~ Tatanka ~
(Bull Buffalo)

Over a "land bridge" from the North
At the time of the last 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, Alters 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.

"This poem is written from the scientific slant of the origin of the Bison although there are many different versions handed down by Native Americans."
Del "Abe" Jones © 2004


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NATURE: American Buffalo - A Symbol of Strength

*Official web site of the ITBC
(Join! Become a Buffalo Dancer or Buffalo Calf!)
Intertribal Bison Cooperative



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