
And as quick the other died.

After He killed the second one
He lost his axe as his foot slipped
Just as Wequash's axe was thrown
And missed, as the canoe tipped.

Wequash now had his footing
And said, He would take the wife
Said He would kill his hated foe
As He thrust with his long-knife.

"Never!Never!", shouted Oneactah
"My weapons may be gone.", He said
"But the Great Spirit, you insulted,
And soon it will be you who is dead."

With a yell, Wequash sprang forward
But his knife was brushed away
And their struggle in the fragile boat
Made it tip over, all the way.

Chantaywa, clung to the boat
And watched the fighting continue
Her wounded mate was at a loss
And She knew what She must do.

She moved along the canoe
Until She was nearer to the men
When they went beneath the water
She waited for them to surface again.

Her Husband's knife grasped in hand
They came up right next to Her
Wequash with his knife held high
And would have killed Her spouse, for sure.

But Her knife was held up to
It's blade glittered in the light
As it plunged into Wequash's heart
And He slipped down, out of sight.

They made their way to the shore
And finally to the remnants of their home
Where She layon a sick bed
But survived as the history has shown.

Oneactah and Chantaywa surrendered
And both of their lives were spared
And in the years to follow She would tell
Of the lifetime they had shared.

She never regretted Her valiant act
To save Her Husband on that day
And Her children would gather 'round in awe
To hear all that She had to say.

Between the years eighteen thirty to Forty
Their last known descendant could be found
Relating this wonderful love story
From the old-time Pequot Tribal Ground.

(Bull Buffalo)

With the Peoples of our Nation
Around the time of the Ice Age
The Bison came to the Great Plains
And wrote another History's page.

They numbered in the millions
For as far as the eye could see
A blanket of horn and flesh and fur
Roaming like some dark, living Sea.

Called "Tatanka" by Lakota
The Great Tribe of those Plains
They used every part of their kill
So there were no wasted remains.

The hides for clothing and shelter
To protect them from the bitter cold
The bones turned into useful tools
Skulls, Altars where Prayers were told.

They took only what they needed
From the wealth of Mother Earth
Giving Thanks for all the Blessings
Knowing what each Bison was worth.

A large part of the everyday life
And of stories told in their folk lore
A certain Magic brought to them
From those ancient days of yore.

But then the foreign Peoples came
And wrought destruction on the Herd
Killed the Buffalo by the thousands
The Lakota cries ignored, unheard.

The rivers ran red with the blood
The carcass rotted where they fell
Piles of bleached bones in the sun
And the stench of the rotting smell.

Hides and tongues were sold for money
And soon the wild herds would cease to be
And by the year Nineteen, Aught, Two
They only numbered, twenty-three.

The Whites had thought the Native People
Would die without those Buffalo
So they killed just for the killing
But found those People would not go.

Today those herds are slowly returning
And the Lakota Nation lives on
With the inborn Pride and will to Live
They've known since this World's dawn.


She is adorned in buckskin -
Beads and turquoise sewn around -
Her hair, long, black, and shiny -
Her soft skin a golden brown.

The Princess of a Nation
From those days of used to be -
When proud Indians could roam
From mountains to sea to sea.

The old customs of her people
She holds dearest to her heart -
And watching as those old ways die
Is tearing her heart apart.

Once, there were unwritten laws
Which most everyone would heed -
But the ways of the white man
Has planted a bitter seed.

He has raped the fertile land -
And plundered Gods' Creations -
He's stolen from and cheated
All of the Indian Nations.

The Government has written
Many treaties of false word -
And the red mans' cry for rights
To this day still go, unheard.

Falling Tear is an American -
A true native of this land
Whose tears fall for the injustice
As she waits for Truth to make a stand.


Born around Eighteen forty-five
In what is now Oklahoma
To captive Cynthia Ann Parker
And Father, Chief Nocona.

Raised in Ancient Tribal ways
Learned to ride by three or four
His Band following the Buffalo
Trading with other Tribes and more.

While avoidingArmy Troopers
He was taught of weaponry
The lance, knife, bow and arrow
The choice of the Comanche.

Although they had some guns, too
They didn't trust the aim
While galloping on horseback
Into a Battle's deadly game.

