Title: Ni itansni a' u nita ni ihanke yelo (Pride Brings You to Your End)
Fandom: Into the West
Beta: xxkatinar (Livejournal)
Summary: After the massacre at Wounded Knee Voices that Carry – George – wanders and reflects.
Author's Notes: The idea for this came to me after rewatching "Into the West" for the I-Don't-Know-How-Manyth time last night. The happenings of Wounded Knee has always affected me, even more so now that I am older and I am able to understand what happened more and I am able to use my education in history (as a double major in History and English) to good use. I am part Lakota and part Quileute, and while having grown up on a rez in Washington and not interacting much with my Lakota family, I still feel close to my roots and while watching I couldn't help but wonder how many of my ancestors where killed or wrongly treated during those times – and still. The character of Voices that Carry has always been a favorite of mine, for his strength, and so this was born… This was written while I had "Creek Mary's Blood" by Nightwish on repeat.
This was written in a short amount of time, without much thought to the mechanical aspect to it. I know there are inaccuracies to it, but I felt that they were needed to keep with the character of Voices that Carry. Then again…I could be wrong. Feedback equals love. And if you find inaccuracies to my facts from ITW, please tell me so that I can fix them.
Since I was but a boy I have walked among two people, have been divided and forced to renounce my birthrights and accept that which is not mine. A wise man once told me to learn their ways so that I could preserve my own customs for my children. And what has that gotten me now? As I look around at the battlefield – the prairie stained with the massacred blood of innocence – I think back to when I was a young boy in a white manss school. The wise man now injured and draped over my shoulders is a friend instead of someone to be feared. But if the life I have lead has taught me anything, it is that I am now neither Lakota nor white man.
As I lay the body of Robert Wheeler gently in the back of his wagon, my mind races and my body aches. This was not the life I wanted for myself as a child. My Grandfather, Running Fox, had sent me to this life to save me and to save our people. While young I had looked up to my brother Red Lance and had wished to be a warrior like him. I had followed him into battle against the Wasi'chu and watched men – white and color alike – die before my eyes. This was not the life I would lead.
I studied hard to learn the white mans ways; I took their name – George – and cut my hair short. I renounced my Lakota ways and went to the big city in the east – New York – to become more like them. I learned – I learned to read and to write; I dress like them, walk like them, ride a horse like them, and speak like them. But now, as I turn my back on my old friend and survey what has become of my people at the hands of the white man – the Wasi'chu, the Long Knives – I sought to make my people, I feel nothing but sorrow. Sorrow for both sides.
No longer does the medicine wheel I've worn around my neck since the Battle of Little Bighorn hang there. At the time of that battle I did not understand what was going on very well, being but a boy. But now I have learned, I have heard the tales of what the white man say – of how Crazy Horse and the others ruthlessly slaughtered Colonel Custer. And every time I hear them speak of it I must hold my tongue for I was there, I remember the battle plans, and I remember that we – the Lakota's and the Cheyenne – did what we did to save ourselves and to protect what is ours.
As I had told Robert as we walked through the camp, not long before the massacre, the one thing I have learned is that I do not belong to either white man or the Lakota. This is fresh on my mind as I stumble away from the wagon I had helped bring supplies to the Lakota people with. I grip my injured arm as I try my best to walk in a straight line – heading west into the prairie lands, back into the Badlands. My short-cropped hair blows in my eyes as I squint against the dying sun. I do not believe in the white mans God and I wonder if Wankan Tanka – The Great Spirit – really hears our calls, our songs and our dances for he allowed this to happen.
My Grandfather – Running Fox – had a brother who was a medicine man. He spoke with Wankan Tanka and was named Loved by the Buffalo. Grandfather told me stories when I was young of Loved by the Buffalo and the vision that he had and how originally, no one had believed him. Now I can't help but wonder what Loved by the Buffalo would say if he saw what had happened here at Wounded Knee. The wooden wheel of the white man has broken the stone wheel of the Lakota people just as he prophesized so many years ago when he was but a boy.
As I wander and the smells of blood, death, and gunpowder fade away; I feel lost. I wonder who I am for I am no George – the learned Indian – and I am no longer Hoka'hokay – Voices that Carry of the Lakota tribe. I am somebody, for I live and breathe, but I am nobody at the same time. I belong to no one and to nowhere. My brother, Red Lance, lay dead. My Lakota brothers and sisters lay dead, their blood painting the dried winter prairie grass crimson. I let my mind wander and drift as I stumble along, my body slowly growing weaker from the wound I received from a Wasi'chu weapon.
Would I die out here, far from my people? Would my body be lost beneath the snow that began to fall? Would I see any of my kind again? Would I see Wankan Tanka? So many questions and yet not a single answer to for them. The plight of my people was far from over, just another unfair battle lost. Just more souls lost to the wilderness and more land ruined by the Long Knives. And now I wander – searching for my place and for myself for I belong nowhere.
Unconsciously I do not follow a path that mirrors my cousin –Abraham High Wolf – who I do not know nor do I know of. For neither of us belong to this world that is changing and developing around us. Perhaps one day we will…when the land of our ancestors is ours once again and we can dance the Ghost Dance without fear of white mans rifles, and read white mans books without being seen as an animal to be locked in a zoo.
Until then…I wander…both in body and in spirit…