His Mother, taken as a child
Could not teach, the white man's way
Learning from Braves of their conquests
And longing to join them one day.

His Mother and Sister were stolen
And when his Father was killed
In the raid by the Texas Rangers
His hatred of the white was instilled.

Eager to seek out his revenge
On the scourge of the white man
Who wreaked death and their disease
With their ethnic cleansing plan.

He saw the killing of the Buffalo
That once covered the open plain
Slaughtered into near extinction
Never to return to roam again.

During his youth warfare was constant
Treaties were made, only to be broken
Lies told in the form of promises
When the white man's word was spoken.

Time and again, Peace was made
With other Tribes and with the whites
While all the while they were provoked
And stripped of all their Human Rights.

After his Band lost many members
He joined the Quahada Comanche
Of whom his Father had been Chief
Back when they had lived Free.

He refused to accept a treaty
To confine them to a reservation
As he became the last Chief
Of the whole Comanche Nation.

He remained on the warpath
Raiding Texas and Mexico
Outwitting the Army and others
Wherever he made the blood flow.

He was almost killed in Texas
When he attacked Adobe Walls
Against some Buffalo Hunters
That's what history recalls.

By Eighteen and seventy-five
The band was starving and weary
The Army asked for their surrender
And to sign a Peace Treaty.

Quanah rode out to a mesa
And saw a Wolf coming his way
Then turn and trot to the northeast
Towards where Fort Sill lay.

Overhead an Eagle glided lazily
Then, towards the Fort took wing
Quanah thought this was a sign
The kind the gods would bring.

In June, Eighteen seventy-five
He surrendered with his Band
To travel down the white man's road
Into a strange and unknown land.

He learned the English language
And lobbied Congress for his Nation
He invested in a railroad
Was made Judge on the Reservation.

He learned of the way of politics
Became friends with the President
But older Chiefs thought him too young
And his white blood, they did resent.

In Ninety-two they split the Tribe
One faction on his side, one not
Those who thought he'd sold them out
And all those with whom, he'd fought.

He was a great Chief and Warrior
Who never forgot old traditions
But still able to bend enough
To survive those new conditions.

He was beloved by his People
And respected by old enemies
Whose word could be trusted
And who lived by signed treaties.

He passed in Nineteen eleven
But leaves a Great legacy
Which lives on in every member
Of the Tribe of the Comanche.

Today the bodies of Chief Quanah and his Mother lie side by side at Fort
Sill, Oklahoma.
The Comanche reservation was closed in 1901 with 10,000 or so surviving
members, half of whom still live on their own property in Oklahoma.

A bit of trivia -I'm not sure how or when but my Grandfather, when he was a young man supposedly knew or was friends with Quanah. He was a cub reporter for a newspaper in Colorado and I believe that had something to do with it.

Here's some interesting responses I rec'd about the Quanah Parker poem
Del, how ironic.. I am related to the great chief on his white side. His
mother Cynthia Ann Parker was the niece of my gt gt grandfather.


When I was 16-17 years old, I worked at an amusement park north of Cache,
Okla (Craterville Park) owned by the Rush family.The elder Mrs. Rush was
very close friends with Mrs. Birdsong, Quannah's daughter. The two little ladies, way up in their 80's would spend many a slow afternoon, sitting behind the counter at the skating ring (Mrs. Rush, even at that age,worked a full day, selling tickets for skating and also for the bumper cars next door)gossiping and laughing much to my delight as I went about my work there.
Mrs. Birdsong was neat as a pin and always well-groomed, carrying herself
like the princess she was.She had been sent off to boarding school as a
child and was well-educated.Mrs. Rush told me once that Quannah had married her off to Mr. Birdsong, a white man who worked for the railroad, a marriage that didn't last, I believe.They had at least one daughter, a beautiful woman who sometimes came with Mrs. Birdsong.
I would have liked to have asked Mrs. Birdsong about her growing up years
and what her father was like but, though she always nodded and spoke, she was very reserved, except with Mrs. Rush whose husband had been the first head of the US Wild Life Refuge which joined Quannah's home place.
I have taken the liberty of forwarding on your poem to a friend who is
married to one of the two last living grandsons of Quannah and also to
another friend whose sister is married to one of Quannah's descendants.
Below is something I found online just now. I had typed in Neda
Birdsong/Quannah Parker at Google and it referred me to Thechronicles of
Okla. 1934.This confirms my memory of 50 years ago! I also called my sister who worked at Craterville with me and she echoed my memory of Mrs. Birdsong, adding that she was "dolled to the nines" and drove her little green Plymouth. I had forgotten that. I wonder if Mrs. Birdsong lived in Quannah's home ?(which was later bought by an individual and still exists in Cache). At the time we worked at Craterville, both Quannah's home place and Craterville itself were in the process of being bought by the government as an addition to Ft. Sill which I believe was accomplished in '57 or so.I went off to college and don't' remember when Mrs. Birdsong passed on. Below is the excerpt from the Okla Chronicle.

"The reasons why the Comanches have never denied any of these statements are twofold: The natural reticence of the Indian was for many years added to the fear of a captive people that bad consequences might follow any recital by them of details connected with the captivity of a white woman. In addition to this, the great Quanah Parker, eldest son of Nokoni and Cynthia Ann Parker, forbade his people to tell the truth about the matter for an entirely different reason. On one occasion he said to one of his daughters, the present Mrs. Neda Parker Birdsong, of Cache, Okla.: "Out of respect to the family of General Ross, do not deny that he killed Peta Nokoni. If he felt that it was any credit to him to have killed my father, let his people continue to believe that he did so."
The magnanimous injunction was observed by his children until now. A recent statement made that Nokoni was a Mexican, has caused them to break the silence of seventy years.
This statement is based on the fact that a man killed by Captain Ross at the time of the capture of Cynthia Ann Parker, and identified by him as Nokoni, was undoubtedly a Mexican. The story of the mistake in identification was told recently to the writer by Mrs. Birdsong, and corroborated by her sister, Mrs. Emmett Cox, of Lawton, Okla., as follows: While Cynthia Ann Parker was undoubtedly an unwilling captive at first, she later came to like the life of the Comanches, and lived it from preference. Shortly after she grew old enough for marriage, she became the wife of Peta Nokoni.

The Rose story is written in a vein which would imply that she was not fully sincere in her statement about her love for her husband and her desire to stay with the Indians. Mrs. Birdsong, who is a Carlisle graduate, and a cultured woman, has made a close study of the history of the case, and she doubts that Cynthia Ann Parker ever made the statement quoted. If she did, Mrs. Birdsong says, she certainly did not use the words quoted by Rose, as by that time she had been in captivity, or rather had been living as a Comanche tribe member for nineteen years, and had forgotten how to speak English, certainly how to use such chaste and elegant phraseology as was placed in her mouth in the Rose account. That her negative to him-if given at"

Quannah is credited with spreading the peyote religion from the Huiichol
Indians from the SW. Today it is called the Native American Church, and it
has spread throughout Indian Country. It is a blend of native and Christian
beliefs.Quannah became a devout Christian later in life. We are friends with many of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren today. My good friend Ernest Parker was making a doll cradleboard for me when he died, but I have several other things that he finished. He used to joke that he was a great-grandson from wife #5.When the missionaries showed up, they relented and told him that he could keep two wives, but that he was supposed to give up the other 3.He never did, really, just let them all think he did.

Quanah was always my hero as a child, being a half-breed like me. Made me feel like being half was ok.


I enjoyed the poem, especially since my adopted parents were raised in
Cache, Oklahoma (12 miles from Fort Sill) with Quanah's children. I was
raised in Spearman, Texas 16 miles from Adobe Walls where Billy Dixon did his famous shot. I just have one small correction in the poem words - The place in Texas was Adobe Walls rather than wells.
I don't remember if I told you or not, but I'm about half Comanche. That's
why I wrote A proud People. I love poems and stories about my people and how they lived.
I've been trying in vain to trace my natural and official connections to the
Comanche Tribe. My Natural Grandmother on my father's side (Sadie Cron) was full blooded Comanche and my Natural Great-Grandfather on my mother's side was full blooded Comanche as well. However, the trail stops there.
Anyway, thanks for sending the poem, you do good work.

I will forward this to Ricky Lynn Gregg who was adopted into Quanah Parker
tribe as he played the part in the movie.
Ricky Lynn Gregg is a performer on our Native American Dance Theatre at
Ryman Auditorium in Nashville every year.
Thanks for sharing the poem

Aye, Abe:
My grandmother knew of Quanah and of his father, Nocona.She was a schoolmarm in the Arizona Territory, befriended the Apache-Comanches, Hopi, Western Navajo, Utes and Piutes.She attempted to translate and relate the "Heroes of the Bible" stories to those folk who sent their children to the schools in Yavapai County.
As youngsters we could sit at her knee for hours at a time to listen to the
tales she could relate. Her brother, Harvey could entertain the grandkids
with his story-telling, but grandmother's stories appeared more genuine.Not only did we hear the stories of the Indians, but the stories she would tell those children who attended her school, about the heroes of the Bible.
I have inherited these precious things, and most of the "Indian baskets"her friends presented to her when she left for California with her four eldest children. My dad was the fifth of seven, born in California after the family relocated back to the home of my granddad's birth.
The heritage of the warrior continues around Ft. Sill in Western Oklahoma,
as the National Guard carries out its duties of defense and assistance.

You are one of the lucky ones to get the stories of Quanah Parker from
someone who knew him. I too, knew someone who knew him. Quanah Parker taught him to walk, talk, and hunt. One of Quanah Parker's sons was my father-in-law. Tom Parker told my children first hand stories of his dad that has never been published in any way form or fashion. Some of the "stories" have been transferred into teaching tools for their kids. Three grandsons carry the name "Parker "as a second middle name.
I am so pleased others are still interested in the life of our ancestors. Bob
said you may like to hear from a family member. The poem is a real nice one,
keep up the good work.
Pat Parker, (Mrs. Charles Parker)


We have been Warned from Messages
Passed down from Ancient Prophecies
About the perils for our Mother Earth
And all Animals, Plants, and the Seven Seas.

There is a path to Understanding
And ways to turn these things around
With Beliefs that flow from Sacred Sites
Teachings of the Answers can be Found.

We must put Hearts and Minds together
And join in one Cause to Sight the Blind
To save our Mother from Destruction
By the wanton Greed of Humankind.

Some Ancestors saw the Dangers
And sounded Warnings through the Years
But the Wisdom of their Words
Was mostly lost and fell on deaf ears.

As Sacred Sites are desecrated
And some destroyed by progress (?)
The loss of what lies beneath
We can't see and can only guess.

There is a different World View
Now we can look at Her from Space
And some of those far-off Images
Show Her as an ever-changing Place.

The "Heart of everything that is"
From the Black Hills of South Dakota
Shows as the shape of that "Heart"
And Sacred to the Tribe, Lakota.

The Dine see Big Mountain
As the Mothers life-giving Liver
And as the Coal is taken away
The poisons flow into Life's River.

The Aborigines see the Coral Reefs
As Mother Earth's Blood Purifier
And pollution of our Water/Life's Blood
Could bring the end to Her Empire.

The Indigenous of Rain Forests
Know they give our Mother Breath
But watch and know as Great Trees fall
We're headed for a sure, slow Death.

The Gwich'in of the Arctic Refuge plain
Know this as "Where the life begins"
And They know too, that Oil Drilling there
Will be one of Mankind's worst Sins.

The way Mother Earth is treated
Should cause all Humans great concern
For, the balance of Nature is tipping
Towards the point of No Return.

We must find other forms of Energy
And leave a safe World for Generations
Of our Children and their Children
Of all of our Mother's Nations.

The Indigenous Peoples always knew
That we must All make Connections
To Mother Earth's Sacred Chakras
If we can Hope to make Corrections.

If not, the "Powers of Destruction"
Will overwhelm Us, One and All
And Life on Earth as We know it
Will take a Fatal, Final, Fall.

The preceding was partly inspired by the words of Chief Arvol Looking Horse. He is the 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and holds the responsibility of spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota People.

Please visithttp://www.wolakota.org/menu.html

for more info about him and his organization.

The Meaning of "Mitakuye Oyasin"

This is a Lakota expression that means "we are all related" (mih-TAHK-e-yeh oh-YAH-sin). It is often spoken as a closing for prayer or as a parting
comment. It is to remind us of our role and responsibility in this world.
Its significance goes beyond the Lakota; other Native American groups have used these words in logos and printed material. When you see colorful ribbons and streamers on regalia of any tribe or clan -- the four colors of black, red, yellow, and white -- this is the same representation. By reminding us of skin colors of people on this planet, we are to be mindful of our responsibility.
You may also see colors blue (for sky and Grandfather, the Great Spirit) and green (for ground and Earth Mother). These remind us of our relationship to all that is. We are brothers and sisters to all living things; everything we see and experience is sacred and worthy of our respect. Most importantly, it reminds us that we have been created by Grandfather. Just by being, we have importance and significance.

Thanks for this info to Jack Farnlacher aka Weeping Beaver.
Mitakuye oyasin


That Sky has wept Tears of compassion
Upon my People, for centuries untold
To us appearing changeless and Eternal
Today fair, tomorrow, overcast and cold.

My Words are like the Stars, neverchanging
Whatever Seattle says can be relied upon
Like the return of Sun or the Seasons
By that Great White Chief in Washington.

That Big Chief sends Greetings of Friendship
Along with his People's wishes of Goodwill
That is kind of him for we know he has no need
Of our Friendship in return or of our own good will.

His People are many, like grasses on the Prairie
In endless row after row like the waving grain
While my people are few and far between
We resemble the scattering trees on a storm-swept Plain

The Great and I presume - Good, White Chief
Sends his word, he wishes to buy our Land
Allowing us enough to live comfortably
In this Great Nation the White Man has planned.

This indeed appears just, and even generous
For the Red Man no longer have rights he need respect
The offer may also be wise, as we no longer need
Such an extensive Country, in my retrospect.

There was a time our People covered the Land
As a Wind-ruffled Sea over a Shell-paved floor
But that Time has long since passed away
The Greatness of the Tribes, a mournful memory of yore.

I will not dwell on, nor mourn over our decay
Nor will I reproach our paleface brothers
Who were a part ofthe hastening of it
For that blame must be shared by many others.

When our young impulsive Men grow angry
At some wrong whether imagined or real
And disfiguretheir faces with the black paint
It denotes their Hearts are black too, I feel.

Our old Men and Women can't restrain them
And thus that's the way it has ever been
Thus it was when our Forefathers were pushed
Further Westward by waves of the White Men.

Let us hope the old hostilities between us
Are only memories, may they never return
We have everything to lose, nothing to gain
Although the old times are what we yearn.

Revenge by young men is considered gain
Even at the cost of their lives they would give
But old Men who stay Home in times of War
Mothers with Sons to lose, know it's better to Live.

Since King George has moved his boundaries
Good Father in Washington sends us your Word
If we do all that you desire you will protect us
That is the message we have been sent and heard.

Your Warriors will be to us a Wall of Strength
Our Harbors filled with your great ships of War
So that our ancient enemies to the Northward
Will frighten old Men, Women and Children no more.

You want to be our Father, we as your Children
Your God is not our God, so can that ever be?
Your God loves your People yet He hates mine
Folds protecting arms around the Paleface, lovingly.

He leads them by the hand as if an infant Son
He has forsaken his Red Children, if really His
Our God, the Great Spirit seems to forsake us too
Your People wax stronger, to be the way it is.

Soon your People will spread over all the Land
Ours ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide
If the White Man's God loved he would protect us
Not make us Orphans, never seeming to take our side.

If we both have a common Heavenly Father
He must be partial to his Children, Palefaced
How can He renew our Hopes of Prosperity
How can Dreams of Greatness be replaced.


The Treaty of New Echote
Back in Eighteen thirty-six
Another promise by the white man
From his bag of dirty tricks.

The Government deemed removal
Of all the Cherokee from their land
Not what our Founding Fathers meant
And not at all, what they had planned.

General Winfield Scott soon arrived
With the seven thousand troops he led
He was known to have preferred force
And not some peaceful way, instead.

More than twenty-five stockades
Were constructed along the way
"Holding pens" for those Cherokee
So they weren't able to run away.

Taken to Rattlesnake Springs
From there to "The Trail of Tears"
Whose horror stories still survive
Even after all of these many years.

A "traditional" Cherokee, Tsali
Who had three sons and a wife
He farmed a small hillside plot
His family lived a very simple life.

They lived outside the boundaries
Ofmost the "progressive" Cherokee
Who accepted the white man's way
He much preferred the wild and free.

They rarely learned of any news
Ofgoings-on from the outside
Existing in their peaceful ways
While tempered by Cherokee pride.

In May of Eighteen thirty-eight
The Federal roundup had begun
And soon after it had started
Tsali's family was on the run.

At first they went peacefully
And did what they were told
Trying to understand why
Thinking oftreaties of old.

Along with his wife and sons
Her brother and his family
They began the trek to Bushnell
With no idea, what was to be.

But then, as the story goes
To speed the family along
A soldier tried a cruel tactic
That was definitely wrong.

He prodded Tsali's wife
With the bayonet on his gun
That proved to be too much
As it would be, for anyone.

Tsali said in Native tongue
He would fall down in a ruse
The rest should take the soldier's guns
If to escape, is what they'd choose.

In the scuffle that ensued
A soldiers gun was fired
He shot himself in his head
Not at all, what they'd conspired.

Tsali wanted no bloodshed
And as these things usually go
The Army told a different version
Completely different, don't you know?

They claimed someone had a hidden ax
And sunk it in the soldiers head
To take away the Army's blame
And blame the Indians, instead.

Sounds like the leader of those troops
Was trying to save his own hide
Just another lie in history
That often stains our Country's pride.

They all escaped into the woods
And made their way to Clingman's Dome
They found a cave under it
Where they would make their new home.

General Scott gave out the order
To Colonel Foster, to hunt down,
And shoot all the "murderers"
As soon as they all could be found.

It seems many took the Army's side
Some, maybe to keep the peace intact
Chief John Ross even apologized
Said, don't blame all for how some act.

Foster used some "white man Indians"
From the Quallatown Band
Who dodged the emigration rules
Because they took the white man's stand.

One of those men was actually white
Adopted by Chief Drowning Bear
Will Thomas was his real name
And the Army did enlist this pair.

Thomas had convinced Tsali's band
If they helped out in the chase
They could stay in North Carolina
And remain in their home place.

The Indians chased the Indians
And soon, some "murderers"were caught
And by a firing squad of Cherokees
Three of those men tied to a tree and shot.

The women and children were spared
Which was not always the case
Sometimes, it seemed the white man
Would kill all theAmerican Native Race.

Thomas had convinced Foster
That Tsali had played a minor role
So Foster and his troops departed
Claiming, he'd achieved his goal.

He said removal was completed
And those still out on the run
Could all return to Quallatown
Because his work there was done.

After Foster had left Bushnell
Some other Quallatown Cherokee
Who had Tsali, brought him in
And shot him like those other three.

Drowning Bear was commended
Fugitives who helped hunt the others down
Were kinda pardoned and allowed
To stay with the rest in Quallatown.

The story of Tsali became a legend
It is said that he turned himself in
So troops would leave the other Cherokee
And end a war they could not win.

They say he gladly gave his life
So that his people might remain
In their homes there in the mountains
And end their suffering and pain.

So now, a Hero of his proud people
Who number around ten thousand strong
Still living on their Native Land
And knowing that's where they belong.

Hope you enjoyed!
Abe - The Poor Man's Poet

Webpages with more of my poetry


My e-book, "THE WORLD, WAR, FREEDOM, AND MORE" available for FREE in .zip or .exe format.Just email me and ask for it.

To see pics of Ellis County Veterans Memorial in Waxahachie, Texas where two of my poems are etched go to

File versions of my last two books, "MOONTIDES AND OTHER CHANGES" and "THE WORLD, WAR, FREEDOM, AND MORE" at http://home.att.net/~abeabe/index.html.

If you have this copy of "OF NATIVE AMERICAN"please send me your email
address as I will be adding to it and will send you updates as I do.I plan
to finish it with a series about more of the Great (and not so Great) Indian

This page is made with permission from Del "Abe" Jones. 9/17 2006


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